Cell authority maybe nyt crossword clue
A Proposal of Bio-weapon Theory
2023.06.06 16:09 PekDu A Proposal of Bio-weapon Theory
| || | submitted by PekDu to MorthamshireCountyARG [link] [comments]
I don't know what else to say, rather than to read the text below this. This proposal both serves as a suggestion for future investigators to use USSTRATCOM's CONPLAN 8888 document later on, and serves as a theory for the ARG.
There are some minor differences between the CONPLAN 8888 leaked in The Black Vault and the one in the Internet Archive. I'll put them here. FOIA16-041.pdf (theblackvault.com) CONPLAN 8888 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this proposal, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
A Proposal of Bio-weapon Theory
Written by u/PekDu
Completed in 6/6/2023, in 1:30 P.M (GMT) ____________ Sidenote:
The author would like to acknowledge the possibility of u/VintageKitsune
’s bio-weapon theory. Although their theory matches the events that occurred in Morthamshire, it failed to show the culprit behind the first OCS outbreak, and to find the practical reason for the outbreak in Morthamshire by assuming that Morthamshire is located in southeast England. Part I – Introductory
The author would like to denote that the current situation could be loosely based on CONPLAN 8888, written by USSTRATCOM. The document aims to help many to make proper decisions whilst assisting them with finding possible solutions based on the clues.
To summarise, CONPLAN 8888 was written to address types of zombie threats, and possible approaches. To our extent, the author would like to talk about pathogenic zombies (PZ). The definition of PZ is, according to the aforementioned document: “PZ's are zombie life forms created after an organism is infected by a virus or bacteria or some other form of contagion”. Part II – Argumentation of the introductory
The document also mentioned: “The viral pathogens that cause PZ's have some vulnerability to ultraviolet light. UV light impars the functions of rybo-nucleic acids (RNA) that comprise most viral life forms. At best, UV light can disrupt virus reproduction in healthy cells. It should be noted that PZ's may experience painful photo-sensitivity as a result of sunlight exposure. For this reason, PZ activity is not expected to be as high during bright sunny conditions as it is during the hours of darkness.” This suits well with the NHS PSA and their poster theme.
It is questionable that in the CONPLAN 8888 Operational Phasing table, it stated: “Conduct large scale training to demonstrate (...) ability to decisively target and negate zombie-creating pathogens, toxins or similar capabilities developed by nation states, large corporations to terrorist/ criminal groups.” Is Necogen responsible for creating the virus? If so, then why did Necogen involve with the quarantine of two rural villages? Why the WHO did not comment on the incident?
Another detail that is worth mentioning, which states: “(...) provide security to civilian areas, evacuation zones and assist other federal, state and tribal agencies with the surveillance of and enforcement of quarantine areas”. It could be that those pre-used building, which was used by the civilians, are now being repurposed into quarantine areas. Part III – Reasoning-based theory
In short, the following theory can be made by answering those questions. Necogen could be one of the government-owned companies that aimed to create the OCS virus, which can be used as a biohazard weapon against Iraq in 2004. As the tension is rising, they started testing the pathogen.
From the 90s to 2003, Iraq could be described as having a youth-dependent population. The birth rate is relatively high (shown by the wide base at the 0 – 4-year-old cohort). The birth rate remains steady and high.
As such, Necogen, or its affiliated company, started kidnapping children in Rosewell Estate as the test subject. To avoid suspicions, they moved those children to Phetchabun (PCB) to test the virus on them. As such, it seems that the virus works. After that, they let the virus spread to two villages in that province as a way of tricking the public mindset. At that time, there is not many clues, which was the reason that WHO did not comment on the incident.
In 2003, the Iraq war concreted the rising tension between UK and Iraq. It is possible that while transporting the vaccines to other intelligence services, or possibly MI6, there was an incident that left the plane to crash in Halesford. Because of the incident, everything was burnt for the documents not to be leaked.
After successfully transporting the virus, they began using that to attack Iraq. It could be expected that many settled Iraqi migrants in the UK moved because of the instability (that followed the 2003 invasion of Iraq). Despite having issued stringent immigration policies, many Iraqi find illegal ways to sneak into the UK. Nevertheless, the virus was released around late January to April of 2004 as a bio-weapon. As many migrants moved to London and southeast England, OCS could be infected at those two places.
Politically speaking, London would not be the first to be the OCS cluster. Thus, the role of being the nation’s disease hotspot was moved to the southeast regions. The rate of infection continues to be mushrooming, whilst the futile attempt to find the cure for OCS is putting more stress on NHS. This leads to many medical staffs holding strikes against the policies issued by the NHS, as they were pushing for higher pay, and better working conditions. Allegedly, this is the reason why Morthamshire got to the current situation.
2023.06.06 12:42 RegulusPratus New York Carnival 06 (Wherein an Arxur Discusses Mutton, Morality, and Hypothetical Bears)
Shorter chapter than my usual, but it felt weird to keep going after the second mic drop. I always find ending chapters a little tricky. Gotta find the right note to leave hanging in the air until next week. [First]
---------------------- Memory Transcription Subject: Ensign Sifal, Arxur Dominion Fleet Date [standardized human time]: October 18, 2136
“So I’m sorry,” I said, still chuckling to myself at this dumb-looking “sheep” creature, “let me make sure I understand this. Your main allies--which are, again, the fucking Venlil--they don’t just look like prey animals to you, they look specifically
like a prey animal you already regularly eat
? Is that correct?”
David shrugged, exhausted. “Technically they look like three
prey animals we already regularly eat. Goats and alpacas just aren’t as common in this part of the world.” He fiddled with his holopad, ready to show me some more entertaining images. The alpacas, in particular, had a long neck that made them look nearly as tall as a Venlil.
I couldn’t stop laughing, so David just shrugged and continued. “So yeah, the market for lamb--that’s specifically juvenile sheep--just hasn’t been the same since first contact.”
That little tidbit was just strange enough to get me to calm down and think it over. “So sheep look like Venlil,” I repeated, “and you’re allied with the Venlil, so… now the market demand for lamb is down?” I squinted, the gears turning in my skull. “Was that like… a term of the alliance, or…?”
David rubbed his chin as he squinted back at me. I took one more blind shot, hoping I’d guess it. “You’re trying to be polite to the Venlil? It’s a bit of magnanimous cultural sensitivity to grease the wheels of diplomacy?”
