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Cursing Has Always Been a Part of Star Trek: An In-depth Analysis
Introduction The recent and unprecedented use of the f-word in the contemporary Star Trek TV series DSC and PIC has raised many questions about the Star Trek franchise and curse words. Among them: Does the f-word go too far when it's used in Star Trek? Are there times when cursing in Star Trek feels forced? Is cursing somehow "unTrek"? These sorts of questions strike me as highly subjective, may contain terms that are difficult to define (e.g., “too far” and “unTrek”), and yield answers that are personal. To my mind the interesting questions are these: To what extent have curse words in general been a part of Star Trek? How consistent is cursing in Starfleet with everything we've seen and heard in Star Trek? How realistic is it for Starfleet personnel to curse, particularly when they use curse words we're familiar with in the real world right now? When these questions are answered, I think we get a better sense of whether and how curse words fit in Star Trek. To determine when various curse words were used in pre-contemporary, prime-timeline Trek, that is, Star Trek TV shows and movies between 1966 and 2005, and how many times they were used, I relied on the Star Trek transcripts search tool “Star Trek Script Search” at http://scriptsearch.dxdy.name/, which searches through transcripts at Chrissie’s Transcripts Site, chakoteya.net. It has proven to be a more reliable source of information than several online articles discussing the history of swearing in Star Trek [1.], although the count it gives at the top is not always accurate when compared to the words in the excerpts below. Whenever a source I consulted gave different wording for a relevant quote than a transcript, I re-watched the episode to determine which is correct. The beginning of cursing in Star Trek As Will Riker once said, “Why don’t we start at the beginning?” The first battle over language in Star Trek happened before the series premiere, before even the original pilot was filmed. Censor Don Bay at the network’s Standards and Practices Department objected to the words “My God,” among other things, in an early draft of the script for the pilot “The Cage,” written by Gene Roddenberry, saying, “Please delete April’s ‘My God’ and substitute something such as ‘Great Scott.’” [2.] Gene Roddenberry fought the edict on “My God,” arguing that the words weren’t used in a profane sense [3.], but he evidently failed. The words are absent from the dialogue in “The Cage” and from any episode of TOS. He would be more successful the first time he fought over a real curse word in a script. While “hell” is technically not the first curse word that made it to the screen in TOS [4.], it was apparently the first one to do so that mattered to anyone. In the first season episode “The City on the Edge of Forever,” which originally aired on April 6, 1967 [5.], the last line in the episode is “Let’s get the hell out of here.” Although it’s considered mild by most people today, in the sixties “hell” used as a curse word was thought to be a stronger word [6.]. Director Joseph Pevney remembers the fight to keep the line in the script, “Kirk said, ‘Let’s get the hell out of here,’ and there were objections from the Network. Roddenberry had a meeting with them and said, ‘There is no other word which conveys the emotion of the moment.’ Of course, Bill [Shatner] fought for it, too. We all wanted it because it sounded so great.” [7.] Roddenberry and Shatner won. In subsequent episodes McCoy would use the expression “hell for leather” (“Spectre of the Gun”) and Jojo Krako would wonder, “How the hell'd I get here?” (“A Piece of the Action”). The TOS movies (Star Trek I-VI) further expanded the Star Trek vocabulary. Without the Standards and Practices Department that had restrained the television series, the movies had much more freedom to use curse words. The six movies had more than 20 times as many instances of curse words as the TV series [EDIT: TOS] and they could use stronger language. In WOK McCoy tells Kirk, “This is about you flying a goddamn computer console…” In SFS he calls Spock “That green-blooded son of a bitch” and Kirk repeatedly uses the words “Klingon bastard.” McCoy snaps at Kirk, “You piss me off” in TFF and Kirk, who still calls Klingons “bastards,” declares to Spock, “I ought to knock you on your goddamn ass!” In TUC Scotty is open with his suspicion, “I’ll bet that Klingon bitch killed her father.” How many, how often, and how strong? I found 1,132 instances of 16 English curse words [8.] in 715 episodes of six pre-contemporary Trek series plus 10 prime-timeline movies, an average of 1.56 curse words per episode/movie. Of these instances I found 970 were spoken by members of Starfleet [9.] or 85.6 percent, an overwhelming majority, an average of 1.34 per episode/movie. I also found 2 instances of cursing in French by a Starfleet officer, 43 instances of Klingon curse words [10.], 15 of which were uttered by three Starfleet officers, and one instance of cursing in Romulan [11.] by a Starfleet officer. 83.9 percent of the cursing that I found in all four languages combined was spoken by Starfleet members. Among the familiar Starfleet members who curse in Star Trek are Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, Saavik, Picard, Riker, LaForge, Yar, Beverly Crusher, Pulaski, Worf, O’Brien, Ro, Jellico, Maxwell, Louvois, Shelby, Locarno, Sisko, Bashir, Dax, Hudson, Janeway ,Chakotay, Paris, Torres, Kim, and Wildman. Starfleet admirals who curse include Cartwright, Hanson, Chekote, Kennelly, Leyton, Ross, Satie, Pressman, Dougherty, and Whatley. More than three quarters of all cursing in pre-contemporary Trek is what most people would consider mild today (especially “damn,” “dammit,” “damned,” “hell”), but stronger language (“bitch,” “son of a bitch,” “piss,” “shit,” “goddamn”) is not unknown to Starfleet members. Internal consistency and “You mean profanity” Cursing, as we’ve seen, appears to be common in Starfleet, when we look at pre-contemporary Trek as a whole, but Kirk’s famous line about profanity in TVH (ST IV) is sometimes quoted to support the view that cursing doesn’t exist in the 23rd century (and later) or that it’s rare: “You mean profanity. That's simply the way they talk here. Nobody pays any attention to you if you don't swear every other word. You'll find it in all the literature of the period.” His ineptitude with cursing (“Double dumb ass on you!”), while he’s in the 20th century, seems to further confirm this. However, this idea seems to be absent in all other Star Trek movies set in the 23rd century. Starfleet officers use “damn” and “hell” in a profane sense in all TOS movies. As mentioned above, McCoy uses the word “goddamn” in WOK (ST II), well before the Enterprise crew was supposedly first exposed to cursing in TVH. In SFS (ST III), also prior to TVH, McCoy refers to Spock as that “green-blooded son of a bitch” and a grieving Kirk repeatedly uses the words “Klingon bastard.” After TVH, Kirk resumes calling Klingons “bastards” in TFF (ST V) and threatens to knock Spock on his “goddamn ass.” In the same movie McCoy exclaims “Goddamn irresponsible!” and, later, “A goddamn cure!” He also tells Kirk, “You piss me off.” Scotty refers to Azetbur as “that Klingon bitch” in TUC (ST VI). In the TOS movies as a whole I found 104 instances of curse words, an average of 17.33 curse words per movie. Ninety of them or 86.5 percent were spoken by Starfleet personnel, meaning that Starfleet members utter an average of 15 curse words per movie. Cursing in Starfleet, then, is more consistent with Star Trek than TVH is. One could go even further. One might argue that there are ways in which cursing can be seen as consistent with Starfleet values, ways in which it might be particularly helpful to Starfleet members. First of all, Starfleet values honesty and is dedicated to the truth in all its forms: scientific, historical, and personal (TNG, “The First Duty”). Cursing can provide a way to express strong emotions honestly and spontaneously without a filter or restraint (although there are times when it is best used when one is off duty). Second, Starfleet values the nonviolent resolution of conflicts (TNG, “The Neutral Zone,” “Violations,” VOY, “In the Flesh”). Cursing in some forms can be useful as a symbolic repayment of a perceived wrong in place of physical violence, even when one is alone. Third, Starfleet members may suffer serious physical and/or psychological harm, resulting in emotional trauma. Picard (e.g., TNG, “The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II,” “Chain of Command, Part II,” “Lonely Among Us”) , Troi (e.g., TNG, “Violations,” “The Survivors,” NEM), Laforge (e.g., TNG, “The Mind’s Eye,” “Schisms”), and O’Brien (e.g., TNG, “The Wounded,” DS9, “Hard Time”), among others, have all experienced this more than once. Cursing can sometimes be used as a way to vent, to gain some relief from emotional pain by expressing it. These three benefits of cursing have been identified by real-life psychologists and cognitive scientists [12.]. Realism in reasons Starfleet members curse for all of the same reasons that real-life, twenty-first century humans do, including surprise or puzzlement (“How the hell do you know that, boy?”, TNG, “Encounter at Farpoint”), irritation (“Who’s been holding up the damn elevator?”, WOK), frustration (“Breathe, damn you! Breathe,” DS9, “Past Tense, Part I”), anger (“You piss me off,” TFF), grief (“You Klingon bastard. You've killed my son,” SFS), ill will (“I’ll bet that Klingon bitch killed her father,” TUC), fear (“Oh, no! We've got to get out of here now! Damn!”, WOK), worry or anxiety (“Oh, shit”, GEN), emphasis (“It's a hell of a long way outside Federation territory,” TNG, “The Chase”), and appreciation or admiration (“Damn fine ship, if you ask me,” GEN). This adds a layer of realism to the characters in that it shows us a way in which they are like us or real people in our own time, it humanizes characters who are often portrayed as a better version of ourselves, and it shows us that they feel many of the same strong emotions that we do. Linguistic realism Sometimes it is claimed that using familiar curse words in Star Trek dialogue is unrealistic, because these words are only in use right now, much like the “highly contemporary terminology” that Gene Roddenberry wrote would hurt “believability” [13.]. They’ll surely be replaced by different words in the future or fall out of use entirely, the objection goes. While it’s true that slang in general is often ephemeral and subject to constant change, curse words tend to endure for centuries. According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the first known use of the word “damn” as a curse word was in 1619. [14.] Melissa Mohr, in her fascinating history of swearing, discusses a likely instance of “damned” as a swear word in a manuscript from 1528, but the word is written as “d” with the remaining letters omitted [15.]. Several curse words in common use today, which involve or refer to human body parts or bodily functions, originated in the Middle Ages, although they were originally considered inoffensive or, as Melissa Mohr puts it, “direct but unremarkable”[16.]. Between the years 1500 and 1700 these words gradually became obscene and offensive, associated with private matters and shamefulness, gained new “emotive power,” and have been with us ever since [17.]. It isn’t far-fetched, then, to imagine that many present-day curse words might continue to last for centuries into the future. Captain Kirk might want to “get the hell out of here” after all. Conclusion As we’ve seen, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry fought to push the boundaries of the language he could use from the beginning and his vision for Star Trek included language that was considered strong language in the sixties. One of the reasons that the language in TOS wasn’t stronger is television network censorship. Cursing was a part of Star Trek from the first season of the first series, even more so in the early movies, and it’s been a part of Star Trek ever since. Cursing in Starfleet is common, contrary to popular belief, and it isn’t always mild. It fits with the majority of what we’ve seen and heard in Star Trek. It’s realistic in two senses: (1) Starfleet members curse for the same reasons that real-life, twenty-first century humans do. (2) Many of our present-day curse words could easily last for centuries more and continue to be used in the 23rd and 24th century. In sum, cursing has a place in Star Trek. As Scotty once said, “It fits like a glove, Captain.” End Notes (1.) Contrary to the claims in some online articles, I could not find any instance of McCoy using any version of the word “damn” (“damn,” “damned,” “dammit,” “damnit,” “goddamn,” “goddamned”) until the TOS movies. The only instance of any version of “damn” spoken by anyone in TOS that I could find occurs in the episode “Journey to Babel” and the word isn’t used in a profane sense there. Kirk says, “I can't damn [i.e., condemn] him for his loyalty, for doing his duty, but I'm not going to let him commit patricide.” [EDIT: erastus25 reports two more non-profane instances, which I have been able to confirm: "damning" in "Court Martial" and "damnable" (i.e., deserving condemnation) in "Operation Annihilate." Many thanks and well done!] The widespread notion that McCoy was always saying “Damn it, Jim” (or some variation thereof) in TOS appears to be a trick of memory. The line comes from WOK. Kirk’s line “Let’s get the hell out of here” in “The City on the Edge of Forever” is not the first instance of swearing in Star Trek. The only instance of McCoy using “hell” as a curse word prior to the movies that I could find is in the expression ”hell for leather” in “Spectre of the Gun.” Kirk did not say “[What] the hell’s going on?” in “The Doomsday Machine.” His exact words were “What the devil’s going on?” Whereas the use of “hell” as a curse word was a big deal in television in the sixties, “what the devil” was not, as evidenced by the fact that it occurs in TOS seventeen times. The Star Trek films did include curse words prior to TVH. Picard did swear in English. ENT does use language worse than “hell.” Trip Tucker says “son of a bitch” eleven times in ENT and “piss” once. There are other examples in ENT. These are a few of the corrections that need to be made to online articles I’ve seen. (2.) David Alexander, Star Trek Creator (New York, 1995), p. 224. (3.) ibid. p. 225. (4.) Technically, the first instance of cursing to make it to the screen in TOS is Chief Engineer Vanderberg’s line about the Horta in “The Devil in the Dark,” “Except the bloody thing” (March 9, 1967). However, it was so mild even then, that there doesn’t seem to have been an issue. “Bloody” has never been taken seriously in the United States as a curse word, but it was once considered offensive by many in the UK. See Geoffrey Hughes, An Encyclopedia of Swearing (New York, 2006), pp. x, 34-36, 371-372. (5.) Marc Cushman, These Are the Voyages: TOS: Season One, revised ed. (San Diego, 2013), p. 586. (6.) See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca44g-LnwlI&feature=youtu.be&t=442 and http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1896849_1896865_1896857,00.html. I am indebted to uequalsw for these two links. (7.) These Are the Voyages: TOS: Season One p. 585. (8.) These are my results. The search tool can’t distinguish between “hell” and “he’ll” and there were a surprising number of references to “Hell” that were not profane, so I needed to search for it in combination with other words to narrow down the numerous results (1,215) to the ones I needed. Sometimes the count provided by the search tool was off (e.g., the count for “dipshit”) and had to be corrected. The first number is the number of instances used in a profane sense that I found. The number in parentheses refers to the number of those instances spoken by a member of Starfleet. Words that yielded zero results are not listed. Ass (in the sense of buttocks) 20 (19) Bastard (profane sense) 8 (5) Bitch or Son of a Bitch 23 (18) Bloody (as intensifier, exclamatory, or “auxiliary swearing”) 24 (18) Bollocks (i.e., testicles) 1 (1) Bullshit 2 (0) Damn (profane sense) 344 (290) Dammit 8 (8) Damned (profane sense) 96 (84) Dipshit 2 (1) Goddamn 4 (4) Goddamned 1 (1) Hell as a curse word Hell of 96 (88) As hell 16 (14) Go to Hell 8 (6) Like hell 17 (15) The hell 444 (385) The hell’d 1 (0) Hope to hell 1 (1) In the name of hell 1 (1) Hell for leather 1 (1) To hell with 11 (7) Piss 2 (2) Shit 1 (1) Totals 1,132 (970) (9.) Starfleet in ENT is United Earth Starfleet, not the UFP Starfleet of the others series, and the characters in ENT are supposed to be more like us, according to Brannon Braga (Starlog Magazine issue 291, Oct. 2001, p. 74), as opposed to the more “evolved” humans we see in TOS or TNG. I considered excluding data from ENT for these reasons. On the other hand, ENT is part of “how Star Trek used to be” before contemporary Star Trek, which makes it relevant, and its Starfleet is the precursor to the UFP Starfleet. The two agencies aren’t completely unrelated. (10.) To determine with a high degree of confidence which Klingon words are curse words, I first consulted Marc Okrand’s Klingon Dictionary, including the addendum in the back of the 1992 edition. Marc Okrand created the Klingon language for Star Trek, based on a handful of Klingon words that James Doohan created for TMP. If Okrand says something is a Klingon curse word, it almost certainly is. This yielded 12 Klingon curse words. After searching for the word petaQ in the transcripts gave me an impossibly low number of instances, I consulted the Klingon Language Institute website and Memory Alpha for other spellings to improve my results. I also looked for instances in which Klingon words are explicitly identified as curse words within an episode (searching for “curses” and “swear” within TNG transcripts was fruitful) and instances in which it seemed clear from the context that the words were intended to be curse words (e.g., if a Klingon word or phrase is not used to communicate but purely to express rage). I’m not absolutely certain about baktag and have considered eliminating it from the list. My reasoning for including it is as follows: Kurn says, “This piece of baktag is Captain Larg.” This insult is patterned after one in English: “piece of shit” or “piece of garbage.” I think the viewer is meant to get the impression that “piece of baktag” is something similar, something carrying similar connotations in Klingon culture. I almost included Worf’s apparent cursing in the TNG episode “Where Silence Has Lease.” I’m still mulling over that one. Given the large number of insults and exclamatory words in Klingon, there may be several instances of Klingon curse words I still haven’t found. Some Klingon language enthusiasts believe they have found more than 40 Klingon curse words. The first number is the number of instances found. The number in parentheses refers to the number of those instances spoken by a member of Starfleet. Words that yielded zero results are not listed. b'aka/ baQa 1 (1) baktag, piece of 1 (0) Dor-sHo-GHA!/ Dor sHo GHA! 1 (0) ghuy’cha’/guy'cha’ 2 (1) petaQ 17 (8), p’tak 6 (3), pahtk 5 (0), p’tahk 1 (1), pahtak 1 (0), p'taQ 2 (0) QI’yaH 1 (0) Qu'vatlh/”Qu'vath” (mistranscribed) 2 (1) taHqeq/tahkeck/”taar'chek” (mistranscribed) 1 (0) toDSaH/tohzah 1 (0) yIntagh 1 (0) Total 43 (15) (11.) Riker calls Alidar Jarok (aka “Sublieutenant Setal”) a veruul In TNG’s “The Defector.” For veruul identified as a “Romulan expletive” see Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, The Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide to the Future (New York, 1999), p. 544. (12.) See: https://time.com/4474754/profanity/, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/smarter-living/the-case-for-cursing.html, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201205/hell-yes-the-7-best-reasons-swearing, and https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/some-assembly-required/201801/profanity-can-be-therapeutic-af. (13.) Star Trek Creator p. 266. (14.) https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/damn (15.) Melissa Mohr, Holy Sh\t: A Brief History of Swearing* (New York: 2013) pp. 151-152. (16.) Ibid. pp. 90, 95-97, 127. (17.) Ibid. pp. 130-131.