David didn’t change his pensive expression for a solid moment longer. I didn’t guess it
, I thought, bemused. He started fiddling with his holopad again, and showed me a short video montage of a very different animal this time. It was a large mammalian predator--bigger than I was, by a fair bit--with brown fur, forward-facing eyes, and a moderately prominent snout. Moderate compared to my maw, I should say. The video showed it in its natural habitat of forests and rivers, engaging in a mix of hunting, fishing, and foraging. Another omnivore, eh?
I thought. Its teeth were far more massive than a human’s, though, and while it was mostly quadrupedal, it could rear up on its hind legs to make use of claws that exceeded my own.
“This is a brown bear,” said David. “It’s non-sapient, but it’s one of the most dominant apex predators on the planet. Like, even for us
, fighting a bear is a grim prospect without a modern firearm.”
“They seem fun,” I said, already admiring the creature a bit.
David nodded. “Now, Sifal, I want you to imagine for a moment what the world might look like if this creature were
sapient. Okay? The Arxur found a forested planet full of sapient bears. Those are your new allies! They’re happy to join you on your hunting raids against the Federation, you’ve got one or two posted on your ship to learn the ropes from you guys, and everything’s going great.” David flipped to a new image of the same creature but smaller and rounder. “This is a juvenile brown bear. A cub. Look at his cute little ears! The engineer who’s apprenticing under you--her name’s Grawr, and she’s a quick learner--showed you this picture of her son back home. He’s just learning to hunt, and his mom’s very proud of him.” David flipped to one last image, to a creature that looked nearly the same, albeit with far smaller claws and side-facing eyes. I felt my stomach suddenly start to twist. “And this is the Zurulian you’re having for dinner,” David said. “Grawr finds it pretty uncomfortable, though. How do you
I looked at the Zurulian and my mouth watered. Of course it did. It was just my nature, after all: most species salivated reflexively to protect their throats before vomiting.
I doubled over and retched in disgust, clutching desperately at my left arm by the scar. I mustn’t waste food, I mustn’t waste food, I mustn’t
--I jolted back up with a shock, and nearly knocked David over with my maw as I frantically searched for what hidden attacker had touched me. But it was just David, with his hand on my shoulder and a look of concern on his face. Even the two scouts looked alarmed, frankly. Fucking… empathetic monkeys!
I growled mentally, but the tension was leaving my body. I breathed easier.
“You good?” asked David.
I nodded slowly, as I felt my heart slowly stop pounding. I kept breathing. “The Venlil. They’re your friends,” I said, and the word “friend” in my language suddenly had the awkward shape of a sound that had lost its meaning. Why do we Arxur even still have such a word?
I wondered idly. “You don’t feel comfortable eating animals that look too much like your friends.”
“Got it in three,” David said, smiling a little sadly.
“I had a good hint,” I said, most definitely not pouting.
David laughed. “Alright. Well, have some water, and enjoy the tuna tartare. I’m gonna let the stew simmer a bit longer, and see if I can’t fast-track the rack of lamb. You seem to prefer your meat on the rare side anyway.”
I looked at him as he walked back towards the kitchen, feeling… Prophet, what was
this? Worry? Concern? …Guilt? I was feeling something. “Look, if it bothers you, maybe I shouldn’t…”
David waved my concerns away. “It came from a lab, not a creature, and it’s just going to waste away in the freezer at this rate. Damn thing’s already dead; somebody should enjoy it.” He shook his head. “Besides, I’m a little morbidly curious--out of professional interest, and out of conscience--how much lamb tastes
like Venlil. You’re the only person I know who can settle that bet.”
I knew what he meant: he wanted me to try a Terran dish, and comment on how it compared to the taste of his friends, but…. I don’t know what possessed me, but I reached into my rations pouch, pulled out a dried chunk of orange-tinged meat, and held it out to David as an offering.
“Whoa! What the fuck!” the two scouts shouted on top of each other, angry and horrified in turns. But I think I was back to not giving a shit about them. I stared at David, holding the piece of Venlil jerky out, and he just… silently stared back.
The silence dragged on until the taller scout broke it. “Oh Jesus Christ, why are you thinking
about it?” he shouted at David.
“I think about lots of things,” said David, and the silence returned for an encore. Eventually, David spoke. “So… I don’t think I could ever cook a Venlil, any more than I could cook another human. And yes, I’m aware that lab-grown cell cultures, which can potentially be given consensually
, make this a far more complicated and weird ethical dilemma than it used to be. And if I caught another human making, or even in possession of, Venlil meat, I’d probably call the cops immediately.” David sighed. “This is literally the only scenario I wasn’t prepared for. Sapient meat is still normal in your culture, even if we wish it weren’t, and I have no authority or power to stop you from having it. It’s there, you’re offering it to me, and I can’t stop you. So now what do I do?” David rubbed his chin again, lost in thought. “I’m still mostly revolted, but there’s a tiny seed of, like… fear of missing out.”
At last, though, David shook his head. “Nah, there’s… frankly, there’s just too much ethical baggage for me. I’m sorry. I genuinely appreciate the offer, Sifal--I know food isn’t easy to come by for you--but I have to decline.”
I nodded respectfully, and put the piece of his friend back in my pouch.
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2023.06.06 08:39 dlschindler Shine Of Silver Swordsman
"Happiness comes from a perception of life. Life is a pursuit of singular moments, experiences and sacrifices. It is the limitations of this perception that make those moments possible. For such a limitation a sacrifice must be made, a sacrifice towards a perception of death."
Raanu was the boy who read these words out-loud to his mom and dad. He was in the hospital bed when he read aloud the last speech bubble in his comic book stack. He had read the entire series of Silver Swordsman, knew every adventure as though they were his own. His parents had denied him comic books, especially violent and strange ones like Silver Swordsman. They didn't understand the giant robots and mutants and suicidal immortals of the future. It was all very frightening and disturbing content and they had not let him have such stories.
That had changed when they discovered he had a rare malignancy in his heart that would result in his death within months. Raanu was not afraid. He told his parents that since he was going to die it would make sense to let him read comic books, even Silver Swordsman. In fact, it was the Silver Swordsman comics he was most interested in.
The stories began with the boy Raanu sitting by the water with his friend: a giant robot named Unit Three-Sixteen. Raanu was the youngest human on the planet, or one of the youngest. In the future everyone lived forever and it was rare for new people to be born. New people, children, were especially interesting and cared for by the other immortals. Thus, in a world attended by some mere hundreds of giant robots with super powers, Raanu was accompanied by his very own, personal giant robot.
He asked the robot about things like war and death, things that had become obsolete before the advent of the giant robots. In all of its wisdom it could do no more than define such things. Then people came to where Raanu and the giant robot were sitting. Across the water was a temple that controlled the flow of energy in their world. Energy generated by human emotions. As long as the world had existed in tranquility and harmony there was no pain or suffering of any kind.
Raanu and his giant robot watched as the people went into the temple and used its power to obliterate themselves. The lethean energies flowed outward and corrupted the giant robots. Only Unit Three-Sixteen was unaffected, because of its exact proximity when it all started. Unit Three-Sixteen was hit the hardest with the blast of awful energy and was knocked out by it and left with its emotitronics intact, more-or-less. The others of its race did not fare so well. The other empathicals rampaged and the horror escalated as they fed on the new and horrible energy from the humans.
It was Raanu who stood up to the machines and he died a hero. His sacrifice and courage activated Unit Three-Sixteen. The surviving humans made a weapon for the last of their defenders. Thus it became Silver Swordsman, as it did what had to be done. Of the entire giant race, only one remained, for that one had killed all of its own kind in defense of the humans. And for its efforts it became a symbol of oppression and destruction, as it now stood in place of all of its kind.
That was just the first issue of Silver Swordsman. His parents had originally confiscated it and forbade him to read any more. He was an obedient child and did not defy his mother or father. Even when his thoughts made him daydream of the story, he wished away his imaginings, and focused on schoolwork.
At night when his parents left the hospital he would lay awake and thank God he was dying. He no longer had to eat his vegetables, he no longer had to do any schoolwork and he got to read all of the Silver Swordsman comics. His parents hated the books he was reading but he loved them and so they allowed it.
As he dreamed: he went to the places he had seen in the stories. So vivid and full of color and detail. The amount of adventure and action was almost overwhelming. There were many passages with strange ideas in them, the thoughts and musings of the characters, so that he often had to ask his father what was meant.
At first, his father was very guarded about speculating on the meaning of the aggregate of concepts that the books frequently struggled with. Characters had very strange ideas about death, gratitude, love, time, regret, courage, justice, perseverance, immortality, healing, warfare and truth. In short, the heroes rejected the common understanding of all of these things and replaced them with strange new definitions.
Raanu's father, Mukherjee, was a philosophical man. On one hand he put his business first so that he could provide for his family. Otherwise, Mukherjee valued wisdom and understanding and was willing to ruminate to discover the truth about something.
He paid attention to his son's understanding of the characters and their world. In the context of the stories, everything they believed made perfect sense. To his son the characters appealed for a more careful perception of one's own life. To enter the world of Silver Swordsman was to realize that life is so precious and that the struggle to survive is what appraises the value of one's life.
After one hundred and thirty one issues the series ended. It ended with the last humans standing on the precipice of the universe in the path of an implacable force. Death was certain for the characters and Silver Swordsman. They had battled all throughout the stories against increasingly impossible adversaries. Then, as the quest neared completion, it was certain that all would be obliterated anyway, in the end.
It was confusing and scary and disturbing. The entire comic book series was, in fact, quite depressing. One by one the heroes all fell against enemies that could not be defeated. Even Silver Swordsman could barely stand against the villains and was usually beaten down rather than victorious.
Mukherjee asked the man at the comic book store about Silver Swordsman comics. What he was told made it all the more frightening. The reason the comics had ended was because the lead writer was now deceased. He was diagnosed with a rare malignancy in his heart and he had walked out into a cold Christmas night and sat down in the frost to die. This was all known to the guy at the comic book store, yet the comics themselves held a unique status among fans.
Silver Swordsman comics were already rare at the time they were published. Mukherjee had to pay a small fortune for the whole series. The comic book guy had asked him why he was so interested. He explained that these comics were an oddity. They were extremely violent and creepy and filled with strange ideas about how people should perceive their lives. Mukherjee looked at him and asked:
"Is all of that different from other comic books?" He asked.
"The opposite of other comic books. Of fiction, in-general, sir." The comic book guy explained carefully. "Comic books should make you happy, laugh, thrilled and make you want more. Silver Swordsman, isn't it just this guy's weird ideas? It deals heavily with suicide and he actually killed himself. I wouldn't let my kids read this stuff, I don't even want to read this stuff."
"My son is reading these books." Mukherjee said soberly. "They make him happy."
To this the man decided to respond professionally and to make no further comments. Another man in the comic book store walked over with Wonder Woman Volume Three. He knew Mukherjee's family and said:
"That man's son is Raanu and he is dying." The friend of Mukherjee said.
"Everyone who reads Silver Swordsman finds some personal connection to it." The comic book guy recalled.
The snow was falling outside his hospital window. Raanu sighed and opened issue seventy-one. There was something he wanted to check on. He had noticed that the darkness, named Umbraeon, was already creeping across the sky in the background before Svetlana waded into the Pool Of Time. This meant that there was more to Umbraeon's arrival. Raanu had suspected that Umbraeon was always growing before anyone had noticed. He had thought that in some silent and hidden corner of the story: the most terrifying and formidable opponent of-all was growing all-along.
Encouraged to search for more clues he did so. He discovered that in some panels the characters seemed to be speaking directly to him. He read those ones with greater care. They were instructing him to do as they did, to seek the places where the silence had taken form, to find and annihilate the shadows where they were growing like a cancer. His eyes widened as he realized and said out-loud:
And he grinned. In these stories, death was no more powerful than lies or pain, had no more authority than gratitude or justice. In the world of Silver Swordsman, death was an idea, an illusion. If the stories were all true then that meant that they were right about death. Which meant he need not die in vain.
Mukherjee saw that his son had not slept. While his wife had gone to get lunch he asked his son:
"Have the comics kept you awake?" He asked patiently.
"Yes, father!" Raanu said excitedly. "The comics are real! The stories are all true!"
"No." Mukherjee said. "They were written by a man who was sick. The truth of those stories is all sickness."
"Who is he father? Is he sick like me?" Raanu asked.
"He got sick just like you. He chose to let himself die. I am afraid of what his words are doing to you." Mukherjee was honest with his son.
"His words have taught me that death is not worth fearing. That it is more important to embrace the moment of life. He has taught me that when it ends, all that matters is what we left behind, what we did to make the world better while we were here. That it is evil to live a life of self-indulgence. That it was such an evil that will destroy the world if we do not change our ways. When I read these stories, father, it is like a mirror. It is like it is with you, talking to my own father about life and death, about stories and truth." Raanu explained without hesitation. He had learned much from the books. Mukherjee's fears were slaughtered by the shining sword of his son's beautiful words. The father began to cry in front of his son and then he apologized.