Book 1 of The HEL Jumper Book 2 of The HEL Jumper ----- Previous | First | Next | Patreon Thanks to Tulip, Darth_Android, Big_Papa_Dakky, Damned_Thrice, txgunman65, Mr_Polygon, Krystalin, Mamish, Vikairious, Sam_Berry, ClarityAndVision, RedHawkdude, KillTech, LilLaussa, Daddy_Talon, Gruecifer, Gaelan_Darkwater, Konrahd_Verdammt, and 37 others supporting me on patreon. ----- Today's chapter is made possible by the immense generosity of a certain individual who is welcome to reveal himself but will go unnamed by me. Thank you for your support, my friend. ----- “Good morning, First Lieutenant. And you must be Veera? I was told to expect the both of you. Please be seated anywhere you like,” the short, thin gentleman offered, gesturing around his office. It was the oddest and most anachronistic portion of the ship Winters had visited by far, though in that particular case it was not a bad thing. Instead it was an indication that Natori Kaczynski had taken the mental health of his crew into careful consideration when implementing his vision for the Event Horizon. Instead of a sleek, modern cube of metal or plastic polymer, he felt like he’d been transported to a row home in some quaint European city. The floor was richly carpeted by oriental or persian rugs, he didn’t know which. The walls were done up with unassuming, muted green wallpaper, and the moulding and ceiling varnished wood. Bookshelves lined the perimeter of the space, punctuated by a stone bust of an unknown man, a display case of historical medical implements, and a vase on a pedestal that contained what appeared to be live flowers. That particular fixture was of utter fascination to Veera, and with a squeeze of her hand she left Russell’s side to examine them. “How strange and beautiful,” she murmured, testing the delicate petals of the orchid with her fingertips and giving the plant itself a curious sniff. As she did so Russell watched her closely, and in turn the ship’s psychologist, one Doctor Lamont, watched him. It had been impossible to miss the soldier’s stone-faced expression upon his arrival, but seeing it soften was both curious and reassuring to the medical professional. That the alien spoke english with apparent comfort was also a pleasant surprise. “Do you not have flowers on your world?” He asked gently. “No, we do not,” Veera replied. “My husband tells me that our forests are like those of the northern reaches of your planet. Pine trees?” “Yeah, those are the ones,” Russell affirmed. “That specific type of flower there is an orchid.” “It’s wonderful. I’m sorry for interrupting,” Veera offered. “My dear, please! We are here to talk, and unless the two of you have somewhere else you need to be I see no reason why we shouldn’t begin with flowers,” Lamont replied before looking about curiously. “The Admiral informed me that I should expect a rather...unusual guest, as he put it? Given that it does not seem to be an alien I cannot help but wonder.” ‘That would be me,’ Io offered, utilizing the speaker concealed in the ceiling to make her presence known. ‘Due to the lack of projection technology in this room you will simply have to take my word for it. My name is Io. I used to be Lieutenant Winters’ VI partner and I am now his best friend, AI companion, and solemn holder of the trials he has faced while on Mara.’ “And that is, of course, the other reason we are here,” Lamont acknowledged, gesturing to a couple of chairs and a chaise lounge straight out of a twentieth century psychologist’s office. “Please, do make yourselves comfortable wherever you like. I will ask our esteemed Admiral about this apparent leap forward in human technological prowess another time.” Veera, being a lover of soft things as with most of her species, was happy to be seated upon the recliner, though she did not lay back. Russell didn’t seem to mind, instead choosing the least comfortable looking chair in the room as Lamont was seated on his own, wheeled out from behind his wooden desk. He had a pencil and notebook in hand. “You don’t mind, do you? I prefer the old ways.” “Whatever works for you, doc,” Russell replied stoically. “I presume you would not enjoy hearing how I am here to help you and that I am someone you may consider a confidant?” Lamont offered. “Not when I know damn well everything said here is going to be a matter of semi-public record at my tribunal hearing,” the soldier said sternly. “Russell! He’s just here to help!” Veera interrupted. Doctor Lamont watched and waited as the human looked at the alien that claimed to be his wife. “It’s more complicated than that, Veera,” he eventually said. “You are here to help my husband, right?” The Cauthan rounded on Lamont. He nodded. “I can assure you I am, Veera. However, the fact that this is a military matter does, as the Lieutenant said, complicate things. I am required to report to the Admiral my personal evaluation of his mental state, fitness for duty, and to opine on the events that have brought us all to this juncture. But when this is over, Lieutenant, know that my door will remain open to you in confidence.” “Yeah let’s just…can we get on with it?” Russell requested. The feeling that he was somewhere outside of the HEL despite knowing very well where he was did not sit well with him. “We may indeed. Veera, Io, I would like to ask the two of you to stop me at any time should you feel the need to interject or pose a question. However, I would also request that you allow the Lieutenant to speak uninterrupted. Is that acceptable to the two of you?” “Yes,” both Veera and Io replied, the former feeling her feathers rustle slightly. There was something off about the situation, something that made her nervous. She didn’t think Doctor Lamont a threat, but there was no denying that he was something other than a friend. She would have preferred Russell be speaking with Antoth. “Thank you. Lieutenant I have already reviewed your files up until your arrival in this system when the Lancer was destroyed. Your combat actions and evaluations during that mission were retrieved so we need not address those matters unless you feel it necessary. Do you think you could start at the beginning and tell me about the important things that happened to you since you arrived here?” Winters took a deep breath and rested his forehead on his thumb and two fingers, rubbing his head for a moment before looking back to the psychologist who was waiting for him patiently. “Yeah, might as well get this over with.” ----- “I still can’t believe you named an alien bat Steve,” Private Orlova groused as she and the rest of her squad left the armory after almost two days on Mara. They could have remained far longer, but Natori had insisted that they return to the ship to exercise, eat, and otherwise maintain a semblance of their normal routine. He had assured them that they would be given an opportunity to explore the Forge once the research teams were prepared to actually enter the structure, and that Steve the aquila would be well cared for in the camp while they were gone. The question of diet had been taken up happily by a handful of the Event Horizon’s crew, given that research on the Forge and the rest of its surroundings would have to be painstakingly conducted in a systematic manner. Tracking down various plants and insects to see which ones a scaled bat preferred to munch on was practically chaos by comparison. Rex laughed as he locked away his skull-painted helmet “You’re just jealous because you didn’t think of it first. I’m starving guys, should we see what Gus has cooked up? Should be just about lunchtime.” “Always thinking with your stomach,” Mendes remarked, earning him a punch in the shoulder. “Don’t act like you’re not. Lipp?” “What am I, your boss? Go ahead if you want! The Admiral said our next brief will take place tonight, probably just a review and discussion of future plans. Science is so damn slow.” “Which is why we are soldiers and not scientists,” Natalya concluded as the four of them stepped out into the hallways of the ship, only to be met by a very peculiar pair. A victorious grin spread across Lipper’s face. “Well well well, if it isn’t the fluffer nutter. I don’t think we’ve ever met personally,” he said more than loudly enough for Winters and Veera to hear. The Omega Jumper had been taking his wife on a tour of the ship following a lengthy review of his stay on Mara. There had been discussion of the good, but the focus was on things he would have rather forgotten: Jess’ death, the crew’s funeral, the raid, and the slaying of the ursae. Io appeared in his visor immediately, clad in her barbarian armor and having already painted her face with blood. ‘If you don’t, I will,’ she informed him. That comment earned her a glare from Russell, who silently walked up to the four Jumpers. He was the tallest. “That’s First Lieutenant or Sir to you…Sergeant,” he growled, making a show of looking Lipper up and down. His face showed he was none too impressed. Lipper scoffed. “Do you see the Admiral around here? Cause I sure as hell don’t, Omega. I’ve been down on that planet. I ain’t scared of you, and I sure as hell ain’t kissing the boots of a guy who spend the better part of a year sitting around in the sun and fucking the locals.” A thousand and one retorts came to Winters’ lips, many of which Io was supplying in rapid succession and a few of which had come from his teenage years and Alice. Instead he turned his back to them, a blatant display of fearlessness, and walked away, taking Veera by the hand. “Let’s get out of here before I kill one of them,” he told her evenly. Veera couldn’t help but look over her shoulder at the squad of four. The woman and the shortest among them, a man with bronze skin, looked concerned. But the other two who looked more similar to Russell had gleeful expressions on their face. “Hey cutie, if you ever feel like bedding a real man I think Private Mendes over here is feeling pretty open minded after being planetside,” Lipper called out, taking the opportunity to rib one of his own at Winters’ expense. Veera tore herself away from Russell and marched right up to them. “I know what laying with a man is like, and need only glance at you to know you would not satisfy me in the slightest!” She yelled hotly, bringing a truly surprised look to the Sergeant’s face for the first time. Behind her it was Winters’ turn to smile viciously with a watchful eye as Veera continued her tirade while Rex muttered ‘shit, she speaks English?!’. “I would rather be set upon by a pack of hyrven than lay with you. You are nothing more than a cub at his first harvest festival who thinks only of himself, and I feel bad for these other three humans who are forced to follow you,” she asserted, understanding easily enough that the four humans in front of her were like her husband in terms of their training at least, and that Lipper was their commander. “I’m not going to ask twice. You take that back,” the Sergeant warned. “Oh, and now you’re threatening a primitive female? How manly and brave of you,” Veera taunted, well versed in the art of verbal sparring after spending more than a few cycles with the town's guard force. “And were it not for us, your primitive little village would have been wiped off the map!” “Lipper, that’s enough man! Jesus Cristo,” Mendes insisted, watching Russell like a hawk. The look in his eyes gave the Private chills. “That’s Sergeant to you, Private Mendes!” “And my name is Veera to you, human! You are no better than the Ghaelen who threatened us. Just another petty chieftain!” The next events of the next few seconds seemed both an instant and eternity to Private Orlova, who up until that point had remained silent. The moment Lipper’s hand shot out and wrapped around Veera’s wrist the Omega Jumper leapt to action, clearing the distance between him and their group with frightening speed. Veera’s heart hammered, slamming into her chest as her body reacted the way her inner animal wanted her to. She wanted to hurt the human who had so insulted her husband and her people, but again and again Russell had taught her to play to her strengths and an enemy’s weakness. The sad reality was that Lipper was far too large for her to win a fair fight. But she knew that just once, and only once, she would have the element of surprise. After all, he clearly saw her as a zero on the threat scale. With a snarl, Veera swiped at him, knowing he would likely stop her. When he did, she twisted and danced, trying to circle behind him while moving his arms into a less defensive position. It was mostly unsuccessful and she cried out in pain as a couple of her feathers were irrevocably bent in the wrong direction, but the momentary opening was all Russell needed. ‘VENGEANCE!’ Io roared with unabashed bloodlust, encouraging her partner. Both Veera and Natalya gasped as Winters slugged Lipper so hard the cracking of his jaw was audible. The Sergeant’s grip on Veera went slack as he crumpled to the metal floor in a heap, releasing her to find a safe distance as the situation spiraled out of control. “Oh you’re fucking dead, Omega bitch!” Rex roared, taking a swing at Winters that the Jumper was clearly ready for. “Any day, Beta Boy. Who or what are you overcompensating for, you walking slab of meat? Maybe your sorry excuse for a commanding officer?” Russell taunted, squaring up as punches began to fly. Rex wasn’t holding back in the slightest, but that didn’t matter to him. He’d seen all of his moves before. “You aren’t gonna look so hot when you’re out cold on your ass,” the Beta Jumper insisted, throwing a vicious uppercut that Russell was forced to block, hardening his core as the follow up blow landed. The pain was good. He laughed. “So they’ve got Howles training Beta now? What the fuck did he do to deserve that?” Winters jabbed, making reference to one of the men who had shaped his own development as an HEL soldier. Slowly he shifted into the combat style of Antoth and his men. There was no point in fighting like a human, especially when the Jumper in front of him was fighting the way he was, a proficient carbon copy of several HEL instructors. “Seen it,” he quipped, ducking under a left hook before rolling backwards to avoid the uppercut that had laid him out on the second day of Jumper training. Rex was good, he had to admit, and the man was strong, but he was not innovative. “Fuck. You!” The Private roared, landing another couple of brutal but not debilitating hits. Russell shrugged them off, continuing to dance around Rex as the dull, bludgeoning pain awakened his senses. He was reminded of his fight with Kaha at the harvest festival, though he opted for a much different resolution. When the next punch came he blocked with both hands, forcefully pushing a hole open in Rex’s guard and sending his head through it. With a roar that would have made Antoth proud, Russell crushed Rex’s nose with his own cranium. Completely unprepared for the nature of the attack and resulting pain, Rex staggered long enough for Winters to grab his head and force it down into a vicious strike from his knee. Two more similar strikes to the Beta Jumper’s diaphragm had him on the ground coughing like he was about to choke up one of his own lungs, unable to breathe through his horribly contorted nose. That was when Russell rounded on Natalya with fury in his eyes. It had been a long time since he’d taken or dished out such brutal hits against other humans with no rules. “Russell! Stop this!” Veera tried meekly. “Not interested,” Orlova scoffed, arms across her chest as she looked over the men with disgust. “You think I fucking care?!” Winters roared. “I thought you were supposed to be a Jumper!” “I’m going to have to insist we dance instead, Lieutenant, though I admit I’m not nearly so attractive as Natalya,” Mendes interrupted, grabbing Winters’ arm in a competent grapple that forced him to turn away from Veera and Orlova. “In my country we all learn to dance from the time we can walk. You’re quite the partner.” “I’m going to enjoy grinding you into dust, Private,” Winters snarled, a carnivorous smile on his face as the two men circled for a moment and then clashed, grappling and wrestling as Veera finally composed herself enough to attempt to finish what she started. “Io!” She yelled. “Stop them!” “What in the world is Io?” Orlova demanded. ‘Oh very well. I guess we’ve already taken out half of them,’ the AI groused. ‘And Mendes was polite enough. I’d hate to see him die.’ “IO! And get Antoth too!” Veera insisted, terrified that Io’s joke might possibly come true. All she had wanted to do was put an uppity human in his place. She could barely hear Io over the grunting of Mendes and Winters as they toppled to the ground in some perverse imitation of a scrum between guards. ‘That will be more difficult, but I’m on it…’ ----- “Io, a pleasure to see you! Has Lieutenant Winters finished his evaluation? What are you up to now?” Natori wondered as the beautiful woman appeared on his display. To his shock and confusion she quickly dressed herself as something out of a metal show back on Earth, or perhaps Halloween. ‘THE ESTABLISHMENT OF DOMINANCE!’ Io roared, causing every human on the bridge as well as Qul’Roth, who was working back into his old routine, to stare at her with open mouths. ‘No seriously, my Jumper is kicking the shit out of your Jumpers. Get down to the armory now.’ Natori was halfway to the door before she finished. “Turnwell…I may need another coffee later.” “Not a problem sir,” the First Mate replied sympathetically. “Admiral…” “Envoy, please leave violence to the humans,” Kaczynski insisted before turning his back and sprinting off. The Ghaelen nodded to himself. “I believe I’ll do just that. Perhaps I can pay engineer Prakash in hydroponics a visit?” ----- “Anytime you want to quit, just say it,” Winters gasped for air, slamming his fist into Mendes’ side. The Brazilian Jumper had him in a surprisingly firm chokehold, but it was costing him dearly. “Not on…your life,” Mendes grunted. Russell was about to promise just that when a booming voice filled the corridors. “That is enough!” Admiral Kaczynski roared. “Lieutenant Winters, Private Mendes, opposite walls, now!” Exhausted and not wanting to push their luck, the two men did just that, standing on each side of the corridor as Alice of all people looked on from Naotri’s wrist-mounted device. “Admiral, what’s going on? You said the hail was urgent? I found Antoth. Ratha is here as well.” “I would like to know that myself,” Natori muttered darkly, looking around to find Lipper unconscious, Rex clutching his abdomen, and the two women standing by. Natalya was explaining to Veera that they should not move Lipper due to the potential of aggravating possible injuries to his head or spinal column. “Veera, Natalya, I would like the two of you to explain what happened here.” “Yes sir,” Natalya replied, pushing Veera gently forward with her. “You will not be in trouble, Cauthan. Speak the truth only.” It took not five minutes for the story to be derailed the moment that Veera revealed that Lipper had laid his hands on her. “Veera!” Ratha yelled, barging into view on the projection from Mara that hovered above Natori’s wrist. “Get over here now!” “Ratha, what the hell are you-” “Shut up, scarface! When you’re rightfully furious you can come back. Until then I will defend my people since you refuse to! Veera, let me see your feathers now. Where did he grab you? This vision is blurry!” Out of respect for her leaders and not wanting to make more of a fuss, Veera held out her arm. “It hurts, doesn’t it?” Ratha asked quietly, placing her nose as close as possible to Alice’s display. “Of course, Ratha. That does not mean I intend to cry about it,” Veera replied, peeved at being treated like a cub. The hallway fell deathly silent as the Huntress ‘rounded’ on Natori. “You, human chieftain! You will execute the male who laid his hands on her or I will; make your choice!” They could all see the angry flare of Ratha’s crest before Antoth reprimanded her. “Ratha!” “Don’t you dare! She is one of us, Antoth! You cannot allow this to stand! If he were one of our kind you would be flogging him in the square right now! They will never respect us if they do not fear us.” “And when you are Sun Priest you may choose to rule by fear if you think them the same!” Antoth boomed with barely contained rage. “Until then you will remember yourself, Huntress. Admiral…your soldier has put me in a very difficult position.” Natori cast a glance at Lipper’s body, assuring himself that at least his chest was rising and falling. An alert popped up in his inbox. “Io, not now.” ‘I believe this will be necessary when this is all finished,’ the AI replied simply before stepping back out of the projection. He saw she had composed a shipwide email with a text file attachment. It was marked highest priority. Natori pinched the bridge of his nose. A headache was forming there as Mendes and Winters looked on with morbid interest. If anything, Russell was more shocked than the Beta Jumper. Ratha had treated Veera as one of her own. “Antoth, if Sergeant Lipper were one of your people, what would happen to him?” Natori asked fearfully. “Death!” Ratha shrieked. “GET. OUT!” Antoth’s voice somehow grew louder still. “We are in my temple, you unbearable mate of mine!” “OUT!” The Sun Priest seethed as Ratha drew her knife and waved it at the screen. Alice felt like running as fast as her legs could carry her. “I will not forget this, human,” she warned before storming off, her pregnant belly doing nothing to diffuse the aura of malice surrounding her. Both Natori and Antoth breathed a sigh of relief. “Admiral, while my mate is out of line she is…correct. Your question? If a male of this village were to proposition a mated female and then harm her…the kindest I could do for him would be flogging him within an inch of his life with a barbed flail. Most would demand exile or execution. Both are death sentences, one just takes longer than the other,” Antoth explained in a deep, regretful voice. “Antoth, really it’s just a couple feathers,” Veera spoke up with fear in her voice. “No Veera, it is not just a couple feathers,” Antoth corrected her kindly but sternly. “In that, Ratha is also correct. You are one of us, you are of breeding age, and you have suffered harm.” “By God,” Alice could be heard whispering. “Antoth, I take responsibility for my soldier’s actions and beg your forgiveness. This is my mistake,” Natori stated immediately, watching as Lipper finally stirred to life. Natalya moved to his side, forcing him to remain still and to not speak or move his head. ‘The medical teams are already on their way,’ Io assured Kaczynski as Rex finally pulled himself into a seated position. She knew that grace in victory was her prize to claim, and that human literature almost universally rewarded those who accepted triumph with humility. Kaczynski continued to entreat the Cauthan for his soldier’s life. “Thank you. Antoth, I will be honest with you. Out of respect for your people and way of life I have kept all details of your village and culture hidden from all but a handful of my crew. These soldiers were not among that number and did not know of your customs. I had hoped that this could have been done slowly, easing our two peoples together with minimal disruption. I was wrong. Io appears to have compiled a compendium of knowledge on your way of life for all of my crew and insists I send it out immediately to prevent any further misunderstandings, especially of this nature. On behalf of my people, and given that your own came out very much the victor here, I implore you to show mercy,” Natori pleaded. “And don’t you move a muscle, Sergeant. We will speak when this is all over.” Antoth’s low, rumbling laugh soon could be heard coming from Natori’s device. “Admiral, you lost the possibility for minimal disruption the moment you sent Alice Winters to us. Half of my farmers decided to leave their fields this morning to examine the trinket she made for Thantis. Many clamor for their own…” “Antoth, I’ve been trying to explain to them that unless their vision is poor they don’t…yes, I’m sorry, not the time or place!” Alice squeaked, falling silent again as Antoth took her by the shoulder. She walked with him through the temple of Valta until they found Ratha in the midst of gutting a chesko that had been felled that morning. “What?” She spat. “The human chieftain pleads for mercy, Ratha,” Antoth spoke firmly. “And in light of the services of both Winters siblings to our people, just this once, we will grant it. Admiral, I need assurance he will be punished according to your own species’ customs.” “You have my word,” Natori agreed immediately as Io nodded sagely just offscreen. “The disciplinary actions will range anywhere from manual labor, to solitary confinement for a period of time, to a potential loss of his command position depending upon the evaluation of a tribunal. You have my profound thanks, Antoth.” “When he recovers,” the Cauthan grunted disdainfully as Ratha held her tongue, apparently appeased by Natori’s plea. “Tell him that Alice saved his life.” “I will do that, Antoth. Unless there is anything else?” “No, but I will think on this and speak with you another time,” the village head promised. “Alice Winters, my gratitude for your haste in bringing this to our attention. You appear pale.” With an unadulterated sigh of relief, Alice killed the connection and left the rest of them alone in the corridors just outside the armory. The Admiral looked between Mendes and Winters. “Both of you have latrine duty for a week. Lieutenant, do the Cauthan have an equivalent?” “Outhouses, sir.” “Then you may serve your sentence on Mara if you choose. Private?” “Sir,” Mendes replied, making no protest. He was the only combatant left standing from Beta and knew the punishment was token. Whatever else needed to be said between the two men was conveyed silently, evinced only by a curt nod from Natori. “And since you’re both awake now,” Kacznski said with acid on his tongue, looking between Rex and Lipper. “If your own broken bodies and egos are not punishment enough…I will see to it that justice is served in this matter. I wonder, Sergeant Lipper, if you ever imagined being saved by a civilian when you joined the Jumper corps.” The Admiral’s pointed musings were cut off as a medical team arrived with two stretchers. He issued orders at once, describing the injuries reported. With that information in hand, the medics loaded Lipper and Rex onto the beds and carted them away, one of them shining a pen light into the Sergeant’s eyes to check for concussive damage. “Mendes, Winters, I assume the two of you can make it to the infirmary on your own power?” “Yes, sir.” “Get checked out and then report to me in my quarters, Lieutenant. Private, consider yourself dismissed once the medical team clears you. Private Orlova, your team will remain aboard until further notice. I would get comfortable.” “Yes, sir.” “Now everyone who is a human, get out of my sight,” Natori gave his final order, watching as Winters, Mendes, and Orlova saluted and departed. “I am very sorry, Veera. Do you require medical attention for your feathers?” “Ah no, it’s fine. A simple knife will suffice. What’s going to happen to Russell? He didn’t start it! I-” “Io no doubt has the entire altercation recorded and at the ready. Oh, and you can send that message, Io,” Natori approved, sighing as every crew member aboard the Event Horizon was given mandatory reading. “Would you care to join me in my cabin? I would like to speak with you, if I might?” “And to think I started today learning about flowers,” Veera lamented, though her statement caught Natori’s attention as Io and he shared a look. With a nod they bade one another farewell. He figured she might be checking on her body’s progress. “Perhaps we could continue with that instead?” He suggested. “If you wouldn’t mind a further tour of my ship?” “Ah…no, I suppose not?” “It will just be while we are waiting for your husband, I assure you,” Natori said, reading the look on Veera’s face easily enough. He wondered if the shaking feathers meant fear or something different. “Io, when the Lieutenant is cleared please send him to hydroponics bay number seven. Thank you.” ‘Of course, Admiral. I look forward to devising a redoubled training schedule for your…I guess we can still call them Jumpers. Perhaps the rookie guard force would be more appropriate sparring partners?’ And so Io left Veera and Natori in silence, having made it quite clear that just because she helped run his ship and let him in on her secret cyborg project, she was in no way, shape, or form on ‘his side’ when it came to the inevitable frictions between Omega and Beta. ----- “Oh dear, I think I know that look. Sentaura, I apologize but I’m gonna have to step away for a tick,” Lachlan informed his Cauthan host, peering over almost harvest-ready crops to see a rather distraught looking human looking right back at him. She was wearing a pair of durable pants and a white tank top. Sentaura walked to his side carefully, avoiding both her plants and the occasional fungus that shared the soil. “Is there something wrong?” She demanded. “If it’s somethin’ that would be affectin’ you or your boy you’ll be the first ta know,” he promised. “Then go to her. I managed well enough before you came,” Sentaura insisted. Lachlan wondered if her tone and choice of words were a subtle compliment or a trick of the translation program. Permission ‘granted’, the Marine dusted his hands off and moved swiftly to Alice’s side where she promptly hugged him for dear life. “Rusty got in a fight. A bad fight!” She sniffed. “Veera was there too!” “Woah woah, hold yer horses there pretty lass. Why don’t we start from the beginnin’?” Lachlan insisted, placing an arm around her shoulders and leading her away from the well populated fields. In addition to not wanting to cause a scene, Lachlan figured the shade of the trees would be preferable. Not to mention it was where he had stashed his canteen for the day. He offered it to her and she accepted readily. “Already picking up on some local tricks?” She teased softly, tilting her head back and allowing some of the water to trickle onto her tongue. “Hey, there’s…oh what the heck is it called…” “Sentaura called it niacta root,” Lachlan supplied as Alice snapped her fingers. “That’s the one! Xan totally got in trouble with Thantis for mixing too much of it into a draught for the guardsmen. Apparently if you go overboard it’ll numb your lips and throat for a while, at least if you’re a Cauthan. Super refreshing though, right? Lachlan, Rusty beat the shit out of Lipper and the others!” Lachlan felt as though someone had smashed him upside the head with a mallet, and he was sure it showed on his face. He ran his fingers along the trail of his moustache and sizable beard before seeking clarity. “What do ya mean he beat the shit outta four Jumpers?” “Look, all I know is that I got a call from Io desperately telling me to get Antoth. She said she couldn’t reach you!” “Oh shite…that musta been when the tyke ran off with my helmet!” Lachlan groaned. “Do ye have any idea how fast those little legs can run when they don’ wanna be caught?!” “I forgive you because you’re the best human dad on Mara,” Alice managed to smile before returning to her dour disposition, running a finger along the side of his canteen. “By the time I found Antoth and Ratha it was over. Lipper was on the ground, out cold. Rex looked like he could barely breathe. Veera and Natalya were watching as my brother and Mendes were wrapped up in some stupid MMA style crap. That was when Natori finally broke it up and things went bad.” “Lassie, what do ya mean Lipp and Rex getting destroyed wasn’t the bad bit?” The Marine demanded in a quiet tone. “The moment Antoth and Ratha found out that Lipper had touched Veera…taunted her and my brother, apparently bent a couple of her feathers. That Huntress started screeching like a banshee that Lipper had to die. I thought she was just being hormonal and pregnant until Antoth agreed.” “By me grandmum and all else that’s holy, what do ye mean he has ta die?!” Lachlan yelped. Alice shook her head sadly. “Remember when we first came down here and Veera warned you about touching her?” “How could I forget?” “Well apparently, Lipper committed one of the worst possible crimes as far as this village goes. He propositioned a married woman, even if it was surely just a crass joke. He touched her, and she sustained injury.” “So what did the head fuzzball have ta say about all this?” MacGregor wondered. Alice snorted at the idea of anyone calling Antoth a fuzzball other than perhaps Io herself. “He said that if Lipper were a Cauthan the best he could hope for is being flogged within an inch of his life with a barbed flail. His words, not mine,” Alice gasped. “But more likely the sentence would be exile or execution. Natori basically had to get on hands and knees, metaphorically speaking of course, to save him. It wasn’t enough.” “What the bloody hell! Yer tellin’ me they…” MacGregor tempered his anger as Alice hugged herself and began crying, tearfully searching for the record of the conversation. She finally found the segment she’d been looking for. ‘Tell him that Alice saved his life.’ “What did he mean by that?” Mac wondered quietly. “Be careful, please!” Alice implored, compelling the Marine to pick himself up and sit down at her side, giving her a shoulder to lean on. She indulged immediately. “I know how kind and thoughtful you are, just please be careful. Lipper was just picking another stupid fight and it almost got him killed. If you believe Antoth, the only reason he’s being shown mercy is because I got some glasses for Thantis! I didn’t want this, any of this!” “But aren’t ye happy we’re here instead o’ somewhere else?” “I know Mac, it’s just…saving people is what my brother is supposed to do. I just wanted to study them and be a part of this for a while! They all seemed so cute up until now.” “Are ye havin’ second thoughts?” “No…nothing like that. I just suddenly feel as though there’s a weight on our shoulders we didn’t ask for.” “That’s just a part of bein’ a soldier, lass. So don’t ye worry about me one bit. And I’ll be here farmin’ these weird mushrooms an’ cucumbers if ya need anything.” “What is...what is wrong with you?” Alice demanded as she devolved into a giggling fit. “Do ye have any idea what it’s like fer a country boy ta deal with HEL food fer so long? She’s a bloody good cook, Alice.” “Oh no…not you too!” The woman tragically moaned. “Just like my brother. I’m sure Veera lured him in with her cooking and then sunk her talons in deep!” “Now yer just havin’ a go at my expense,” Lachlan pointed out happily, resting a tentative arm over her shoulders. She didn’t seem to take issue. “Thanks Mac, you’re the best. So, have you decided to pay Cromwell a visit yet?” Lachlan, who had just taken a sip of water himself, promptly sprayed the contents of his mouth all over the forest floor before coughing and spluttering. “I thought we were here ta talk about yer problems!” “And what better way to take my mind off the fact that I apparently saved a Jumper from barbaric execution than by gossiping about the pilot who clearly wants to jump your bones?” Alice questioned devilishly. Mac leaned his head back against the tree they were seated against in defeat. “Alice, I barely know her. I ain’t gonna sleep with her.” “Oooh, you know me! Are you going to sleep with me?” She pressed. The silent, horrified look he sent her way was enough to have her clutching her side in stitches. “Ok, I’m sorry. I’m sorry!” “Yer not sorry one bit!” He insisted. “But yer a damn good friend, Alice. And I’ve been around the block once or twice. I know that even best friends can…have things come between em once sex gets involved.” “Wait, are you saying you’ve…you know, thought about me…like that?” Alice squeaked, suddenly feeling shy and quite aware of the fact that Lachlan was holding her. “Is it that strange? It’s not like yer an unappealin’ lass,” Lachlan replied seriously. “But like I said, that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing ta do. If ya feel the need we can talk about it another time, Alice. I don’t think now’s best.” “Yeah, yeah you’re right I just didn’t know you…I’m making it weird, aren’t I?” “You could always say ye find me horribly unattractive and that would be that!” The Marine suggested. Alice looked up at him. “Except then I’d be lying. But you’re right, Mac. Now is definitely not the time and…yeah, I would hate it if something wrecked whatever it is we have right now. Just…thank you so much.” “Aww, it’s nothin’! I’m just glad Lipp gets to keep his head. Damn hot head it is too, always bound ta get him in trouble one day. Yer brother didn’t go easy on him I bet.” “How did you know my brother won just fine?” Alice questioned. “Other than you tellin’ me? Are ye kiddin’ lass? Lipper and his squad are well trained, but yer brother’s killed. If ye believe the stories he’s done a fair bit o’ killin’. My money’s on him, always. But let’s not dwell on this any longer. Ye said in that letter yesterday you fixed up the ol’ death priest with transition lenses? Why don’t ya go say hi and show him how they work? Perfect day for it.” “And I’ll let you get back to farming,” Alice chuckled, standing and brushing herself off as Lachlan followed. “I gotta earn my keep!” Lachlan agreed heartily, waving to Sentaura as they returned from the forest. The Cauthan had been watching them closely. She hummed to herself, pleased that he seemed to have found himself a mate. He was nice enough for an alien. “Mmm, so that’s how it is. How curious!” ----- Previous | First | Next ----- Own The HEL Jumper: Survive in the format of your choice: hardcover | paperback | epub | Amazon Kindle
In 8 hours I will have completed my first year of medical school and I just found this sub.