Of all the monsters and villains in the stories only one could be held responsible like a father. Svetlana's long lost father Arvil. He was a very important villain because he had promoted ignorance of both his family and his people. He was not a singular villain but rather the sum of his society. He was a famous poet and it was he that had started the group of people that had killed themselves and sparked the end of their world.
Raanu told his own father just how much he loved and appreciated him. He knew that his own father was the opposite of the character he had in mind. Mukherjee was the enemy of ignorance and he would do anything to protect his family or save his people. The boy wished that somehow his own father's face would appear in the stories to somehow guide the last surviving heroes and Silver Swordsman to a happier destiny. Maybe in the end they could save the universe from ultimate destruction. Raanu knew that is not how the story was supposed to end, but looking at his own father it felt possible.
A month later it was Christmas and a sort of darkness stood like a black hole in the sky. The street lights flickered and the trees twisted off the snow and wandered in search of robots to devour. Marauders shed their humanity to steal immortality and feathered dragons tore the snow filled skies. In a fever he could only recall his favorite moments, grinning and laughing. He would turn and tighten only to see his mom and dad watching and he would relax and smile for them.
It was snowing on Christmas night after his parents left. Raanu had grown very weak, but his unfading smile bore his parents to their rest. Silver Swordsman stood in terrible vigil over the boy like an angel.
"When it is time...to the Temple take me." Raanu told Silver Swordsman. "I must set things right in your world. I have a job to do there."
"I know, my boy. It is almost time." Silver Swordsman towered over him in the hospital room: time and space becoming less relevant with each passing moment. The whole place seemed to stretch to fit the giant robot and the snow was swirling everywhere, inside and out.
Then a kind of silence, a sort of stillness seemed to be holding it all as a snowglobe. There in his hospital bed lay his remains. He looked at them, at the stack of comics next to his body. Then he turned and saw that the wall was as though he were looking up out of water at a blue sky. He went into this, and the light left the room behind, and went with him, and it was him, he was the light.
He sat looking at his reflection in the still waters he had gone through to be here. The ground was level in all directions and the great Temple Of Humanity stood across from him where he sat at the Pool Of Time. Beside him was the giant robot Unit Three-Sixteen.
"I knew that this would happen. As soon as I died I came here. This is where I am supposed to be. I was just there to know why." Raanu stood up and proclaimed.
"Died?" Unit Three-Sixteen asked.
"That's right, you don't know anything about death yet." Raanu puzzled out-loud. He suddenly realized he was in issue number one of Silver Swordsman, the absolute beginning of everything. With a worried look he glanced over and saw that the Cyclists were coming. It wasn't too late to put a stop to everything bad that was going to happen.
"Those people plan to die inside the Temple Of Humanity. They will release a lot of negative anima at once. It will be the end of GAIA. The world will know nothing more than hunger and suffering and you will be the last of your kind." Raanu told Unit Three-Sixteen frantically.
"I can feel your fear, Raanu. What do I do?" Unit Three-Sixteen worried. It knew something was dreadfully wrong with the scene.
"Get me to them, quickly!" Raanu commanded. The giant robot obeyed him and lifted him to its shoulder and strode to the Temple Of Humanity. Raanu was placed on the path of the Cyclists to confront them.
"You should not be here, Raanu. You are just a child, you cannot understand." Arvil told the boy. He and the rest of the first wave of Cyclists stood in robes of patterns in black and white and many wore comedy or tragedy masks of opposing shades.
"I understand exactly what you are about to do. I've seen what happens, the world ends because of you. People hate you after this." Raanu pointed at them each.
"You don't know what it is like to live the way we have, for so long. It becomes meaningless. We need this, we need a final experience." Shatia spoke up in her high voice. She took off her mask and beheld her descendant. Like a little prince, she mused.
"What you are doing will destroy the world. I have had this final experience already. It only taught me that we are all meant for more, meant to do more, say more and feel more than we do. We live in ignorance, forging our own darkness and our own silence. You have made a death for yourselves in your minds and now you intend to inflict it on everyone." Raanu, like his father, could say the truth to someone without cowardice.
"How? How can you stand there and stop us?" Arvil felt his ancient resolve weakening. As a poet, it broke his heart to hear the plain truth. It was like a gleaming sword, cutting through the nonsense that he and his followers had invented.
"I will die over and over again, it seems, until this moment is dragged out into the light of day. There is a darkness behind every panel, a silence behind every period and a shadow over everyone's head. I know, I went back and read it all again to be sure. It was here all-along. It started at the very beginning with the very shadows you are casting now. By the end, only enough light is left in all the universe for one of the last people to say one last thing. Then it all goes to darkness and death, forever." Raanu recalled vividly.
"You would have us turn back. Go back to unending misery?" Shatia asked her great-nephew. She was one of the youngest among the Cyclists.
"Both are choices. One of these choices, I have explained, is a path that will start with your deaths and never end until the whole universe is dead." Raanu nodded.
"We have a right to die." Arvil protested.
"Svetlana meets you in the future, in the past before this happens, but she never finds out why you wrote Argosy, your most famous poem." Raanu was not afraid of Arvil's cowardice. He knew the man better than he knew himself.
Arvil willingly recited his poem to avoid the explanation:
"See now this plain of spoil,
Where cowed all Mans' toil,
To sit bemused without,
Thoughts belabored in drought,
So forth she clings to East,
Or North she turns to least,
But never strays her heart,
Not fallen since the start,
And plants her seed of truth,
The sun rises as proof,
Sacred words she has kept,
How the mighty have wept."
"So what does it mean? This?" Raanu tried not to smile when he saw he had broken the character Arvil. Arvil fell to his knees as he realized he had become the enemy of his own truth. It had not occurred to him until he was confronted with the truth laid bare and obvious. There was no shadow to hide his feelings within. Death would never be an escape from his self loathing, it would only be the proof of it. He himself became the mighty one weeping at the end.
"What have I done?" He tore off his robes and flung them away. He turned on his followers and screamed a damnation upon them for standing behind him. He walked through them and left them there. Without him, many of them did the same. Some left with their masks still on, unwilling to reveal who they were.
Raanu stood there alone with his giant robot. The Temple Of Humanity was operating at low power and the surge of excitement from the boy made the empathicals all around the world stand up and chuckle happily. The giant robots were genius artisans and sculptors and architects that had sat in boredom and decline for too long. Renewal lit them up with vitality and inspiration.
Overcome with a sense of purpose and triumph: he laughed.
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2023.06.06 08:22 KrampusTellsTheTruth Its ok to be sorry
“MOM!” I screamed till my lungs held no air and my throat bled, I raced across the field and grasped the sheet metal roof with my entire palm, cutting my flesh and shredding my skin against the hot sharp edges. I pulled with all my might, raising the roof barely an inch before I collapsed in tears and reached for my moms hand. Her eyes were cloudy and tears ran down her face. “Its ok my son, its all gonna be ok, you need to find your father now” I nodded and wrapped my arms around her head “Ill be right back mama, dad can get this off of you, im sure of it” A jeep raced by and stopped with a screech as the tires left small skids along the tarmac, the base captain stood up from the drivers seat and screamed to me “Lets go! We gotta get you outta here” I leapt into the back sat and clung to the pole, standing atop the back seat as the captain slammed his foot against the pedal and raced across the runway. “No good on the escape cap, I gotta get my dad, my moms trapped under the barracks” He looked back at me for a second and I looked down to him, my hair flowing in the wind and sweat pouring down, mixing with the blood that ran down my cheek. “Good god kid how are you even standing right now?” I veered and scanned the horizon, my eyes falling upon a set of distant lights dancing across the sky. I pointed up to the darker of the two massive vehicles that were locked in mid air combat “Up there, thats dads machine, whos he fighting?” The base captain looked up and leaned forward squinting his eyes and falling silent as he did. He stopped the jeep and sat there, mouth open, eyes glued to the sky. I shook him and repeated the question. “Yo, theres no time for this, who is that?” The captain shook his head and spoke calmly “Theres plenty of time kid, none of us are surviving this…here” He reached down and grabbed a folder from the passenger glovebox, the wind flipping the top as he handed me the bundle of papers. I flipped through until I recognized a file photo. It was almost the exact same design as my fathers machine, the most powerful in the world, but it was darker, and there had been a skull painted on the visor of the mechs gigantic head. It held a long flat edged blade and from the look of the picture, it was taken only seconds before the gory demise of whoever took it. “So the reapers made his way to american shores. So what? This changes nothing. Dad can take him” I leapt out of the jeep and made a beeline for the nearest hangar as the captain shouted from behind me “Hey kid! Get back here, what the hell do you think youre doing?” I barreled into the hangar doors, taking no time to feel the pain my shoulder was now in from having smacked the thick metal door. I wrenched with all my might and threw open the rolling entrance shutter. The lights flickered on as the eyes of my own machine stared back at me, offline and still in desparate need of repair “Im getting in, no time for chitchat captain I need you to give me startup” He shook his head as he leapt out of the jeep and walked toward me “Youre only 11, getting in that machine could kill you, or worse it could actually start up and become a big ass metal coffin. Do you think your parents would want that?” I spoke under my breath for a moment “Better a metal coffin covered in weapons then a wooden one covered in bullshit” He huffed at me “God where do you get this nerve…Oh wait…right…son of the admiral…Alright screw it, were dead either way, get up in the cockpit” I smiled at him and pulled myself into the chest high compartment, sitting in the seat and buckling the main cross belt. “Strapped in captain, starting sequence, can you disconnect me?” He nodded and sprinted around the back of the machines tall legs, pulling the various diagnostic cables and wrenching the stilts from its knees. I looked at the gaff tape I had put inside, following the sequence I had mapped out when i first got the machine, switching the core on and letting the fans spin up. The captain yelled over the noise as the machine whirred to life and stood up. I heard his voice come through the internal speakers “Damn, guess your repairs actually got somewhere. Listen, your internal batteries only good for about 15 minutes, get your mom and then swing back here, if you want any semblance of a chance then youre gonna need a rechar-” I pushed the gears forward and exploded out of the hangar, banking right and hitting the air brakes. The machine flipped forward and threw the wings into gear, sending me rocketing across the tarmac, now 100 tons heavier and 2000 times stronger. I slid to a stop next to my home barracks and knelt down, letting the scanners pinpoint my mother and allowing the hydraulics ample time to adjust before gently grabbing the roof of the building, and pulling up slowly. The captains jeep screeched to a halt next to me as he raced from the car and knelt down beside my mother. He inspected her body for a moment before falling to his knees entirely. I threw the roof and opened the hatchway, launching out of the cockpit and hitting the ground hard next to them. “Shes ok right?” The captain shook his head and put his hand on my shoulder, the smoke stung my eyes as the various fires filled the air with toxic fumes. “There wouldnt have been anything to do, she took too much force from the collapse, im sorry” I shook my head as tears flowed from my eyes “Shes just fucking with us. Mom! Wake up! Youre funny like this but nows not the time weve gotta go and help dad” I shook her shoulders, first gently, then more forcefully as I tried to wake her. I flipped her and her glossy lifeless eyes stared at the sky, still crying. “Shes gone kid, im so sorry” I let out a sob as I knelt down and put my head on her chest “Its not your fault, its mine, I shouldnt have left her, we should have never been attacked” He put a hand on my shoulder and gently rubbed my back “I should have been more aware, im the captain here, its my job to be aware” I rose and gently put my palm over her eyes, closing them with my hand and taking a deep breath through stifled sobs. “You do your best, all the time, its why we respect you. I need you to watch after my mom now, I need to go help dad make sure this doesnt happen to anyone else” He stood up and put his hands up, pushing me back softly and speaking in a low tone “No way kid, you need to grieve, i cant let you back in there in the condition youre in, Ill pilot, or ill call reinforcements, youll be no match” I smiled and moved past him “Id rather bite it in the sky with my dad then sit here and stare at my mom, I cant idle captain” He nodded and bit his lip in thought “Ok…ok…then maybe I can help better. Here, face me” I turned toward him and took a deep breath “We dont have time for this man come o-” He yelled “Face me soldier” I turned fully and stood at attention, my face inquisitive “Ok, ok, what” He brought his hand up to his torso “Ensign Rath, repeat after me and follow suit” I brought my hand up to my own torso and made a fist just as he did “Yes sir” He smiled wide and spoke with authority “I, Ensign Rath” I nodded and repeated “I Ensign Rath” “Accept the rank of Lieutenant O3” I smiled wide and nodded “Accept the rank of Lieutenant O3” He nodded and continued “And vow to use the weapons this rank has been assigned to take on the greatest of threats” The plan clicked in my mind and I continued to follow suit “And vow to use the weapons this rank has been assigned to take on the greatest of threats” As I finished he saluted me and spoke solemnly “It is with great honor and harrowing guilt that I now present you the rank of Lieutenant O3 in the united states naval defense office. I present you with temporary access to the associated weapons in upgrades, and I now release you into the arms of whichever god