TLDR: I am a medical student who has been (sort of) functioning with ADHD, but am just now realizing how pervasive it really is. Major procrastination vent episode incoming. So quick history: I am a 25yo female with (I believe) pretty severe ADHD. I am currently in my first year of medical school and my final exam of the semester is over neuroanatomy, taking place in 8 hours. At age 18 I was diagnosed with depression after my first semester of undergrad. I was put on Lexapro and it helped immensely with mood, but I was still gradually declining from the high achieving status I was accustomed to. Nevertheless, I pursued a degree in biochemistry and French with the intention of going to medical school. At age 20 I discovered an article on ADHD presentation in adult women and immediately made an appointment to be evaluated. My GP referred me to a psychologist who diagnosed me after a series of questionnaires and cognitive-behavioral tests. I was prescribed Concerta and Ritalin just in time for my MCAT exam. I had to take 2 gap years after graduating from undergrad because I did not get into medical school the first year I applied, and the second year I only applied to my top choice and got waitlisted. I worked in a biochemistry research lab as a post-bacc during that time and got married to my high school sweetheart. The 3rd time I applied, I got in and here we are now as my first year comes to an end. I don't really know why I am writing this aside from the obvious fact that it's my current procrastination technique, but I guess I am just reflecting on what the past year or so has taught me. In one of my recent lectures they briefly went over ADHD and I realized that I never actually looked into the physiology/pathology behind it. This is honestly really surprising given how obsessive I usually become over various topics that present themselves in my life. Aside from seeing the psychologist to be diagnosed and taking my meds, I haven't tried to educate myself on the causes, symptoms, or treatments and I have just kind of accepted the diagnosis as some random quirk that makes things kind of difficult. But after that lecture, I was curious to see how I would be diagnosed now and I looked up some of the tests as well as read some articles again about how it can present in women- especially those generally thought of as "high achieving". I have come to the conclusion now that I am managing it really, really poorly and I want to seek out support and advice for going forward, not just for navigating a challenging career, but for general psychological wellness. For example, I have been generally skating by in school when I know my potential is vastly more advanced than my actual performance. I literally have pulled an all-nighter before every single exam this entire year. I have been ignoring my studies for a particular class for 3-4 weeks and then the day before the exam, I cram all of the material which I then regurgitate on the test without truly absorbing any of the information long-term. By the end of the year, it has gotten to the point that all I do to study is watch all of the unit lectures for the first time on 2X speed the night before, then read through as many of the powerpoints as possible in the morning before taking the test. If you are not familiar with medical school material, it is insanely dense and complex, so having only 1-2 exposures to the concepts is not really adequate to truly learn it and retain that knowledge. Luckily I have a pretty solid memory and have been able to score near the average on these exams, but I have failed a few which is very out of the ordinary for me. I would have never found that acceptable in school before, but now that I am in medical school, it is almost like I have adjusted the expectations I have of myself. I haven't failed any classes, but I know that I don't truly know the material. I just keep telling myself that I will have to relearn it for board exams anyway so I will have it all absorbed eventually. I know that this is irresponsible and a waste of my educational opportunities, but every time I tell myself I am going to change, my executive functioning just will not let me. It would be one thing if I was scoring poorly after slaving away constantly at the material, struggling to grasp the concepts, but it is the exact opposite. I will spend 4 days in a row watching a Netflix series, digging into stupid anti-vaxx facebook pages, learning all about some random baking technique, obsessively researching the best type of vacuum to buy, and starting a new house project like refinishing our countertops, even though I have none of the experience or equipment necessary. I bet I have 25 different projects for my house at various stages of completion right now, but my dining room table is piled up with a huge selection of junk that has accumulated there over the past month. I see my classmates studying from sun-up to sun-down and I feel like a complete slacker, 100% impostor syndrome. I genuinely enjoy the material and I don't dislike the act of studying, but somehow I can't bring myself to sit down an learn it in a reasonable timeline. The craziest thing is that I am also the happiest I have ever been in my life. Once I realized that I completed one of the hardest tasks necessary to achieve my dream career as a physician--just getting accepted into medical school--I suddenly felt like I could live my life more how I wanted, with less of the crippling anxiety and restrictions that I felt for 6 years straight as I was working toward that goal. I pretty much made a conscious decision to sacrifice a stellar performance for a mediocre one that allowed me to actually live and give in to some of my obscure interests or compulsions without so much guilt. But I realized that it would cost me the chances of going into a competitive specialty. And I came to terms with that as I think I just want to practice general medicine in a small town anyway. Nevertheless, I don't think I am living my best life because I still feel utterly controlled by my ADHD. Until I just recently revisited the symptoms and manifestations it can have on our lives, I had been kind of living in a state of constant choas and guilt. I live every day essentially doing damage control, completely overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities I neglected until threatened with ultimatums and consequences. So many of my tendencies that I had previously been attributing to fundamental character flaws, I have now discovered are blatant examples of my ADHD. I have gotten accustomed to trying to hide my disorganization, making excuses for why I am late, making promises to myself that tomorrow I would be better. I guess I kind of forgot (or never fully realized) that essentially everything I hate about the way I conduct myself is a direct result of being unable to control my ADHD. And I also didn't realize how severely it has been affecting my life, and how poorly controlled it has been despite being on medication. So, I am sorry to rant for so long, but after finding this subreddit, I just couldn't force myself to focus and study without getting these feelings out in writing. I don't really know what I wanted to achieve with this post aside from venting and asking for advice on where to start with getting myself under control? For reference: I take Concerta (extended release) daily in the morning at 54mg, and then I take 10mg Ritalin in the evening as needed if I feel like I need it to study after the other has worn off. I struggle to take the Concerta at a regular time each day, and it helps immensely, but I feel it wears off after maybe 4-5 hours. Although it fixes my motivation and helps me work up the will to be productive, a lot of times that energy still gets directed toward an inessential task. Usually I don't really feel like the Ritalin has any effect at all. I don't want to become too dependent on the meds, and I really want to find some techniques to help me tackle my discipline and executive functioning issues. I don't have a therapist, but I would definitely like to find one as I obviously have a lot to talk about and process. Does anybody have any input, advice, encouragement, or even just relatable tidbits they can add? I can't express how relieving it has been to read others' experiences with ADHD and how accurately they can describe my psyche. It has helped tremendously with the feelings of guilt and inadequacy that I've been harboring. In case anyone wanted to share in some common experiences, here is an attenuated list of problematic manifestations of my ADHD:
Having extreme ambitions but a complete absence of motivation to fully execute them. Example- I meticulously researched how to engineer and build roll-out shelving for all of our kitchen cupboards and then bought all of the wood, hardware, and equipment necessary to do the project. That was a year ago, and I keep postponing the weekend I intend to do it because other stuff pops up.
Getting completely obsessed with various, unrelated topics and spending an entire day or more researching it when there are very important tasks unattended to. Example- My mother-in-law mentioned she wanted to get a puppy. I spent an entire weekend weighing different breed characteristics, combing through breeder and rescue websites, mapping routes to pick up possible dogs from across the country, picking out toys. When I presented her with all the info she got so overwhelmed she decided she didn't want on anymore.
Constantly fidgeting. I play with my hair all day long and it has sustained a lot of damage from me always pulling on it and snapping off broken ends. It is a serious challenge to take online exams because the webcam flags you for suspicious movements.
ALWAYS FINISHING ASSIGNMENTS AND EXAMS LAST. Every single time. I had to blindly guess on at least 5 questions in each section of my MCAT.
ALWAYS LATE. Even when I plan to leave an hour early, I end up being late. My friends and family have started lying about start times of events.
Rambling and an inability to be concise. Bet you couldn't have guessed ;)
Crippling indecisiveness. Like I can't buy something at the store often times because I need to look up the best deal online and compare stats with other brands. Very frequently do I just buy both options because I can't decide between the colors.
Compulsive shopping and eating. Especially faced with stressful tasks, I find an excuse to search Amazon for a random product like carpet cleaner for hours and then just end up buying an entire steam cleaning system. Out at restaurants always ordering way more than I can eat, lots of times forcing it down.
UTIs because I don't want to pause my obsession to pee.
Frequently missing meals for the same reason.
Getting obsessed with a TV series and bingeing 95% in one sitting, then losing the motivation to finish the last couple episodes.
Extreme messiness but absolutely hating living in it.
The tendency to be all or nothing with things. Like if I decide to clean the bathroom I cant just quickly wipe down the sink and scrub the toilet. I have to remove everything for all the closets and drawers and clean it all down, then reorganize everything to have a perfect spot. Deep clean all surfaces. Lots of times I don't have the time for this level of cleaning so I just forgo cleaning completely until things get really filthy.
Starting numerous hobbies and getting all the supplies, super excited about it, all you can think about. Then something absolutely necessary takes your attention off of your project and you can never get back into it. Examples- cookie decorating, crocheting, knitting, dress making, painting, inventing an alphabet, calligraphy, learning a foreign language, woodworking, lawnmower repair, landscaping, gardening, children's story writing, makeup, wedding planning, crosswords, interior design, dog training, cleaning... I'm sure there is plenty more that I have started within the past 2 years that I can't think of off the top of my head.
Ignoring email, snapchat, texts, calls because you just can't find the will to address the person, even though you actually enjoy socializing when you are in the moment.
Loving the opportunity to just drive in silence because it gives you the ability to think through the web of partially digested thoughts or concepts built up in your brain.
Always forgetting where you put your phone, sandwich, drink, shoes, keys, etc. Like several times every day.
Getting up to do something then instantly getting sidetracked to do something else, in a succession of tasks, never actually doing the initial thing.
Getting excited at the prospect of planning how you are going to manage your time and responsibilities. Meticulously formulate a schedule, get apps, planners, calendars, and notebooks and enjoy filling it out in ridiculous detail. Critically underestimate the time necessary to do each task so you immediately get behind. The overwhelming pile of missed deadlines makes you quit altogether and just do something useless or go to sleep.
Very easy to stay up extended amounts of time if something has gripped your interest or you are having to complete a threatening deadline. Then very difficult to get out of bed once you are in it.
People see you as unreliable, but when you are actually at an event or doing a task, you give it 110% and your utmost attention. Perfectionistic, actually capable of achieving some pretty neat stuff.
Feel like you always have random words and thoughts bouncing around your brain. I have at least 100 different names I call my pets that seem to sprout from nowhere and be completely unrelated to them.
Your brain can go from thinking about one topic to diverge onto a totally separate and obscure topic, but when you actually try to figure out your thought path, you can trace back the bizarre series of relationship and connection that led you to your rapid change of subject.
Being very creative and possessing a lot of ingenuity, taking pure enjoyment in complex problem solving, especially if it can benefit other people.
Feeling like you have so much potential if only you could just get yourself to be disciplined. You genuinely want to start your assignment early, to call your mom back, to fold that laundry, but in the moment your brain simply won't let you fully assess the situation. You are unable to consider the consequences and instead you compartmentalize the feeling of impending doom in favor of watching another video of a man in the jungle building a swimming pool using only a coconut shell and bamboo poles.
I think that is all for now. I am about to pee my pants and I feel like I have gotten enough of my thoughts out that I can get back to studying. If you actually made it all the way through to this part, that is crazy. Even if no one takes the time to read this, I am glad I was able to document and unclog some of my mind congestion. Thank you! <3
I've got a web-serial running, and one of my readers said you all would enjoy reading the prologe. So, enjoy! Prologue 1/2 The universe and everything beyond it follows a great unknowable pattern. The why and the how of this pattern has been lost to time, but it's sufficient to understand that things have a startling tendency towards similarity across all of time and space. That is to say things, beings, places, and concepts have a tendency to appear and repeat themselves throughout the universe regardless of what one believes should or should not exist. The humaniod is a basic, five pronged being that tends toward upright mobility, and are a staple of the universe's life forms. It's a good design, fairly durable, with endless customization options. Some of the weakest, and some of the most powerful species in existence all share the common humanoid design. The pattern even accounts for a certain range of behaviors common to all humanoids. A laugh is a laugh in every galaxy, a smile is a smile, and a glare is a glare. A Space Elf is a fairly standard humanoid creature with a few customizations; they're universally pretty, immune to shame, and their ears are terribly long. Their society is organized in a fashion that while highly advanced, would be recognizable to a human. With this in mind, when I say Aldus Divine, a Space Elf, was just democratically elected “President for Life” of his entire galaxy, it's not without some awareness of how absurd that statement is. Oh, Aldus was so happy! Space Elves have a lifespan which measures in the hundreds of thousands of years, and this election had been going on for at least a thousand. Even for a Space Elf, that's quite a long time to focus on one thing. Consequently, Aldus Divine had just come off of the mother of all victory parties. That is to say, he'd just come back from a very refreshing orgy which had consumed his entire home planet for the better part of five years. He'd reconnected with old flames, made a lot of friends, done a lot of highly refined drugs, accepted huge sums in bribes; but only in public and on the record. He even took the time to donate his genetic material to one of the cradle worlds, where his offspring would be born from a machine and be free to struggle with their fellows until they were old enough to connect with the larger Space Elf population. If he were extremely lucky, he thought, they would not survive; or if he were less lucky, they would survive, but he wouldn't have to meet them. Yes, Aldus Divine was an absolute paragon of moral virtue, at least in the sense that Space Elves measured things like morality; which was not often, and without conscience. He is not, of course, the main character of the story, that's Ben, and he'll show up soon enough. The poor lad has just been approved for the first real vacation of his adult life, and he's packing his luggage; he can't figure if he's going to bring a bunch of sci-fi books with him to Hawaii or not. Oh, Ben. Laying down on his bed in his one-bedroom apartment, he shut his eyes, letting his life wash over him. Feeling the gratitude he ought to feel towards the people who have selflessly assisted him in his life, asking for nothing in return. He'd worked hard as well and was reaping the sweet fruits of success. Let him savor the feeling of victory. Aldus Divine certainly was. The elf stood tall at the mouth of a great, shining cavern, an enormous staircase leading down into the dark. Everything was made of a white, shining, opal-like substance, including the entire featureless surface of the planet. He was alone and savoring the moment. It was all his now, everything, forever, or at least as long as he could keep his tight fist clenched around life. He'd lied and cheated and betrayed his way to the top of a society of the greatest liars, and cheaters, and betrayers in the whole universe. He had absolute power over them now. The full might of The Empire trembled at his voice, eager to fulfill his commands; no matter how aberrant, or abominable, or awful. He would fulfill every desire till his brain was numb, then he would reset his mind to pure innocence, and debase himself again; over and over, forever. Endless passion, endless pleasure, endless power. He would also, at some point, devote some of his time to making sure the gravy train didn't stop running, and that The Empire didn't collapse. Honestly, this was the easiest and best job in the entire universe. The Empire had been running itself for a literal eon without anything more than the occasional poke and prod from the central government, which was mostly ornamental as far as the average citizen was concerned. All of their major threats had been extinguished and banished to The System, which was a convenient dumping ground for all problems. All the flaws and imperfections of their species had long ago been polished away, giving them bodies which were optimized for pleasure and eternity in what they considered to be paradise. His steps were graceful, his body was slender and lithe, his hair was white and hung down his back, and his ears were just impractically long. Like every other member of his species, he had a supremely punchable face, and would give anyone looking at him an uncomfortable boner. Aldus practically floated down the steps. The surface of the planet was barren of all life, a shining shell of rainbow white, like the inside of an oyster. Space Elves loved to brag, and many a prisoner of war had heard their torturer talk about the capital planet; how valuable and unique it was; how it took a million years to grow the giant, gentle space oyster, and ten million more before the planet had finished forming. About how they had killed the sentient, peaceful being and feasted on it's body; it's psychic screams were recorded and available for purchase. That precious, planet sized pearl had been carefully carved out by The System, who had also provided the baby giant space oyster to begin with, and turned it into their capital planet. Speaking from a perspective of absolute fairness to the Space Elves, it was a gorgeous planet. It was unique. It was valuable. Only a human would have thought it wasn't worth the price. Aldus descended into the dark cavern down The Opal Steps, to the planet's interior, which was hollow and contained the central government. His thoughts were not the sort of thing anyone but a psychologist or a priest were equipped to deal with. His mind was occupied by all the depraved, formerly illegal things he was going to do. How he was going to be able to get anything he wanted from The System, about how all those who had been thrown in there would suffer from his requests, and how he would delight from that suffering. Aldus Divine was the paragon of being a total fucking dirt-bag, at least in so far as how humans measured morality; which was constantly, and with great pain. Aldus looked back one last time, savoring the sight of space. It was frustrating how beautiful it was on the surface of that planet, how awe-inspiring the view was. If only it hadn’t been created by such a wretched people. The Capital Planet was situated in an artificial solar system. What had once been a completely empty, blank pocket of space in their galaxy had been carefully engineered to have way too many suns, one of each color; an asteroid field of literal, moon sized gemstones; and a few gas giants with spectacular rings, thrown in as an afterthought. The Astro Engineers who designed it were still having nightmares about the maintenance plan. They just knew some President for Life was going to demand they “Change out the light bulbs” when a sun got a bit off-color. Indeed, Aldus Divine, who continued his walk, cackled to himself at the thought of doing just that. He would promote one of his old rivals, who was an Astro Engineer, to the head of the project and then drop that massive pile of shit on his desk. Aldus pictured it, he would be standing out there, gazing at the spectacular sight with Drevus Swift, the old rival. He would make Drevus stand there for a few days while he pondered, and then, he would point at the purple star and say 'Don't you think that one looks a little off? No, it definitely looks off. I don't think we'll be able to update it, it needs to be replaced. President's orders,' and then Aldus would pat old Drevus on the head and walk away, and probably mate with whoever Drevus was keen on at the moment. It was actually one of his campaign promises, not Drevus specifically, but that he would humiliate all of his old rivals and share the details with the public. They loved that sort of thing. It might have even won him the election, but that was a matter of fierce debate among the public. It's worth mentioning that all the other candidates had already quietly taken their own lives, which was both tradition, and a fate far preferable to the endless humiliation subjected on those who had dared run against the winner. The Capital Planet was a king's jewel, situated upon a cosmic crown in space. Clouds of vibrant gas floated in the region, dressing even the darkness of space in beauty. The surface of the world wasn't perfectly smooth, instead having a rolling, almost bumpy texture; it caught the light better, giving a wonderful contrast of light and shadow. It was also so, so terribly quiet. There was no wind, not on the surface, merely the simple circulation of air. A bleak, sterile, awful beauty that shone so bright it would burn the eyes. Space Elves were good at creating things like that. Aldus did wonder, with a sense of barely restrained glee, what had caused the previous President for Life to abdicate his position. It had never happened before. The special election which had consumed the galaxy for the last thousand years was an anomaly in an otherwise smooth historical pattern. What sort of sordid secrets would he learn? The former president wasn't that old either. Sure, he was approaching the last two hundred and fifty thousand years of his life, but he was still in his prime! If he wanted to, he could extend his life practically indefinitely. The