you so worship, Suit up, and fight like the warrior spirits that have fallen before you” I shook his hand and nodded, feeling pride replace my guilt as I saluted and turned toward my machine. I leapt into the cockpit and stood tall, the captains voice came over my internal speaker “Im heading to valhalla, Hit the skies and get in the fight, ill send a support pack in 2 minutes with 2 hours of extended run time and all the other things youll need to throw down alongside your father. This bases continued operation now relies on the two of you, I know youve had limited training, and some of the controls might even be too far for you to operate properly, but youre a warrior now” I took off into the air, engaging my thrusters and cutting through the clouds like a fiery razor. As rain hit my screen and the distant clap of thunder rolled through, I scanned the surroundings for my father and his machine. I didnt have to look long till he barreled into me while recovering from a glancing blow. “RATH WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING UP HERE” My fathers booming voice shook my brain and rattled my core “Im here to support” He raised his shield and deflected another swing from the reaper, filling the sky with sparks as the flat blade cut across his defense “Get out of here now, where is your mother?” I fell silent as he grabbed my machine with his own and jetted away “Rath! Answer me, why isnt she watc-” I heard him realize, I could feel his heart sink as we stopped in the midst of an anvil cloud, and i could barely see his form in front of me. When a pilot takes his hands off the controls, the machine typically centers its arms to avoid unintended movement, and I could only see the silhouette of his wings as a deep breath came over my intercom “Im so sorry my son, I should have been down there” I shook my head and spoke softly “Then wed all be dead pops, just like the captain you were doing your job as best as you could. Weve got all the time in the world to mourn later, but right now weve gotta make sure this bastard cant pave the way for his friends” I felt the support pack collide with my machine and the cockpit lit up bright as I watched my uptime increase “You make a fair point son, alright, normally id tell you to hit the ground but today I suppose we'll make an exception. Did you receive proper clearance?” The packs armor crawled along my frame and locked in, covering the various dents and scrapes that had been so characteristic of my mech. The improved wings swung into place and I heard the lift fans spin to max. I moved my throttles forward and emerged from the cloud, the full shroud of my machine now dispersed and the new world open to me. “0-3 lieutenant Rath reporting for duty sir, happy to serve alongside you” He spoke calmly “Congratulations my son, your mother would be beyond proud” I reached behind me and remove the tall mace that came standard with almost all lieutenant support packages, but as the flat bulky blade came into view, I noticed a strange sigil on the shielding of the weapon. “Hey dad, any clue what this thing is?” I turned the mace toward him and he flew close “A gift from your mother, you werent supposed to see it for several years but it seems she finished it early. It was a sort of bug that used to be all over the place around here…called a butterfly. You loved them as a baby” I nodded and smiled “Ok, I wanna use this gift for a long time, you think we can beat this guy?” He huffed “Me and you? Were gonna turn him into a monument and stick his armor on display for the world to see” The sky split with lightning as the reaper crossed our paths and came to a stop just a few hundred yards away. As his machines deadly red eyes glowed antithesis to the bright morning sky, a foreign voice filled my cockpit. It held a thick baltic accent, and I knew it could only belong to one man. “You armor is shiny, new, you are young, inexperienced. I let you live, you escape, you till your friends, I kill you later, once you make others fear me” When I had built my machine, I had done so from scratch. I had added and removed things I felt would make me stronger then others, and while I was no heavier due to improved armor, I had still clocked in as the fastest machine in history. The rotors in my arms couldnt survive more then a few hits, the joints in my wrist werent durable enough to deliver full power trikes, but the engines that drove me could surpass all known aircraft and every recorded vehicle in land or air. “Come kill me now, I wanna see your face when I cut your armor in two” He grunted loudly and screamed at me as he flashed across the sky, drawing his blade and splitting the sunlight with speed. I held still and took a deep breath, before swinging, making contact with his arm and spinning mid air. I watched as the skull icon shattered beneath my mace and the sword glanced well below my feet. My father followd the strike with his own mace and drove his engines forward, propelling them both back into the lower sky. I tailed close behind, remembering the eyes of my mother as life escaped her body. With tears in my eye I screamed back “Youl pay today, and youll go broke!” I swung again and again as my father drove the two mechs faster and faster. I pulled the head from the reaper as my father pummeled it. I held it by a braid of cables and met my father in the air over and over. We blocked blows and chipped away, moving faster and faster as my arms grew sore and my voice grew hoarse.I felt my fathers full strength meet my own as we punched at the same time. My mechanical fist shattered inside the reapers torso and I heard a scream as his comms went silent. We watched together as his armor fell from the sky and exploded upon impact, sending a shockwave across the surface as the sound of the boom finally reached us. “Son, take her in for a landing, I know that seemed quick but youre most likely nearing your suits limit” I looked at my counter and noticed a dark red second screen, I had 1 minute and 45 seconds so I turned the engines off and entered a freefall, plummeting toward the earth before pulling them full plast and hovering just above the bases concrete landing pads. I watched my father gracefully swing downward and rocket toward the ground, spinning his feet once he hit the grass and disengaging his wings. His machine came to a halt just a few feet from his designated hanger and I dropped my own armor the ground, kneeling and leaping from the cockpit as i did so. I collapsed as I hit the pavement and my father came running over. He caught me before I could hit the ground and held me up by my arm. He was bloodier then I was but still moving with unparalleled strength. I coughed as he helped me hobble toward the runway before the captain parked next to us in his jeep and helped get me into the seat. My father sat in the passenger seat and leaned his head back, closing his eyes as I did the same. “You did good today son, get some rest and well take care of everything, youre too young for all of this, I'm so sorry” I took a deep breath and curled up in the back seat “Me too dad…me too”
submitted by KrampusTellsTheTruth
to Wholesomenosleep [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 04:43 PeensMagicalBeans Please Double Check if You, Your Parents, and Grandparents are signed up for Fair Pharmacare
My heart sank today at the pharmacy when I saw someone decline to pick up all of their prescriptions because they were out of this person's budget. For their privacy, I didn't approach them to tell them about Fair Pharmacare
, but I hope this information will spread. Even if you are 13 years old, ask your parents about this. If they aren't registered, I am sure that they will be grateful for you bringing it up. Please also bring your laptop to your grandparent's place and help them with this, along with any immigrant family you know.
Note: I don't work for the government. I can't guarantee everything I say is accurate, but I can confidently say for the most part it is. What is Fair Pharmacare:
Fair PharmaCare helps B.C. families/individuals pay for many prescription drugs, dispensing fees and some medical devices and supplies. The plan is based on income. The less you earn, the lower your deductible (you might not have one). Everyone should register even if they make $1M/year. I have benefits through work/school so why do I need this?:
Many benefit plans will deny coverage if you have not registered for Fair Pharmacare. Benefit plans do not want to pay for something when the government could be paying for it. They may cover something at lower costs, but when you get into $10,000+ drugs, they will likely be auditing to see if you are registered. Also, what if you lose your job? You may as well register. If I am here on a work permit or student visa do I qualify?:
Yes. You might not be able to register online. Call 604-683-7151. You will likely need to manually complete some forms. I think that I am already registered. Where do I confirm?:
You can confirm via this link
. A lot of people assume that because they have MSP, they are registered, but they are not. It is not automatic. Where do I register?:
Unless you are here on a work permit, student permit, or haven't filed your 2022 and 2021 taxes, you can register here
. What information do I need to register?:
Your MSP number and information from your CRA notice of assessment. Why aren't all British Columbians automatically registered for Fair Pharmacare?:
My educated guess based on consent and experience is that the Provincial government does not have automatic consent to access information about your income from the Federal government. You need to provide that consent. Do I need to register every year?:
No. The Provincial government will automatically access your information from the Feds and update your deductible amount. There are some situations that you will need to re-register, like moving out of Province and coming back, but I'm not getting into that today. I lost my job. Can I have my Fair Pharmacare deductible adjusted?:
Yes. If your income went down by more than 10% of your net income from two years ago, you can apply for an income review. Visit this page
for more information. What if I can't afford my deductible and need my medication?:
You can have your deductible spread out over the year so you are not paying it out all at once. There is some information here,
but contact Fair Pharmacare for more information. What prescriptions are covered?:
You can see what prescriptions are covered by searching the BC Pharmacare Formulary
. You can ask your doctor to prescribe something that is covered. Click on the hyperlinked DIN number for actual information. Some medications require special authority or are only covered under certain plans (eg. Plan G for patients receiving psychiatric care
- don't ask me about this because I know nothing). Here is a general list
of the supplies that Fair Pharmacare covers. What is Special Authority?:
Special Authority is full or partial coverage that requires a special circumstance. Your doctor needs to fill out a Special Authority Form to get coverage. For some drugs, all that is required is a diagnosis (eg. a diagnosis of Acne for Retin-A
) or it requires you having tried one of the drugs that are already covered and it didn't work for you (eg. trying Dexadrine before getting Vyvanse covered for ADHD
). How long does it take Special Authority to be processed?:
It can take up to business days for a Special Authority request to be processed
. Some are done faster. You can login to BC Health Gatweway
and filter by Special Authority to see if it is approved. I think that you need to register for the BC Services Card App to login to the health gateway. How many days can be dispensed at a time on Fair Pharmacare?:
This varies and you should be very mindful of this. Always ask your pharmacist about this because I have been out of pocket $200 when I wanted 90 days for convenience but one prescription would only be covered for 30 days at a time. My prescription is not covered through Fair Pharmacare. What can I do about this?:
BC has a drug review process
%20or%20a%20non%2Dbenefit). Check to see if it has been approved by Health Canada and reviewed by CADTH
. Take a look at what their reports said about the drug. If your drug was recommended for approval but BC still does not cover it, [e-mail the Ministry of Health](mailto:[email protected]
). Maybe even the Minister of Health and your local MLA. Some years ago, I noticed that BC covered a drug for people under the age of 18, but no longer for those 18+. I e-mailed the government pointing out the reports, stating that it didn't make sense because the condition doesn't magically go away when the person turns 18, and guess what - they changed the policy a couple of months later.
The BC Government does regularly solicit feedback on drug coverage. I get an e-mail periodically with a list of medications that they will be soliciting feedback for, but I can't even remember how or where I signed up for it. You can subscribe for updates
to this public page which I imagine does the same thing as the e-mail I receive does. What else can I do to make a difference?:
I am not sure which is the correct body (BC Pharmacy Association, BC College of Pharmacists, BC Government), but personally I would like a campaign that has a sticker, cards, or something at every pharmacy in BC that shares information about Fair Pharmacare. If someone is being rung up and Pharmacare isn't listed on their receipt, the cashier is required to tell them about it. Perhaps government employees or Pharmacists can comment and let us know which body would be in charge of making this happen. Hopefully this information helps. We are very lucky in BC that we have this program that applies to all British Columbians instead of just seniors and children. This can save you a huge amount of money. I often hear people complaining about the cost of Vyvanse and they have no clue that they can get it covered through Fair Pharmacare's Special Authority program. I hope this helps you or someone that you know. If you really want to give back to your community, stop making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and handing them out at Main/Hastings. Consider visiting a senior or hosting something in your condo's amenity room that walks people through the registration process. This will make a difference in a meaningful way.