man had been President for Life, there were options available to him that weren't available to anyone else. So, why? Why ever quit? Another of Aldus's campaign promises, one he fully intended to break, was to tell the public all the details. But, no, that secret would be for him and him alone. Nobody could hold him to it anyways, there wasn't a process in place to remove him from his office, and anyone who tried to make noises about that would be thrown into The System, a fate far worse than death. He reached the bottom of the grand entrance, half expecting a parade, and fully expecting another absolute apocalyptic rager of a party. But there was no parade, no music, and no food. Just a very old elf, who was about to give up the best job in the universe, standing alone in a gigantic gaudy entrance hall. So the ancient rabbit wanted to do it like that, eh? Fine, the party was inevitable, and would go on forever anyways. Aldus only got to do this once. “Are you prepared?” Dremian Divine asked, an expression of. . . Aldus struggled to find the right word for what he saw. It was a foreign emotion to Space Elves, but it did exist in them. “Why do you seem concerned, Light of the Empire?” Aldus asked, using one of the ten thousand titles for the position, and using it with a hint of sarcasm. “Come with me. I have evacuated the planet and will conduct your orientation. What we say will stay between us, forever.” Aldus kept his body language composed, but inwardly, he was both confused and a little put out. Then, he looked around and realized that the two of them were well and truly alone, so he relaxed. Aldus shrugged and let his emotions play across his face, one side of his mouth raising and an eyebrow going up. It was an expression that said 'Ok, whatever, dude,' “The entire planet?” Aldus asked, struggling to keep up with Dremian's brisk pace. This was all wrong, he thought, nobody walks this fast, ever. “You will soon see.” They walked in silence after that, and eventually, reached the heart of the planet. The seat of power of their entire empire. The Glorious Throne- oh wait, Dremian took a hard left and led them to a different room. This room was more functional than magnificent. It had no chairs and was occupied by a holo projector in the center of the room. It was positively ancient, a heavy square box set low into the floor, with a large, smooth blue dome recessed on the top of it. “Do you know the history of our position? It's origins?” Dremian abruptly asked as he waved his hands over the ancient piece of technology. Aldus almost snickered when he realized the piece of garbage actually had to warm-up. “Naturally. As the empire expanded, a central ruling body was required-” “No,” Dremian said, cutting Aldus off. “No?” Aldus asked, starting to get a little pissed off now. This was his day, the best day of his life, and some fossil was trying to haze him. “No. This position exists for one simple awful purpose.” “And what's that, Dremian,” Aldus asked, sarcasm dripping from his words. “We exist to keep the humans contained, Aldus. That is our only job. That is why the whole might of the empire is at our, and now your, disposal; because even everything we have is not enough.” The silence stretched between them, and an abrupt hum came from the holo-projector. It came to life, and a blue planet with green continents was displayed, hovering at eye level with the two Space Elves. It was, if I would be so bold, a fetching and naturally beautiful planet, and a jewel to surpass anything the elves had ever created. Aldus stared at the blue planet, his face a completely blank politician's mask. Aldus continued to stare, the seconds stretching into an uncomfortable minute, and then into ten of them. They were by far the most awkward, uncomfortable ten minutes either of them had ever experienced in their long, long lives. Dremian glanced at the blue planet, and then at the face of his replacement. “Aldus,” Dremian said, “you weren't honestly expecting this position to be an endless party, were you? You must have thought to yourself that there had to be more to being the Warden of the Empire than endless pleasure and privilege?” Aldus's long ears twitched, and he gently coughed, never taking his eyes off of the hologram, still pretending to be staring at it in profound thought. “Not even a single time, in a thousand year election?” Dead silence. “By the rainbow stars of the capital, we are so fucked,” Dremian said, his face giving way to an expression of pure, unadulterated horror. -- Dremian staggered back a few steps till his back was against the wall and his legs flexed, pushing him up against it hard. His eyes were wild and unfocused, and even though their species had genetically removed most kinds of fear, he was about to have a panic attack. Then, abruptly, his biology kicked in, and he was no longer feeling negative emotions. A small, almost stupid smile replaced the terror, and his legs slowly gave out. He slid down the wall, landing on his butt chuckling darkly as he pulled out a flask. “No, we were already fucked. I shouldn't try and put all the blame on you anymore than I already am.” Dremian took a drink and motioned for Aldus to come over. Aldus had never said no to drinking on the job his entire life, and he wasn't about to start now. He walked over and put his back against the wall to slid down like Dremian had, until the two were level and sitting close; at least close for how a human would measure it. Space Elves had a concept of personal space which included skin to skin contact only. There was no 'Personal Bubble'. “You said nobody is ever going to know what we said here?” Aldus asked, taking a drink, and then taking another, longer drink before handing the flask back. “Bah, forget about your image, you won. Nobody can touch you now, except me, and only until I officially pass on the title. Speak as freely as you want, you're the Warden now,” Dremian spoke, and Aldus felt the familiar shudder, the thrill that came with absolute power. “It's as you said, then. I have no idea what's going on right now.” “I'm being too hard on you,” Dremian said, and silence followed. He took a drink from the bottomless flask, a Flask of Holding. It's worth mentioning that old quote about sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic, because the flask was also enchanted to produce whatever highly potent and illegal substance the galactic leaders were consuming. Aldus had to stare, because nobody ever admitted fault in The Empire. Space Elves just didn't do that, no matter how much they drank. It made him uncomfortable. “Too hard,” Dremian said with a sigh, setting the flask on Aldus's lap and standing up on steady feet; Space Elves had prioritized several things in their vision of genetic perfection, and near the top of that list was the ability to get way more drunk, stoned, fucked up, high, low; all the states of intoxication, without suffering any loss in function, or having any long term health problems. Dremian was drunk, probably drunker than most humans could get without dying, but that wasn't going to stop him, or Aldus, from getting through this conversation. Dremian took brisk steps towards the holo projector and began waving his hands around in the air, operating it. Aldus internally scoffed at the need to physically operate the device, really, who bothered to keep anything without psychic controls? The planet, which was obviously Earth, blurred for a moment before re-forming, this time showing all the lights of civilization that criss-crossed the planet. Satellites orbited, and had their orbital paths projected by thin lines. “I bet you're wondering about the fossil,” Dremian said, slapping the holo-projector fondly, “it's from the Age of the Primordial War, way back at the dawn of the universe. This little chunk of genius allowed for something to be viewed in real time without projecting any psychic presence or allowing any psychic connection to form with the viewer; that's very important in psychic warfare. How does it work? No idea, it has a maintenance plan and we stick to it. The projector is interesting, but who cares,” he said, pointing at the Earth, “That's Terra, the only planet in the universe with humans.” Aldus was many things, but stupid wasn't one of them. He stood up, only slightly less drunk than Dremian, and got closer to the projection. “Primitive,” he said softly, his big, advanced Space Elf brain functioning like a computer. Aldus began operating the hologram and selected a satellite, zooming in on it. “Very primitive,” he was frowning now, and zoomed out to get a picture of the solar system. There were a few orbit rings around Mars, and Aldus selected the one that stood out to him. “What is that, some sort of personal vehicle? If they thought they could travel space in a. . . Tesla?” he said, rolling the unfamiliar word around with his tongue, and then abruptly felt his mental defense system activate, as though something had briefly, and weakly, attempted to break into his mind. Dremian chuckled. “I'd be careful saying too many Terran words, Aldus,” Dremian said, tapping his skull with a finger, “that planet is absolutely infested with predatory psychic life.” “Noted,” Aldus said dryly, reviewing the attack and then rolling his eyes at how weak it had been. He continued to review the planet, only stopping to drink, and began laughing when he realized what the roads were made out of. “Tar and pebbles? What a bunch of primitive savages! Oh, I get it now, Dremian. This was a funny joke. . . those vehicles are strange. They're belching out smoke almost like something is burning,” Aldus said, watching a lone car on a highway at night, evidently trying to puzzle out how it functioned. “That's a car, Aldus. This is my first lesson about humans, and it should tell you everything you need to know about them,” Dremian said, pulling up an animated schematic of an internal combustion engine, “Lesson number one; A human being is perfectly comfortable with the idea of strapping themselves into a highly unstable, active bomb and using it for the purpose of transportation.” “A bomb,” Aldus said, eyebrows raising up in alarm as his mind caught up and realized the obvious. “A bomb! By the stars, that's madness. That can't be safe!” he said, looking to Dremian. “Lesson number two, it's not, at all, and the humans know that. One of the leading causes of death on their planet are these transportation bombs, but they refuse to stop using them. Go ahead and keep looking around, Aldus, I'm enjoying this, seeing someone else go through it all.” Aldus did continue, all traces of humor evaporating as the puzzle pieces began to come out of hiding. Aldus had found the Midwest of the US now and was looking at a massive field of corn. “Ah, that's their food then, Corn?” Aldus said, reading the label the hologram placed over the field, “They must need to eat a lot of it, judging by how much they're growing,” Aldus said, and Dremian had a look of anticipatory Schadenfreude on his face. “Oh!” Aldus said, suddenly exclaiming in delight, “No, they've got two food sources! Corn, and Wheat! I wonder what the ratio is between the two. . . what's this now? Potatoes? Some sort of root, so three food sources? That's a little bit excessive. What are those structures,” Aldus said, zooming in on a building next to the farm house, “chickens? Why in the name of The Empire would they have an enclosure full of useless birds?” Dremian gave him a level look and stared at him. “They can eat chickens as well,” Aldus asked, but it was more of a statement than a question, “So they have four kinds of food then, right?” “If you had to guess, just based on what you've seen, how many kinds of food do you think a human can eat without any kind of processing?” Dremian asked the question with a sly look on his face. Aldus knew it was a trick question, he was no fool. Being able to eat both three different kinds of plant and chickens already gave them the most diverse palate out of any species he'd ever heard of. “I'll bet they can eat any kind of white meat, and any kind of green plant,” Aldus said, referencing an ancient, monstrous species that had been defeated by The Empire. Their species name, roughly translated, was 'The Mouth of the Void', and they'd earned it. Dremian smiled and savored the silence between them. “No,” he finally said, “they are a class of organism which is unique to Terra. They are Omnivores.” The word hung in the air like a physical thing, it's psychic presence rooted in Dremian, seeking access to Aldus's mind. It was gradual, working it's way slowly through the layers of psychic checkpoints, filtering through mental machinery, processed and finally broken down and understood. Omni, which meant all, everything, infinite. Vore, which mean to eat, to consume, to digest. Omnivore, the one who will devour infinity. Aldus took an involuntary step back, seeing the farm, and indeed, the planet, with new eyes. “Anything? Without technology? Without processing? Anything?” He asked, his eyes pleading with Dremian. “Anything,” Dremian replied, taking obvious satisfaction at Aldus's distress. “Could they eat us? Stars! No wonder we're keeping them contained,” Aldus said, suddenly filled with purpose, “but the moment I'm in charge, I'm exterminating them. Why haven't we exterminated them yet, where is Terra anyways.” Dremian closed his eyes and sighed, taking an almost erotic pleasure in the next part of the explanation. “Oh, you want to know where Terra is? Why, it's located in the heart of the Dead Galaxy, didn't you know? Wasn't that obvious?” The Empire was not situated in the Milky Way Galaxy, which was known as the Dead Galaxy to everyone else. The Empire was a galactic neighbor in the same way people living in the deep country can call the only other family for fifteen miles around their house a neighbor. Everybody knew about the Dead Galaxy, though it was a source of endless speculation, a bit like Antarctica is on Earth. The official story was this; The Dead Galaxy was dangerous, and nobody was allowed in for their own safety. There had been some sort of ancient cosmic war that polluted the entire thing, and if anyone went inside it, they would be contaminated, get sick and die. If The Empire caught you before you got sick and died, they would cull you, no questions asked. According to the official story, the contamination was contagious, and a threat to all life in The Empire. Nobody tried to go in. “Oh,” Aldus said, “yes, I suppose it was obvious. So these humans are living in a pocket of the Dead Galaxy that's free of contamination? I guess they won't be getting out of there, and who would want to run a suicide mission. . . why are you laughing?” “There's no contamination, Aldus. That whole galaxy exists for the singular purpose of keeping them confined to a single planet. Their galaxy is barren of all life, so that whenever the humans turn their sights on the stars, they hear nothing, see nothing, and feel nothing save for a sense of absolute loneliness. Do you know why?” “Why?” Aldus asked, feeling nothing but a sense of superiority and power; feeling that even for The Empire, this was an impressive punishment for an enemy. Aldus felt a warm glow of pride in his chest. “Why? Because if they even got a hint that there was anything out there, even the faintest whiff of it, they would leave their planet and start to spread out. You asked why we haven't eradicated them yet, yes? Would you like to guess?” “We're keeping them as a trophy,” Aldus said, feeling smug, “It's obvious.” Dremian chuckled again and shook his head. “No, Aldus, but good guess. It was a trick question, because we have eradicated them before, thousands of times. If I'm being perfectly honest, the Warden's main job is to eradicate humanity, to destroy them when they reach a certain point of advancement and start the clock over. Take some time to process that, Aldus.” “Have we bombarded the planet?” Aldus asked, mentally going down the Empire's official doctrine on how to exterminate a species, something that, until this moment, Aldus thought their species had completely mastered. “Yes, but we missed a few of them, and they recovered within a thousand years,” Dremian replied. “That fast? How quickly do they reproduce?” “A little more than one child per year on average, per female, if they are reproducing in a hurry.” “How fast to maturity?” Aldus asked. “About fourteen years at the soonest,” Dremian explained, though it's worth noting he used the Space Elf way of measuring time, and that I've converted it to something coherent; You're Welcome. “By The System,” Aldus swore, “Lifespan?” “A hundred years, give or take, though the females will stop being able to produce offspring after they're about fifty.” “So one female could produce forty children in her fertility cycle, roughly speaking?” “Yes, which is part of the problem,” Dremian said. “Have we irradiated the planet?” “Yes, it didn't work.” “Bioweapons?” Aldus asked, voice hopeful. Dremian scowled. “That was a terrible mistake. One of our predecessors released the Gorvx strain [Translation: E Coli] on Terra. Then, for good measure, he released hundreds of weapons grade, adaptable micro-organisms on the planet. He figured it would take care of the problem.” “That's a war crime in any other situation, what happened, were a few of them able to isolate themselves long enough for the weapons to become inert?” Aldus asked. “No, most of them died, and then they kept dying for a few hundred years. Actually, it succeeded in wiping out all animal life on Terra, at least for a little while. Most of the plants too. That particular warden was incredibly pleased with himself and enjoyed a few million years of peace and quiet. In fact, it was so quiet that he forgot to keep checking up on the planet every five hundred years or so, like he was supposed to. Care to guess what happened, Aldus?” “The humans were all dead, what did it matter?” “Wrong. That is the mistake made over and over. The humans re-evolved from scratch, all the way from the micro-organism stage, and this time, they came back highly resistant to any and all types of bio-weapons. Their bodies invented something they call an 'immune system', and now the Gorvex Strain lives in their stomachs and helps digest their food even more efficiently; it's a bit like a miniature version of The System, but on the biological level.” “That's impossible, on multiple levels. What about a psychic assault?” Aldus asked. “Same problem as the bio attack, except they have two minds, one of which is entirely without consciousness, which digests psychic entities, and is constantly generating new psychic lifeforms. Hmm, it's a bit like a version of The System, but on a mental level,” Dremian snorted like he'd just made a joke, “It also made them into the first, and only as far as I know, Post-Logic species.” “Post. . . logic. What in the world are you talking about?” Then, Dremian started to explain the miracle, or the horror, that was humanity. About why they couldn't just fly a fleet in and occupy the Dead Galaxy and spend the next million years systematically eradicating every speck of life. Simply put, humans did not need to understand something in order to build and operate it. The greatest fear of previous Wardens was that some moron would fly an advanced space-craft by Earth, that humans would see it, and then in a hundred years, produce a perfect replica; or worse, a better space-craft. Why? Because humans were Post-Logic. They did not have to follow a sequential chain of events to come to an idea; they were able to generate facts and ideas which were completely unsupported by any logical framework. Worse, was that these post-logical ideas could then be used to generate a logical framework, almost as if by some sort of evil magic. A normal mind could be visualized as a beautiful tree of logic, rooted in fundamental truth. The human mind was a world with thousands of evil, floating tree-people with no leaves and sharp branches, sitting in the lotus position and radiating a kind of evil enlightenment, and occasionally laughing a dry, sinister chuckle. “Forget about their seeming ability to come back from a single fragment of DNA from any species on Earth; or the fact that any planet that is infected with human DNA will generate an infinite variety of plant, animal, fungal, marine, and psychic life, IN ADDITION,” Aldus was shouting now, “TO GUARENTEEING THAT HUMANS WILL SOMEHOW MAGICALLY ARISE IN THAT ENVIRONMENT, NO MATTER WHAT!” Aldus was breathing hard, he was furious, both with Dremian, and with humanity, for being impossible. “No, forget about that little bit of non-sense. This Post-Logic,” Aldus's dripped with venom and contempt, “is completely impossible.” “Yes it is,” Dremian said, a sly look on his face, “but it's also true.” Aldus almost growled, then realized Dremian really was telling him the truth. He fell over, landing on his butt, staring at the holo-projection of the Earth. “By Death,” he swore, “where did these things come from? You cannot expect me to believe they are natural, because there is nothing more unnatural in the universe than what you've described to me.” “Well,” Dremian said, “you remember the Primordial War?” The Primordial War, the first event in the universe. In fact, it was the exact moment the war ended that the universe came to be, yet, it had always existed. At least, that was what the scientists said; or rather, what the scientists said the data said. If those scientists were pressed for answers, they'd start to sweat and start using very large, confusing words before running away. Nobody was super clear on the details of the war, and none of the original combatants were still alive; except the humans, and they'd forgotten everything. The war had been universal in scale, and the wreckage and remains were scattered across every galaxy. Strange, impossible things, devices which seemed to operate on an entirely different set of physical laws; it was as though the rules of reality hadn't been set into stone before the war was over. The Primordial War had a history. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. It was the sort of war that predated reality, and consciousness, and matter. Children were told it was the war between the forces which wanted things to exist, and the forces which did not want things to exist. For most of the war “the bad guys”, and they were bad guys, were winning. They had the home-field advantage, so to speak, because (according to the stories) nothing existed, and they just had to keep it that way. Then, in a fit of mad desperation, “the good guys”, they were probably good guys, created a weapon greater than themselves. They were fury, the reapers of havoc nursed upon anger, born to do battle, and without compassion. They more than a weapon. Born without sorrow with a crown of menace upon their head. Human. History , or what can be found of it, got a little funny after that. Carvings had been defaced and documents destroyed, clear evidence of a historical purge. What is clear, however, is that the humans had won the 'good guys' the war. How do we know that, because, well, the universe exists in actuality, rather than just as a probability in cosmic soup. “How did they end up on just one planet then?” Aldus asked, “and why don't we just-” “Aldus,” Dremian said, “shut up. That doesn't matter. Your job is easy and comfortable. Cull the humans, keep them from expanding and consuming the entire universe. Don't let them become aware that they aren't alone. Just follow the rules, and read the notes of the previous Wardens. You'll do great,” Dremian said, slowly edging towards the door as he spoke. “It doesn't seem that hard,” Aldus said, then narrowed his eyes, “why are you quitting then?” “Just got tired of it,” Dremian said, starting to move faster towards the door. “Nobody gets tired of it. Nobody has ever quit. What's going on with the humans!” “Nothing!” Dremian shouted, now running towards the exit, “I don't know anything about it! They're your problem now, I'm evacuating this galaxy and getting on the other side of the universe, fuck you!” Aldus felt a sharp pain in his arm, looked down and saw the dart, then Aldus went to sleep. When he woke up, he was alone, and the ruler of an entire galaxy. He just had one, simple, easy responsibility. So he sat down and started digging through the data stored in the Primordial Holo-Projector, and slowly, so slowly, he began to realize the problem. It was spelled out so perfectly in the previous Warden's data, in charts and spreadsheets, in pure math. Humanity was going to break the quarantine around Earth within the next ten years, and there was nothing he, or anyone, could do about it. I hope you all enjoyed the prologe. Theres ALOT more where that came from, and if you'd like to keep reading well just come on over to: Ben's Damn Adventure: The Prince Has No Pants The reviews speak for themselves.
Elliot wave update - A side note, for both bears and bulls
A bit ago on the last bearish kick, I posted about being in wave 4 into the Elliot wave. As much as the majority of you loved it, here is the update for what happened since then. I mentioned that we were in wave four and that we are going to be moving into wave 5, we wont see a skyrocket as we did from march dip but it will be a slow and a steady upward movement. So far I think what we have seen has been a little sloppy with minor pullbacks here and there but it has been pointing upwards. You can see that the next movement is wave A , that is the drop. Now wait no no, I didnt say massive dip incoming, stop typing and read! Image here: https://editorial.fxstreet.com/miscelaneous/1-637242047880354398.png I am a Technical Analysis and Fundamentals guys, I will have to admit, most technical analysis is thrown out the window in a longer term situation, anything more than a couple of days or a week Tech analysis is less accurate. The next stage makes sense, with every sky rocket rally upwards you will see a pullback which is a Wave A, what follows? a bit of a rebound for everyone who is thinking "oh my that is a really nice price, I missed it last time, all in!!" and the price increases. What is the next move? I see this still increasing, news is always going to be "vaccine soon" etc etc etec recovery amazing, we just cured cancer etc. Is that bad? not short term, but hold on here and imagine if our financial system implodes due to the historical gap between economy and stocks. That is not the topic rn, its about my analysis. You have to remember that the market has been also moving by new users who just joined the market very recently. News nowadays is what is driving the market, a good PR can send the market flying to an ATH, the rules have changed but still is all about investors psychologist, however, the investors percentages have changed here. Different people, different psychological behaviors. Now the next question, What are we seeing? We are seeing an Uptrend, Low highs and High Highs. It is not a bull trap my technical definition but a bull rally. Now I for one get pissed off looking at charts, 9/10 friends I have are laid off, I have been laid off as a Civil Engineer and I know work as an administrator with a fraction of my usual pay but I am labelled as "employed" , if I had a mortgage, I would be having a heart attack. My two cents is fundamentals will catch in the long term with stock prices. Disclaimer = I was betting on a massive dip, I question it now, it is still very possible with one wrong move. Not that I am sitting on the sideline with cash, This week I hit a record high 99.93% in the market and as of Friday I am 82% in the market. It is insanely dangerous for me to catch a dip right now but I am being cautious. Trade with caution, I am looking to only keep no more than 30% in the market starting next week. Now the question, why should you listen to me? You are not obligated to do so, this is my opinion outside of the Bear vs bull galactic wars. This is only my opinion, you dont need to start typing in all caps saying you got rich in the last month etc, I made green too calm down. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion :)
I originally posted this in trueoffmychest. She shouldn't go to prison, maybe. Or she should only go for a few years, or something. Not 10 years or more which might be what she'll get. In the tv show Columbo, it's about a detective who solves murders. In the show, contrary to most others, we see the crime play out in the opening act, and then the rest we follow Columbo solving the crime and we see how the murderer acts. It's an old show, but a good one. I'm going to talk about an episode, and i hate to spoil it, but i imagine that if you ever did watch it, you'd forget most of this anyway, besides, there's nothing much to spoil here anyway since ive told you the shows formula. This episode was quite different from most others. Mostly in the quality of how good the execution of the shows formula it was. And the music was particularly standout. The plot is kind of generic, but there is an aspect of the theme of justice here that i think is interesting which i would like to talk about. The episode starts with a woman named Joan talking on the radio giving advice to people. She's a sex therapist, which is a profession we don't really see much in media or real life. Throughout the episode she shares her views on some inner workings of women's passion, which is nice. She seems to have a happy life. Wrote multiple books, has a boyfriend. She seems happy. Until she comes home one day and finds him making love with his or her secretary or assistant. She's heartbroken, a tear rolls down her face as she watches them in secret. What's interesting here is that she doesn't interrupt them and do something/be angry. While the cheating couple are in bed together they even make a little joke about her. And so, Joan begins to plan her revenge against this man for what he has done to her, she plans to kill him. Though come to think of it why did she not take revenge on the mistress either?. I think because he was the one who was with her, and he betrayed her. She concocts a clever killing scheme and carries it out. During the course of the episode Columbo figures it out, and so near the end Columbo has enough evidence to convince her that he's caught her, and so the two sit down to talk more. That's what Columbo does, when he's convinced the murderer he has caught them, he then likes to chat with them a little bit to understand them more. Why they did it. The two sit opposite eachother and she tells him why he killed him. It is a beautiful scene. Before i get to it i want to say that, this episode is partially about passion. About the passionate inner nature of women and their fantasies, which isn't really shown in media even today in todays sexually charged western world. And here while it's not overt, it's subtle and subdued for the episode. It's partially about passion basically. In an early scene when Columbo is asking her about her dead boyfriend, she says he was a great lover very casually. This was quite surprising to me, how casual it was. That's not even done today. And it's not just the casual nature with which she said it, but also remember how she killed her boyfriend and hated him at the end when he cheated on her. But here it's casual and proud he was a great lover to her, and i don't think she's saying this to make it seem more her disguising herself as the murderer. I just think she was saying the truth in her sexually free personality. Sexuality isn't a taboo topic with her, she's open about it and wants everyone to have a good sex life. She's knowledgeable on sexuality and not in a condescending way. She's just liberated and honest about it. It's an attractive trait. So me and Columbo were quite surprised by this remark and her personality in regards to sexuality. Columbo being an older gentleman by now and this episode was 30 years ago, so he's surprised but quickly adapts to her personality. He's a good person, and so am i. Part of her crime involved dressing up to become another woman. Now this is interesting and her thoughts about it are interesting in that end meeting between Joan and Columbo. Columbo tells her all the evidence against her, and then tells her what he thinks happened. "There's a lovely fire here ma'am, why don't we share the fire" Columbo sits down. "I think the night you came back from the airport you found mr kincade right her in this room making love to cindy gault. Is that why you killed him?" This was it, now she could unburden herself. This is when good music plays too. "That night, the two of them in bed together, i heard him laughing at me. I was his joke." "That must have been very hard ma'am" She sits down in the chair opposite. "There isn't a woman in the world lieutenant, who wouldn't have fantasized in my circumstances about doing what i did. Make him pay. For the anguish, and the humiliation. And all the loneliness to come. But i went beyond the fantasy, and i wasn't even frightened. You want to hear lieutenant, what did frighten me." "If you'd like to tell me ma'am" "Becoming someone else. Becoming Lisa. After all my research, all my books. I hadn't truly understood what it was to sink into a fantasy. Being someone stronger, more desirable, more willful and exciting. Someone that david would never have dared to betray. For those few days, i liked Lisa better than i liked myself. That frightened me. Far more than you waiting to arrest me. Now that ive confessed all this, i want to know. Do you think less of me?. "I'm only a policeman. Judging people, that's all up to somebody else. But i can tell you ive enjoyed our talks very much, and i think i do understand" Columbo stands up, and offers her his hand. "Ma'am" She takes it, and he escorts the lady out. A beautiful conversation and scene. This episode is in the 8th season of the show. Columbo has never to my knowledge shown such understanding of a persons reason for murder. He has nearly always been the opposite, but this time, he was different. And i'm different, too. Beautiful how she talks about Lisa. Beautiful with Columbo listening intently. How he treats with her with respect throughout. Beautiful how he says he understands, but can't really do anything. The evidence has been collected, and he's a detective, this is his job, and as he says, judging people is up to somebody else. But i can't help but feel for this woman. Thus, the beginning of this post now makes sense. She should have just broke up with him. But killing him...i can't...completely condemn it, though i do condemn it. But...sending her to prison for years, or decades, i have a problem with. For perhaps a bizarre reason. Well first a normal reason, that she didn't deserve to go to prison for that long, that she was semi/partially justified in what he did. And the evidence subjectively would show that. I wonder, for the people who didn't know her as this strong, intelligent, passionate being, that they would love at the evidence objectively, but then it would have a cold, wrong perspective. You need to know the woman to make the correct judgement?, the correct sentence?, i don't know. You should really know who she is as a human being. And the perhaps bizarre reason why i think she shouldn't get years or decades. Because that amount of time might then rob her of having a family. Starting a family. She's a strong, intelligent, attractive, passionate woman. She'd make a great mother, and a great partner. Yet she's robbed of that. I don't like that, i don't like that her future is now shrouded in cold...when it could be warm. Warm for others, the world and her children. That warm future is robbed. I'd bet she would never kill again. God damn it let's just say that's guaranteed. Then she's robbed. It's unfair. And keep this in mind too, you can bet there have been lots of situations like this in real life. This is why part of the justice system is flawed, this situation. This episode has been stuck in mind for days now, and i had to say something. The music is memorable too: https://youtu.be/6Dz_HAG61CY https://youtu.be/DS5Y0iGA9DI That romantic saxophone. Damn. There's different variations of it in the episode too which is great. In that last conversation it's like a flute version kinda. Some say it's cheesy but i think it fits perfectly with what's going on and how it ties it through throughout the episode. How in that end conversation she talked about fantasy with becoming Lisa. So good. I can't help but respect her. And he betrayed her. He betrayed her love, her passion, her loyalty. He cheated on her, betrayed her, and trampled over everything else. She was heartbroken. And this:
"There isn't a woman in the world lieutenant, who wouldn't have fantasized in my circumstances about doing what i did. Make him pay. For the anguish, and the humiliation. And all the loneliness to come."
And all the loneliness to come. How she talks about Lisa. Becoming that woman was desirable to her, how different she was, like she said. More desirable, stronger, more willful and exciting. Someone she thinks a man would never betray. He liked Lisa better than she liked herself and it frightened her. At the very end of the conversation, you still see her true self inside, with this line: "Now that ive confessed all this, i want to know. Do you think less of me?." Me, Columbo and hopefully you too, understand her. That line further cements it. She's good. And for Columbo himself to behave in the way he did says a lot. I don't even know if Columbo lets say he had the power, if he would jail her. Therapy/rehabilitation for sure. But prison?, i don't know. Maybe he'd give her a few years combined with rehabilitation therapy, though i don't think it would work much with her. She's too strong and intelligent and too attached to her own beliefs for that. How long do you think she would get in our world. Especially with the elaborate crime and covering it up. 10 years or more?. Is this truly right. It's a deep question. It concerns our justice system, or parts of it. Are these things truly right. Fair. Flawed. There's even more you could talk about. Female prisoners vs male prisoners and their time for crimes. But that's a bit of a tangent. She's not evil, we know this. Yet she's getting 10 years or more. What if in our justice system she got 20 years, or 30. Another tangent is the formation of our justice systems by politicians and their motives. And other bullshit. Why do people generally think our justice system is perfect enough. It works well enough, i guess. But with the amount of injustice...i wonder though if it's being changed slowly over time, to be better. More and better legal experts and psychologists and philosophers and politicians etc weighing in to make things better. In 100 years will that generation look back on the justice system today and think it barbaric or wrong or flawed in so many ways, like we look back and think the same of the justice system a century ago. I thought about ending the post there but i can't help myself. Listening to this enchanting music over and over. Probably altogether ive listened to it for hours over the days. She looked really attractive and different as Lisa. And when she killed that guy, she only said one sentence to him. Just one, and then killed him. Not even a conversation, not even a few lines, just one. Only one was needed, and he knew. Then she shot him dead. Her crime was clever, but not perfect, and Columbo picked up on the imperfections along the way. In Columbo you nearly always see either the killer, Columbo or both in the frame. Usually both as there's this bit of a cat and mouse game. A bit of an acting game. Often there's the killer trying to help Columbo/lead him away, and act surprised when he finds clues and the killer tries to explain them away. Columbo acts a bit bumbley and oafish. It's entertaining as the clues mount up and you see the concerned and then stressful states of the killers and the evidence mounts up around them. You see it here with Joan too. She becomes more stressful and agitated as the evidence grows around her. You can see the stress affecting her, and then she becomes Lisa again to throw Columbo off the trail. She gains that confidence again that comes with being Lisa. How cathartic it must have felt. She becomes more agitated near the end. Then Columbo tells her the final pieces of evidence he has that would convict her. And then, it must have been a weight lifted from her. No more lies, no more secrets, no more stress. Another cathartic release as she tells him the truth. Which he himself has kind of earned through his usual great detective work. He politely invites her to sit by the warm fire to make her more comfortable. A gentleman, respectful. He's always been like to most of the killers. He treats them with respect and tries to understand why they did what they did. But this time he didn't just try to understand why she did it, he respected why she did it, whereas he had rarely ever done that before, only tried to understand, but here he respected her reasoning and understood why. She should be allowed to live a life.
Reaching out... desperately need some help.. toxic masc
Hey, normally I wouldn’t be one to post something like this, but I really need some advice and help, and don't really have anyone with experience with this I can turn to (im feeling quite alien and like a bit of an anomoly). I’m a 27 male who came out to his close friends around 4 years ago, and out properly to the public 2 years ago. I was originally doing quite well with it when just my close friends knew, but recently I have been having a lot of regrets regarding coming out, and have been carrying a lot of self-loathing and shame, while expressing some serious toxic masculinity. Also, some of the things I might say from here out may come across as provocative, please understand I am very aware that this is entirely a 'me' issue and is bred from my own self disdain, and that’s what I’m desperately trying to seek help for. I’m “straight-acting”, love MMA and metal, can only see myself getting married with a female partner, and don’t fit the stereotypes (but I also love the dick). I initially came out because I wanted to be totally honest about everything with my future partner, and also wanted to have that part of myself accepted. I thought I would also be an advocate of change, break down stereotypes, while also potentially inspiring other bi dudes to come out themselves, because there is so many of us in the closet yo. These stereotypes lately have been crushing me. My attraction for women is disregarded and I’m assumed to be gay. It's assumed that I like effeminate things and am often treated differently now, and sometimes I feel pressured, and to my disdain and shame, have acted very differently to my true self to fit that stereotype, because at that moment it felt like at least my bisexuality was being acknowledged. It seems most girls find my bisexuality quite repulsive, and I find an immediate shift in their facial features when finding this out, and where just moments before I was sexually desirable, I’m now considered to not meet the societal interpretation of what is masculine, or they would never be able to satisfy me completely. Where I had great success on tinder, I changed my sexuality to bisexual, and from then on got literally nothing. Zero. Which was a real "oh fuck" moment... people are cool with you being bi but you are no longer good enough to be a partner. I’ve also recently ditched my job as an electrician and started studying to do mental health nursing, which I’m legit coming 3rd out of a cohort of 157 students in grades, which was awesome when I was straight, but now it feels like “oh yeah, you’re doing that cas ur gay”. I have always been considered loving, accepting of everyone, jovial and wild guy, life of the party, big time extrovert, and someone who would die on the sword for his mates no problem. This recent negative perception regarding my bisexuality has been destroying me though, and I am starting to become incredibly resentful, hateful, and angry, which is not at all who I am as a person (at least for the past 10 years, when I was a young teenager I was always trying to prove my masculinity, getting into fights). I have always been supportive and loved all my brothers, sisters and non-conforming in the LGBTIQ+, now I’m showing some incredulous hatred towards effeminate men (this was never me in the past, and have had some great mates that were super flamboyant gay). Like a real sorta “because you get to be you, I can’t be me, and society treats me like this because of you”. Like its total bull shit and I know it’s wrong, but it’s how I feel when I'm worked up. I’ve started self-harming in fits of rage, beating myself senseless with my fists. I had a mate who is also bisexual make an off the cuff remark about me at a party saying how I bottom sometimes, which is no one’s fucking business (and lmaooo, I bet you can imagine how someone who is experiencing such distress about his masculinity feels about himself liking anal and prostate stimulation), and I felt like it was this super lame attempt to show his masculinity because he’s a top or some totally ridiculous shit, and he knows I don’t like people knowing that purely because of the stereotype that comes with it. I sternly warned him to never do that again, and begrudgingly let it go, but that moment has been like poison, and I’ve been having intense fantasies of how I should have beat the shit out of him, and going over it and over it and over it. Finally the other night, I went over to this absolutely gorgeous girls house who is totally cool about my sexuality, she is such an absolute babe and funny as hell, has been asking me to come hang out for over a month and is so into me, and I completely blew it. Though I use to get around a lot between 17 and 25, the past 2 years I’ve had like 2 one night stand and that is it due to a pretty rough break up. In that time I’ve been on grindr a lot (never hooking up, just kink chatting), and watched the majority of gay/trans porn. My past couple of relationships with women haven’t weren't the best, and was broken up with when I came out as bi because she "couldn't see me as sexually attractive anymore", so I know due to my own insecurity and feeling like I’ll get rejected, I’ve really used Grindr and gay/bi porn for instant gratification and as a cop-out from searching for a meaningful relationship (because again, with guys it’s purely sexual, with girls romantic. I actually don’t even like guys physicality that much, just like that dick, yeet). The end of the night came and we’ve been cuddling, and her, cute as hell, beautiful giant milky tiddies pressing into me as she cuddles me, invites me into her room and to stay the night. I have been stressed as hell regarding my sexuality and was just high strung… I was in my head about needing to perform, but yeah, I just could not get a boner. Had one when we were on the couch together, but yeah when it came to do the deed just nothing. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve just been watching gay porn ect, and have conditioned myself.. And I had the option to be like can we just cuddle I’m not feeling up for it, but was insecure about being insecure, felt like I needed to prove myself and she wouldn’t want to see me again if I didn’t, so just this awkward fucking eternity of not being able to get hard… she was super nice about it but it has destroyed me. I left when she fell asleep, as I was just staring into the god damn void which was the blackness of the ceiling. Being with someone like her, its like everything I’ve hoped for, but have I broken myself? I’ve never had this happen when sober.. (I was completely sober). I snapped when I left her house, and have beaten the absolutely hell out of myself, bashed my head in with a block of timber, can’t see out of one eye due to it being that swolen, I saw these random dudes on the street at 3am who I started screaming at insanely trying to instigate a fight, calling them faggots when they didn't comply (my go to word it seems lately when im angry to put myself down), drove home in a rage clocking 170kmph at some points screaming at the top of my lungs. Straight up if I owned a gun I would have with no hesitation offed myself when I got home. I tried desperately to find my old anti-depressants that I could mix with sleeping tablets and booze so I could just go to sleep, stop my heart and never wake up, but I just didn’t have enough. But yeah that is my tragic tale, and I have no idea what to do. I need to learn to love myself for being bi, but I’m a very rational guy, and I can’t think of one thing positive about being a bi male as compared to the tidal wave of negatives that come with the territory, so I feel like to accept and love myself for it means to be delusional and accept false truths. I love and want to help people, but I’m becoming violent and angry, and undeservingly holding hatred, contempt and resentment for my fellow LGBT homies for being them-fucking-selves, which breaks my heart. I feel like even though I’m going to make a great psych nurse, how hypocritical of myself and how the hell can I hope to help people when I’m this bloody out of sorts. I feel like because of how insecure I am, and how I’m putting the pussy on a pedestal, I am not going to be able to fucking perform, and probably have blown my chance with a one off chick who adores all parts of myself. Have I broken myself and can’t perform with women now. Sorry for the absolute essay, and the complicated multitude of problems, but this has been a problem that has been building up for years, and I’m kind of at breaking point. I’m trying to organise to see my psychologist from way back, but it’s hard during Covid, and I feel uncomfortable doing online psych meetings. Any advice is appreciated/similar experiences/obstacles you have had to overcome. Sorry if I’ve come across as a brute, I’m really the opposite, I’m just having a really, really hard time. Peace, much love, and take care of yourselves.
Book 1 of The HEL Jumper Book 2 of The HEL Jumper ----- Previous | First | Next | Patreon Thanks to Tulip, Big_Papa_Dakky, Mr_Polygon, txgunman65, Darth Android, Mamish, Vikairious, Sam Berry, ClarityAndVision, RedHawkdude, KillTech, LilLaussa, Daddy Talon, Gruecifer, Gaelan Darkwater, and 34 others currently supporting me . ----- Bonus Art! ----- “Thank you for joining us this evening. I appreciate it,” Antoth spoke to Alice as the two of them sat around Ratha’s small table with bowls of stew. “Oh don’t act like it’s such a sacrifice. Her brother’s the one I want to knife,” Ratha snarked, sitting between them. “And yet your knives and arrows never find him unless he’s armored,” Antoth murmured pointedly as Alice coughed. “Please forgive my mate for her empty threats, Alice. Being with cub has changed her.” “You’re damn right it has! Sometimes you seem to forget that it’s your seed that grows in my belly,” Ratha leered. “Enough!” Antoth raised his voice to head off what was, in Alice’s opinion, a partially justified tirade on Ratha’s part. “We are here so that she can explain to us what will happen tonight when the shuttle arrives. Alice, please.” “Thank you for your hospitality, Ratha,” Alice began politely. The Huntress’ stern facial expression did not shift an iota, but she did flare her feathers curtly. “Antoth, I believe that my people can aid yours through an understanding of the Cauthan body and the development of a standardized practice of healing and medicine for your people. I hope to introduce two of my colleagues to you soon. With your permission I believe they can assist greatly in this matter. And I can assure you that Io and Russell will be present at all times while aboard the Event Horizon to oversee our interactions with your people.” “And why do you need Veera and Xan?” Antoth pressed, a patient frown on his face. Alice nodded as she swallowed a spoonful of stew. “I cannot learn about what I cannot observe.” “You can gut the mutt for all I care, but if you touch a feather on Xan’s head I’ll skin you alive,” Ratha hissed. “Ratha!” Antoth roared, pounding his fist into the table. “You were not there aboard that ship. You did not see what I saw. You do not understand the power that spirit Io possesses and the respect afforded to Winters. You did not see how terrifyingly incredible humanity is; and if you value our own lives or the life of our cub you will cease your needless provocations! Alice,” Antoth transitioned back to the human who looked truly uncomfortable. Ratha remained silent. “You will not be harmed so long as I am High Priest. You trusted us in leaving Private MacGregor at his post to meet with us tonight, and I will afford you whatever trust I think is prudent in turn. So please help me understand better why I should allow two of my own to be swallowed up by that metallic beast.” Alice nodded quietly, deciding that the ‘smallpox method’ would likely be far less effective on Antoth. She opted for a broader picture instead. “You saved my brother’s life, Antoth. My people dragged ourselves from subsistence to the stars over hundreds and thousands of years. To the extent possible I wish to confer those gifts to your people within a single lifetime, starting with better care of your bodies.” “What’s in it for you?” Ratha demanded, narrowing her eyes in search of deception. “And hold your tongue, oh mate of mine. I deserve this answer.” “Of course, Ratha. Pure benevolence is quite rare among humans too. You seemed to have snared the exception to the rule in Antoth,” Alice ventured, her chest tightening as she prepared for the very real possibility of having her abdominal cavity torn open by a hormonal Cauthan mother. To her immense relief, a smirk developed on Ratha’s muzzle. “Snared is the right word, human. Now answer me,” she insisted. Alice composed herself, sat straight, and replied. “I seek to gain reputation and notoriety among my people, to be recognized as one of humanity’s leading scholars. I want to repay a debt on behalf of my family to your village. Finally my brother, spirit Io, and I all have an interest in seeing your people raised up as humanity’s partner so we can prove that symbiotic uplift is possible; and to rub it in the face of every Ghaelen we see,” Alice finished aggressively. Ratha cocked her head at the mention of Ghaelen, but Antoth chuckled deeply. “Satisfied, Ratha? She, her family, and her species all have something to gain.” “Just make sure the trade is equal,” Ratha insisted as her cooking fire popped and sparked in the enclosed space. “You are welcome to come aboard whenever you like,” Alice extended the invitation. “And I would be happy to report my progress to you directly.” “I will…do so if necessary,” Antoth replied, a hint of uneasiness creeping into his voice as his stomach recalled the shuttle ride to the Event Horizon. “Thantis should receive your direct reports. Now my understanding is that you do not have an indefinite time before you must depart. Let us finish our meal in the spirit of cooperation. Would your friend like to join us?” Antoth offered. Alice shook her head, tucking her hair over her shoulder as she leaned in for another bite of some of the freshest stew she’d ever tasted. “He insisted he’d be fine tonight.” Ratha purred threateningly at his mention. “And I’ll make sure of that.” ----- “Are you certain, Lachlan?” Sentaura asked, busying herself around the cooking fire as Ursol did his level best to touch everything of Lachlan’s he could. Fortunately for the adults in the room, any ammunition or explosives not on the Marine’s person were locked away tightly. He checked the eyepiece on his helmet, tracking Pilot Cromwell’s descent. “If yer cookin’ is half as good as Veera’s I’ll sorely miss it, Sentaura,” he offered. “But my shuttle’s already on its way. We’ve got food aboard the ship and I wouldn’t want to impose on ya. Ye can probably tell I pack it away somethin’ fierce.” “It is still my duty to host you, human,” she insisted, her eyes sharp and focused. “You will not eat with us nor sleep under our roof tonight? If there is something not to your liking then-” “I beg yer pardon, fluffy lass. It’s nothin’ like that,” MacGregor said earnestly, his eyes widening as he realized he’s let slip such a colloquialism. “Excuse me? What is a ‘lass’?” Sentaura requested. “Ah, it's a common word in my native tongue for a young woman, such as yerself,” Lachlan hesitantly explained. “I meant no disrespect and I certainly meant none in leaving tonight. But Alice and her brother are stayin’ aboard tonight, so that’s where I should be too. I’ll leave that here for ya both,” he pointed to his bedroll. “Is there…something I can get for ya when I’m up there? We can make most anythin’.” The Marine felt something akin to ice water drip down his ribs and pool around his diaphragm. Sentaura’s feathers were shaking and her eyes had hardened. “I do not need your charity,” she hissed quietly, her ears turning slightly as a far-off rumbling could be heard in the sky above. “I believe that is your people, Lachlan. You should go.” Unwilling to protest or attempt to explain anything when there was a decent possibility of digging a deeper hole for himself, Lachlan nodded silently instead. The Marine gathered up his effects and weapons, patting the ever excitable Ursol on the head and letting the little one know that the new bed would be his for the night if he so wished. When the young Cauthan finally realized that Lachlan was leaving, he tottered after him and threw himself about the human’s leg. “You can’t go!” He insisted with urgency. “You no come back!” Sentaura looked miserably ready to scold her boy but Lachlan knelt on the floor, rubbing the cub’s head. “I’m not goin’ into that spooky forest, young laddie. I’m going back up to the sky, where my people are. It’s safe there, and I’ll be back to pick ya up from school on the morrow. But I want you ta have this when I’m gone,” the Marine insisted, reaching for his throat and grabbing the narrow, metal chain that rested there. He removed his helmet and then his tags, handing the latter to Ursol. “What’s this?” Ursol asked curiously. “That’s a very important thing, you’ve got there. So long as ye keep that safe, I have ta come back to ya. It’s against the rules for me ta leave without ‘em. Alright?” Lachlan tried to explain, not having the faintest idea whether or not Ursol would understand. The cub looked up at him before wearing the tags for himself. They came down to his waist. “I keep forever!” “Well, I’ll be needing them at some point-” “Forever!” Ursol insisted. Lachlan took a moment to collect himself before smiling down at the cub. He nodded once to him and then to his mother. “As you say, wee laddie. I’ll be back tomorrow. Selah, Sentaura.” “Selah,” she whispered only when she could no longer hear the sound of his boots. ----- “Mac, you alright?” Alice demanded as he approached the western gate. Xan, Veera, and Winters were already there, the latter armed and armored for the trip. She was thankful he'd procured a leash and harness for Fenrir, who also seemed to be coming along. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just thinkin’ I might need a bit of a crash course in xenoanthropology. Managed ta upset both the boy and his mum in the span of a minute.” “What did you do?!” Alice hissed quietly as the sound of the shuttle touching down afforded them a moment of privacy. “Nothin’!” He insisted. “Well at least it didn’t seem like anythin’! I just said I had ta go back up to the ship with the lot of ye and then she’s all terse about how I’m rejectin’ her hospitality. Then of course the little guy thought I wouldn’t be comin’ back.” “Nothing else?” Alice wondered, her tone making it clear there had to be something. “I asked if Sentaura needed anything from the Event Horizon?” “Well there’s your problem!” Alice chuckled, throwing an arm around his broad shoulders and walking him over to Brick. Cromwell was in the process of opening the main doors for them. “You insulted her pride. Don’t need to be a xenophile like me to understand that, just good with women!” “Do I look like a man who’s good with the lasses, much less fluffy lasses who also happen ta be mums?” Lachlan demanded, nodding to Russell as he hauled himself aboard the shuttle. Alice seated herself next to him as Cromwell began conversing with the Jumper, Veera, and Xan. Fenrir was a point of some contention. “I don’t see why you shouldn’t be, Lachlan.” ----- “Good to see you again Lieutenant. You as well, Veera. Are you coming aboard too, young man? What about the wolf cat thing?” Cromwell asked, guessing at Xan’s sex given her introductory conversations with both Antoth and Veera. “Pilot Elizabeth Cromwell at your service.” “My name’s Xan…just Xan,” the Cauthan replied. “That's a hyrven. What’s a pilot?” “I get to fly that thing,” Cromwell boasted, throwing a thumb over her shoulder. “I don’t mean to intrude, but the Admiral wants a report on who or what is coming up with each trip. Do you have anything interesting in the basket there, Veera? Doubt it would be more interesting than a wild animal in any case.” “He's quite well behaved, thank you. Otherwise it’s just food for myself, Fenrir, and Xan, some dried meat and vegetables,” she explained. “I’ll let him know. Need any help there, Xan?” Cromwell asked. “I’m fine,” he said tersely. “So how do you get that much metal to fly?” “Do you want the short answer or the long answer?” “How should I know?” Xan retorted, placing his cane on the floor of the shuttle and lifting his injured leg. Anyone watching him would be able to conclude the effort was painful, but he managed unassisted. “Damn that feels real great. How about the short answer?” He decided, taking a seat next to Alice who looked more than eager to show him around the system of straps and buckles. Upon seeing Xan enter the shuttle, Fenrir did the same. He protested noisily at first thanks to the feeling of metal against his paws, but Xan soon had him calm again and the pilot feeling safe enough to re-enter her own shuttle. “Looks like a zoo in here now. Short answer, Xan? You push, real hard,” Cromwell told him, smirking behind her helmet’s visor. He chuckled. “I guess you’d better push something fierce if we’re going to Kel’s domain.” “Oh don’t worry Xan, I do,” Cromwell assured him before heading for the cockpit. Alice called after her. “No flirting with my patients, Pilot!” “No need to project, Alice!” Cromwell sniped back, her British accent thick with humor. “I’ve done nothing of the sort!” The xenobiologist insisted adamantly as Xan suddenly found himself caught between two human females. It was a relief when Winters sat next to him and took a firm hold of Fenrir's harness. “Before you say anything, I’m fine,” Xan told him. Russell removed his helmet and cocked a brow at him. “There are three women in here who clearly have the whole doting on you thing covered. I want to know if you’re ready to rumble,” the Jumper replied. “Of course I- woah!” Xan yelped, gripping his own restraints tightly as Cromwell began the process of ‘pushing’ them back to the Event Horizon. “Haha! Welcome to the twenty-first century, Xan!” Russell exclaimed, earning a roll of his sister’s eyes. As soon as they began their ascent, Cromwell hailed them from the cockpit. “Alice? The Admiral’s on the line.” “Sure thing,” she acknowledged as Cromwell patched the call through. Natori’s beaming face could be seen on the screen in the main cabin. “Hello? Alice? There seems to be quite a bit of fur, armor, and feathers in the way. Perhaps we should redesign the grizzly class’ interior? Who figured putting the communications panel on the same side as all of the seats was a good idea? And is that some sort of twin tailed leopard?” “Uh…we designed the shuttle?” Alice suggested, leaning forward, turning to her left, and waving at the screen. Natori was stroking his chin thoughtfully. “Yes, I suppose we did. Excellent design if you plan to shoot at something outside. I digress. How are you, Alice? Based on your messages it sounds like we’re about to embark on quite the journey of discovery! I've set aside one of the basic spectroscopy machines for you.” “I’m well, Natori. And thank you.” “Ah, hello to you as well Veera, Lieutenant, Private. And I don’t believe we’ve been introduced yet. You must be Xan,” Kaczynski deduced, glancing quickly at the missive Alice had sent earlier in the day detailing who would be returning on the evening shuttle. “Try not to be a little punk? That guy’s our equivalent of Antoth,” Russell advised out of the corner of his mouth. “Yeah, they’re even the same color,” Xan agreed before addressing the Admiral. “I’m Xan, apprentice priest of Kel.” “And I am Admiral Natori Kaczynski of Beta Division. It’s a pleasure,” he said politely as the shuttle climbed into the upper atmosphere. “Now before we engage in too many pleasantries I would like to inform you all of some changes aboard the Event Horizon in anticipation of your arrival. Lieutenant, if you please?” Russell saw that his armor had received a message via the shuttle’s communications network, prompting Io to activate the B-MASS’ projector. A model of the Event Horizon spun slowly before them, captivating Xan’s gaze as it zoomed in on the bow portion of the ship. "In preparation for an ongoing Cauthan presence aboard the vessel, a handful of crew and passengers were relocated away from hull divisions one and two. With the help of whatever computational capacity Io left behind-” ‘Oh do not sound so much like a lost puppy, Admiral. I’m on my way back now,’ the AI assured him with a confident smile. “And I look forward to spending some time with you,” the Admiral declared unabashedly before redirecting their attention to the Event Horizon. A thin corridor of crew berths, labs, and hallways were glowing brighter than the rest. On one side they connected to hangar A-1 with its specialized sterilization equipment. On the other, to a hangar in section C-2. “As you can see, we have managed to create a partially isolated environment within the Event Horizon. Lieutenant Winters, while you appear to be in fine health and there were no adverse consequences from our brief diplomatic meeting a couple days ago, I have deemed it necessary to more thoroughly examine whether Mara holds any dangers for humanity by way of pathogens, foodborne toxins, etc. The same is equally true in the reverse. I appreciate your bravery, Xan and Veera, and I have taken every possible step to ensure that you are protected while on my ship. As you can all see, should you wish to access the rest of the ship you will simply have to proceed through the facilities adjacent to hangar A-1 for decontamination. Alice, please make this process’ suitability for Cauthan anatomy a priority of your research.” “I will, sir. Thank you for all of this effort. I’m sorry to have inconvenienced some of the crew,” Alice responded graciously. “You know well enough that we’re far from capacity. It was no problem,” Kaczynski insisted with a wave. “If anything, the crew was upset they wouldn’t be able to see Cauthan in person! But I believe that with all threat of conflict abated; we must proceed with caution and deliberacy. Is he potty trained?” The Admiral pointed at Fenrir. “Man, he enjoys his big words,” Xan muttered. "And no, Fenrir pretty much does his business wherever he wants near as I can tell." “And I would be happy to continue to confuse you if it so pleases,” Natori didn’t miss a beat. "Why did you decide to bring a pet aboard, Alice? I doubt he's for study?" "Without Xan, myself, or Veera around we aren't sure about his behavior, sir. He is a wild animal, but has been raised within the village since infancy. I'll take full responsibility," Russell cut in. Natori nodded. "I would be more comfortable with a muzzle, but I cannot deny the thrill. How old is he? Nevermind, I'm getting distracted. Alice, you and Private MacGregor have been given single cabins within the…" Natori paused and briefly licked his upper lip. "Cauthan zone. Quarantine sounds so…diseased. Lieutenant, given your rather unprecedented change in marital status, I have allocated a double cabin for you and Veera." Russell looked at his wife briefly and back to Kaczynski. "Thank you, sir." "Thank you very much," Veera followed suit, picking up on the fact that perhaps she and he had been given something special. Natori waved it off. "But of course! It seemed prudent given the fact that we are effectively stuck here until we determine the exact nature of whatever is affecting the warp point of this system. Xan, if you are to be a regular guest on my ship there are a handful of empty berths you may choose from." "Oh…thanks," Xan replied, far too focused on the odd weightlessness affecting his body than on anything the human on screen was saying. Cromwell had just killed the main thrusters for their approach and Fenrir was getting agitated. "Easy now boy, easy," Winters encouraged, taking the oversized 'dog' into his arms with ease thanks to the lack of gravity. The hyrven growled and whined but didn't try to escape. "I can see it might be best to leave anything further for once you're safely aboard," Natori said. "I shall be by tomorrow morning before the shuttle launch at a minimum. Lieutenant?" "Yes sir?" Winters replied cautiously, running his gloved hand over Fenrir's fur. "While I'm sure that Io will insist on being your personal caretaker given the nature of our facilities, I would like you to introduce yourself to the ship's chief physician and psychologist. Nothing serious, just to put faces to names before your official examinations and debrief. As I said previously, we are on a flexible timetable but protocol is protocol." "Understood," Winters nodded, knowing he didn't have a choice. Natori's brows rose at his complacent attitude, but he said nothing further on the subject. "Very well. Should there be any concerns don't hesitate to hail the bridge via the ship's VI system. To our guests, welcome." Alice could have sworn Natori was timing it, as he delivered his parting words precisely as the shuttle slipped past the forcefield separating hangar C-2 from the vacuum of space. Cromwell advised them all to remain seated, and with a gentle bump the craft finally landed. "Don't push it too hard, Xan," Russell advised. "Oh come on, not you too," the Cauthan groaned, making every effort to hide the vortex of excitement and dread that swirled in his chest. His danger sense was alight. To his surprise, Russell burst into laughter as Alice and MacGregor unbuckled their restraints and secured what little gear they'd brought with them. "No I mean literally don't push too hard. Gravity is still pretty low in this part of the ship. You'll hit your head." "I don't know what you're talking abou- whoa whoa whoa!" Xan yelped, finding that even in a crippled state the typical force he'd use to stand from a chair was enough to propel him out of the seat and towards the roof of the shuttle. Both Winters children were ready for that eventuality, taking him softly by the arm or hand and ensuring he landed safely. "What in Kel's name did you do to me?" "We did nothing, Xan. When we get to the core of the ship it will feel just like being back on Mara. I'll do my best to explain gravity to you but now's probably not the best time," Alice advised as Russell did his best to keep Fenrir calm and aid Veera in adapting to the low gravity environment. "Your feathers look great," he told her quietly, taking her hand and using gentle force to convey a sense of the strength necessary to move her body towards the hangar door and the corridors beyond. She smiled nervously, but was happy to take an opportunity to snuggle up to him in public. At the base of the shuttle he took a couple hops with her. "Think you can make it the rest of the way? Cromwell probably isn't coming out until Fenrir's at a safe distance." "I can't blame her," Veera agreed, knowing how most any Cauthan would regard a maturing hyrven. "I think I'm getting a hang of this now." "Knew you would," he responded with pride. "Wait for me at those doors over there, the ones with the green light above them. I'll just be a moment." "I'm glad you're feeling better," Veera whispered, just for him. He kissed her quickly. "You're not in danger." "I know it wasn't just that, darling." "That was a lot of it," the Jumper insisted before motioning back to the shuttle. "But look…that's a lot of change in a day." As Russell bounded gracefully back to the craft for Fenrir, his armor light and unobtrusive thanks to the hangar's distance from the ship's core, Veera watched as MacGregor and Cromwell disembarked with ease. Fenrir tried to scamper off and propelled himself into an awkward tumble instead, leading her husband on a merry chase through the expansive, metal chamber. Veera's focus lingered on Xan and Alice, however, with the female human taking over escorting the Cauthan apprentice as her brother found himself occupied. "I thought there would be more humans," Xan spoke, looking around and finding plenty of metal and odd lights, piping and cables, but no other humans. Another shuttle could be seen off to his left, but it was immobile. "Where is the one we were speaking to?" "Here," Alice offered, bidding him to relax while she fiddled with the device on her wrist. The same projection they'd seen on the way up appeared, and Alice managed to highlight the hangar. "We're in this space here. Admiral Kaczynski governs the ship from here," she pointed to the bridge back in the belly of the ship's other half. Xan's expression tightened. "You mean…all this metal is…that little thing?" He demanded quietly. "Yes," Alice affirmed simply, stepping aside as Xan developed a long stare in his eyes and began to wander off towards the forcefield. She caught her brother's gaze and made a silent hand gesture. I'll handle it, she mouthed, shooing him and Veera away so that they could settle in and hopefully begin the long process of reintegration into modern living. Cromwell had already departed for the long walk to hangar A-1 and Lachlan had followed, explaining briefly to Veera that he intended to make a report to the Admiral and asking her to pass the message along. That left Alice to comfortably stroll along at a safe distance behind Xan as the Cauthan inexorably approached the window into the vacuum of space. "By Kel's name and all that's sacred," Xan muttered with barely concealed dread, unable to tear his eyes away from the growing maw of darkness. The bright lights of the hangar overwhelmed most of the natural starlight, rendering the scene in quite dire terms from the young Cauthan's perspective. The sounds of bone cane and talons clicking on metal were the only thing he could hear over some unearthly, mechanical humming. His head felt light. "Hey, I gotcha," Alice assured him quietly as he stumbled. To Xan, all that registered was that a relatively soft body had stabilized him. Kel was calling out, and the unnatural urge to jump was setting every primitive portion of his mind on fear-based overdrive. He was floating in the black. To do so while still alive was nothing short of sacrilege. "Xan? Hey, you alright?" "What's…what in Kel's name is…" Xan wasn't sure if Alice's touch would have prompted him to turn around and head back towards the interior of the well-lit ship, but something else now demanded his attention. The smallest hint of white and blue could be seen peeking up from the lip of the hangar bay, and with every step he could see more. He pushed off his cane and moved forward, seeing the ice caps and oceans of Mara's northern hemisphere. Another step revealed the beginnings of greenery, shrouded by dusk. There were browns too, and maybe a bit of red. The little orb was just hanging there, suspended in Kel's domain. "Xan? Xan!" Alice whispered, watching with increasing concern as his feathers and scales began to shake violently. She could hear his breathing, ragged and forced. His pupils were wide and fearful. "Xan, it's ok!" The young death priest felt like he was drowning, swimming slowly through the black outside. He didn't want to believe, but what else could he conclude? Thantis would surely arrive at the same answer. He was looking down at his home, his entire world, small enough to frame between his hands. Fear gripped his heart, the kind of fear he'd only ever felt once before, the night he'd faced Kel. "Xan. Xan, you're hurting-" A high pitched cry of pain suddenly jerked Xan back to the then and there. His chest was heaving and he felt as though he'd run a lap around the village with his bad leg. To his right he saw Alice's visage wincing and contorted in pain. Looking down, it became clear that he was to blame. "I-I'm so sorry, Alice!" "I always knew these jumpsuits were crap!" She gasped, reaching down and removing his paw gently from her left forearm. In his panic he had deployed his claws, piercing her clothing and flesh as the nature of his world had been dumped upon him. Crimson blood dripped slowly to the floor of the hangar. "Alice! You're bleeding!" He yelped, terrified of what might happen to him; and her to a lesser extent. "I know just, be quiet a moment please," she commanded, activating the comm link between the A-MACS on her wrist and the ship. "Io, are you there? We've had a bit of a contamination incident in the hangar. Also I might need a tourniquet; he got in there pretty deep." "I didn't mean-" "I know, but please! I'd rather not bleed out right now, or ever. Io, Xan had a bit of a moment and his claws punctured the skin of my forearm. I'm applying pressure now but I need to know where the nearest medical bay is." 'I suppose the why can come later?' Io sighed dramatically. 'This way, please. Move swiftly but not rapidly enough to elevate your heart rate. The Admiral did ensure that one of the clinics would be available to the quarantine zone. Oh, and apply pressure and elevation.' "Yeah, I've got it," Alice replied, holding up her left arm up and tilting her head to review the map on her wrist. She made haste to the corridors beyond the hangar. With the low gravity lessening the burden she was soon at the doors as Xan hobbled after her faster than he'd ever pushed his body to move since his injury. "Xan just take your time. You can't do anything anyway!" She called behind her. "Io, make sure he gets somewhere safe?" 'Of course, Alice. I can see the panic on your face, but I would advise you to remain calm. Veera has clawed your brother a handful of times and there have never been adverse reactions after routine sterilization and treatment. Maran life is based on xDNA, as I’m sure you reviewed last evening. Any viruses will be unable to infect you.' "I know, I know and I can't wait for Gerard to take a crack at it but there could still be macrophages or parasites, or my artery could be nicked!" Fortunately for Alice, the sections of the ship available to her were more or less linear. The only way to go was deeper into the ship. That and Io had apparently found a new toy. "Are you allowed to be using the motorized gurneys?" 'You ask a lot of questions for a woman concerned about bleeding out. And it's not my fault every device on this ship is networked. Now hop on, Alice. I've always wanted to be a valiant steed. Probably best to avoid the tubes. To the elevators, away!' Io declared, garbed fully in medieval armor as Alice sat herself on the four-wheeled, motorized hospital bed and was whisked away into the belly of the ship. Behind her, Xan was left despondent and alone until Io's disembodied voice called out to him from somewhere above. 'Xan, please follow the blinking green lights. I will take you to where Alice is going. Thank you.' ----- By the time Xan arrived at the clinic, having already passed dozens of innovations, contraptions, and sights that should have made his head spin, Alice was already being bandaged up by a mechanical arm hanging from the ceiling of the room. It was a small area, intended for wellness visits and minor, lab-related injuries that did not merit transit to either the main civilian medical center in section 4, or the military one in section 9. The space was well lit, had almost full gravity, and was an assault on Xan’s senses; from the unnaturally smooth floor, to the blinking lights and panels, to the shelves and drawers stacked full of tools and objects whose purpose he could only begin to guess at. Alice gave the Cauthan a quick wave, one that was immediately mimicked by the hinged arm. Io's face could be seen on a control terminal adjacent to the multi-tool that formed the ‘operating end’ of the mechanical doctor. It was constantly moving back and forth between Alice and a small, standardized set of shelves full of medical implements packaged in such a way that the arm could make use of them if no human professionals were in the immediate area. Xan remained silent as the two women talked. "So no major damage?" Alice requested with concern. 'The wound was deep considering the location and your thin frame, but it missed the arteries and major ligaments,' Io reported professionally, having changed yet again and styled her hair up in her customary bun. 'Do your best to avoid heavily lifting or stress for a few weeks. If you do experience any numbness, pain, or tingling please notify your primary care AI immediately…that would be me.’ "But of course!" Alice laughed, flexing her fingers and resting her right hand atop the large bandage Io had wrapped around her left arm. "So you said my brother also got on the wrong end of Cauthan claws?" 'And teeth if I recall correctly. It was quite the…passionate experience for both of them,' Io remarked slyly. "Not taking that bait...yet," Alice insisted. "But before my bullheaded brother comes charging in here, get him to the military med bay and make sure a full antibody panel is run in addition to whatever else they do. Check for everything, and if something new or unique shows up, get it synthesized. Even if I'm fine after this you never know if we might need something like that later for one of the Cauthan or other crew. Ah…we can do that right?" Alice paused, considering that even aboard the Event Horizon some things might not be possible. 'Yes, Alice. That should be a minor inconvenience at worst given the tools available,' Io assured her, placing a hand on her temple. 'Oh my, yes what a wonderful blood lab. Thank you, Admiral.' "I was wondering when you'd let me join in. Alice, status?" He demanded. "I'm fine now, Admiral. Will the two of you please ensure that Veera and Fenrir are alright and that my brother knows I'm in no danger? He'd probably do something stupid and or kill Xan. I would at least like to study him first…that was a joke by the way," Alice clarified, seeing the distressed look on the Cauthan’s face. "Oh, Lachlan should be by soon with a report and Pilot Cromwell handled the hyrven situation splendidly. I’m sure he’ll be on the next shuttle down. Veera didn’t bring enough food for all three of them." Natori's deep laughter came over the speakers in the room, and he squeezed in next to Io on the arm's monitor. Alice was sure the two of them were already hamming it up on the bridge. "You are certainly your father's daughter, Miss Winters. It will be done as you…dare I say command? I suspect you'll need some time to get settled, but once you and your guest have come to an arrangement regarding ongoing relations and accommodations I would like to be made aware. I shall have to inform Qul'Roth as well. Best not to keep Ghaelen guessing, you know?" "Of course, Admiral. Xan and I need to have a discussion first though. I think he probably has a few questions for me regarding the Overview effect." "Hmm, I suppose hangar C-2 was oriented correctly for a view of the planet…" "Admiral, he's here now. I should go." "Oh yes yes, of course!" Natori replied cheerfully in his seemingly scatterbrained but ever astute manner. "Io, will you be remaining with me?" 'Only if you're willing to take the risk that my Jumper does something stupid on his way to your medical facilities. He's doing much better today but you never know what might set him off. Running through the crew rosters I can think of four individuals who might actively try that at some point. My money's not on Lipper and I am very much a betting woman,' Io assured them all with a sultry lilt. Alice hoped it was on account of betting and not the idea of her brother getting into an honor match against Lipper's squad. She liked them on the whole, but blood was thicker than water. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Beta Jumpers might feel the need to prove themselves to an original from Omega. "Admiral, you can play with Io later. Io, take care of my brother and get yourself up to speed with the molecular synthesis equipment and the various labs aboard, if you please. We will need you to assist us with all sorts of examinations and experiments going forward should I acquire the necessary consent from our lovely partners." 'I await with anticipation. Goodbye Alice. It was my pleasure to take an intimate scan of your forearm.' Io promptly disappeared, leaving Natori’s image looking at Alice with a bemused expression. "Isn't she wonderful?" He gushed. "Don't you have a ship to run?" Alice countered lightly as she hopped off the gurney. "Well yes, I suppose I do. Feel better Alice, and do not hesitate to call for any of us. I hope to announce your progress to the rest of the crew sometime soon. Farewell." Xan was left standing in the doorway of the strange room, having been forced to reevaluate his opinion of Alice given that she'd just commanded Io, her brother, and even Natori as though she were a soldier herself. "Guess it's a good thing I wore a tank top under this thing instead of anything with sleeves. I'd never have forgiven you if you'd ripped the clothes I brought from Sol," she ‘warned’ him with a smile. Xan opened his mouth but no words came out. What could he even say? Alice frowned with concern. "Hey, it's fine, alright? Io took a peek in there, ultrasound, tiny cameras, everything. You didn't kill me, and I still have full use of my hand and arm. We'll just have to see if I'm infected by anything later." "Like the smallpox?!" Xan blurted, looking ready to descend into another panic attack. Alice couldn't help herself, striding forward and taking the completely inundated Cauthan into a hug, the type that she and her brother often shared when the burdens of life became onerous. "No Xan, not like the smallpox. If my brother has been with your people, eaten your food, gotten wounded, and survived for a year I'm sure I'll be fine. This is just an abundance of caution paired with an experiment. You're overwhelmed, aren't you?" "I'm not!" He insisted, standing stiffly as his chin rested just above her shoulder. They were almost the same height. "You don't have to be like this around me," Alice whispered. "I just want us both to learn, and I'm so sorry for just dropping you into this without any explanation. I should have waited a few days, explained about Mara and space. Forgive me?" She requested, pulling back and giving him the courtesy of looking into his eyes. "Why are you asking me? I'm the one who hurt you," he muttered. "Because I forced you to confront the fact that the nature of existence is so different from what you understand that you had a panic attack." Xan turned his head away. "Stop treating me like a cub." "Oh please, if you were a cub I'd be hugging and kissing and snuggling your incredibly cute fluffiness," Alice informed him with express sincerity. "So how about we stick to learning and knowledge, Xan?" "What in Seil's name could I possibly hope to teach you? Your people are demigods, even if you bleed. Last thing I need is another tutor, even a divine one." "You're going to make me blush, Xan. But I'll tell you what. Why don't you focus on what's important for you and your people, and let me worry about what's important for me and my people, alright?" The Cauthan sighed, remembering the colorful orb hanging in the darkness. "Yeah…yeah alright. I have a lot of questions." "And I hope to have all the answers, but how about we go find you a place to sit down and settle in. A clinic is no place for this kind of talk." Alice was just about to lead Xan out of the room when a pair of hurried footfalls reached their ears and an unmistakable voice called out in the corridors. "Alice? Ma chère, is that you?" Alice slipped past Xan into the hallway, her face lighting up. "Yvonne!" ----- Previous | First | Next ----- Own The HEL Jumper: Survive in the format of your choice: hardcover | paperback | epub | Amazon Kindle
The difference between betting on Esports vs. traditional sports; An esports psychologist is not a fix-all solution for a team’s lack of results. The work of these professionals helps teams and individuals reach their potential skill level despite the massive stresses of the playing on stage and extremely high expectations. “The only difference between a winner and loser is character.”--Nicholas Dandolos “The urge to gamble is so universal and its practice is so pleasurable, that I assume it must be evil.”--Heywood Broun “Sports Betting is all about money management, so the most money won on one bet is not the most important thing.”--Bruce Dern Forensic psychologist not an advocate for client and nothing is confidential. Wants and needs all information while it is not in the client’s best interest. Consulting with lawyers – help witnesses present testimony better, help attorneys present cases to jury and help with opening and closing statements Expert Witness – commitment to This might be a long answer to your question, and it is only my opinion, but it comes from having a carer in both these areas. Years ago when I was a registered Psychologist, I met a Life Coach - she was trained and very good at what she did. Actu... In these examples, the betting experience demands a higher involvement from the bettor, arguably resulting in a psychological transference between the active role of a bettor executing actions and
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