submitted by PeensMagicalBeans
to vancouver [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 01:30 Caotsstoac A community/club looking for Selectors, forklift operators, Dock workers, Dockhands, maintenance/cleaning crew members, Truck jockeys, truck drivers/delivery drivers, shipping and receiving workers, freezer workers, foreman, trainers, anyone involved in the labor intensive job of warehouse worker
There are many cushy positions when you say warehouse work, those are not the workers this group is aimed at. Not human rescourses, payroll, sales, computer technicians, phone sales representitives, or the company investors/owners/upper managment. Those people are all important in the day to day functions of the warehouse, i'm not saying that, I'm just saying that the low level warehouse workers who ussually work out on the floor of the warehouse in varying degrees of uncomfortable tempatures or elements depending on the products the warehouse stores. This group is for the people doing the hard labor, the heavy lifting, and this extends to the higher ups in those departments, like the foreman or trainers, who may have relatively more cushy positions, but at least all the warehouses I have worked at, those workers got there from starting out as a selector or some low level worker and worked 20 years as a selector, proving themselves the entire time before they were given some job of authority or a position where they no longer are breaking their backs, so I respect the kind of grind, and I see them as equal to low level employees despite their higher pay, position of authority, and hypothetical higher rung on the ladder of success. I don't find people who are hired for a job they have absolutely no experience or knowledge doing first hand, just because they have some degree or certification that is impressive because the amount of money they ulyimately paid for it, but in reality it is not impressive at all because they have never worked a day in their life and they dont deserve to be given a position that some people work their entire lives trying to land, I watched this happen at one warehouse I worked at, where instead of hiring from the inside, they hired somebody with zero expirience at this company, as well as zero expierience doing really anything remotely similar to the job that he was being hired to do, but his resume was impressive because he had experience as a white shirt in some office position overseeing warehouse operations, i'm still not sure what he did prior to the company I worked for hiring him, but all I know is he seemed very lost talking with people, managing people or being any kind of boss or figure of authority, Also he had no clue how to use a forklift, which I don't believe he told anyone, and if he did he lied dramatically and said like "its been awhile since i used one so I might be little rusty, but its like riding a bike so I'm confident it will come right back to me", because he just attempted to act confident on it, though you can tell he was totally unsure how to turn in an aisle to have his forks line up with the pallet he intended on dropping, so he kept cutting the wheel too soon or hed be like half lineded up. I had give him advice a couple times and in a flustered state hed act like the mechanices of a crown is so much different than a raymond, so getting used to the change isnt easy, (not realizing ive driven both and crown and raymond are probably the most similar as far as handling and what trigger does what, small insignificant differences if anything that quickly you realize and understand, but mostly designed identically." I also saw him spill a few pallets using the fork lift, once from attempting to turn to soon before he fully removed a pallet out of the slot, so he crushed and caused the back end of the pallet to come crashing to the floor. Another time I'm not sure what was the cause, but I believe he wasnt aware of how tall the pallet was and he lifted it like a foot before deciding to try to remove it, not aware that the top of the rack acted as a clothesline to the boxes on the top of the pallet. I heard this one occur, and saw the end results, but thats the impression I got out of the destruction. Anyways this was obviously infuriating, because there were plenty of devoted workers who were trying to get this job and it was a slap in the face to give it to someone who we were speculating had lied on his application to be like the ideal hire based off the requirements the job application was asking for. I left probably 6 monthes after this hire cos the company was a lost cause. No ladder to climb, no positions to eventually be promoted too. It was a fairly small warehouse with all the desirable positions filled, and as I was getting into 6 years at the company with no more than a dollar raise in total and more responsibility and I was always being asked to do things that managers would do, like train people, drop items when they werent in stock, just getting taken advantage of and no hopes of ever getting out of selecting. About to be 30 years old I realize I needed to dedicate my time and work ethic to a company that would reward my hard work, cos I'm getting older and I cant select forever, exspecially risking injuring my back or worse. So this group I intend to use as a community or club of other warehouse workers who can relate to the labor intense job, the atmosphere a warehouse brings with it, because you dont work with the public, your working ussually 2nd or 3rd shift with only mostly male co workers, so most warehouses have a anything goes kinda comedy or ball busting about the way theyre run, that makes it maybe too much for snowflakes of the world, but I think the enviorment and the workplace is home, it has its flaws for sure, the pay is not ideal, but if I can find a warehouse or a way to be paid better I would be so happy with my career, its a shame they don't respect their workers enough to pay them living wages, most of us have families and we can barely make ends meet.
submitted by Caotsstoac
to USAWarehouseworkers [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 23:33 Bro-zilian I am going to give a lecture about methodologies for teaching the English language (applied linguistics), but..
Well, I am applying for a job at a university and I need to give a 30-minute speech about methodologies for teaching the English language. However, I have no clue how to start my presentation. I know about some methods such as audiolingual, direct method, communicative approach etc. But I still need some authors to support my presentation. Can you recommend some easy-reading articles about this topic? Maybe some authors who research about it or something from applied linguistics can make my presentation interesting? I am thankful for any help.
submitted by Bro-zilian
to EnglishLearning [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 23:09 Storms_Wrath The Human Artificial Hivemind Part 380: Poorly Effective Painkillers
First Previous Wiki
President Blistanna left her kids with the Matron, an Acuarfar whose job was mainly taking care of the young. She walked through the hallways of her residence, quickly being surrounded by guards and shields. It was how things were now.
She gave her advisor a nod as he waited for the guards to confirm his identification. He walked through one of the recent mind scanners installed in the hallway, which covered the entire length and most of the height of it. There was no sudden alarm, and her guards didn't fill him with new entrances to his stomach, so she assumed he was fine.
"President Blistanna, I have good news regarding the new procedures. In the event of a hypothetical attack, the shields should be able to seal up, preventing anything from getting through."
"Good. And how successful were they at delaying the practice Sprilnav from reaching me?"
"They increased the time from five minutes to thirteen. Of course, that doesn't count the guards, who I'm sure would kill them before they got close," the advisor said. That earned him a few chuckles from around her back.
"There is a point of concern, though. The ceilings are being fortified with increased weaponry, such as lasers, but that doesn't account for the fact that they have a pretty good path to you from above. Assuming they break through eight floors of heavily reinforced kintum and concrete, they still could reach you faster, perhaps decreasing the time to two minutes, if they can quickly break through the barriers without stopping."
"How could they feasibly do that?"
"Kinetic weaponry, bombs, anything that can make the stuff move, really. Maybe an Elder would be able to dig their way through, like that pair of Dreedeen that ate through that section of spaceship hull in that contest."
"You don't watch 'The Crystal Mouth'?"
"No?" Blistanna asked.
"Ah well. Nevermind. What I mean to say is that we should more heavily fortify the capitol. Recently it was discovered that the doors could be held up by a crowd of people trying to breach the place, and that the current Senate doesn't have enough personnel to prevent an all-out assault in that fashion."
She almost commented on the impossibility of such an action before remembering the mind control. They'd already been rooting out as many areas where it was spreading as possible, but it seemed to be far more than they could handle. Brey was also involved, which was why they were catching the people at all.
"And there has still been no evidence of this in the humans?"
"No. The hivemind is likely either directly protecting them, or the Sprilnav doing it fear the hivemind will detect it and are not doing it from the risk. Either way, the whole species seems safe."
"Could a Sprilnav clone a human?"
"Yes, and then implant the mind control. But the second a human connected to the hivemind saw them, the ruse would be up, as the hivemind would know it was a human that was unconnected."
"But that's not grounds for arrest, in and of itself."
"These days, it's still a mind scan at least. If this were some other public health crisis, like a pandemic, it would make the counterarguments have a bit more weight. But mind control, where people are literally converted into slaves, can't be tolerated. At least, that's what the other humans I've contacted for sources say."
"Even the journalists?"
"Yes. I am somewhat certain that the hivemind itself has communicated the danger of this to each and every human under its control."
"But there would be outliers. Deviants, thrill seekers."
"Not really. Mind control isn't something that many humans like, morally. And if it is, usually it's them who would hold the power, not the other way around."
"Well, I suppose you are more qualified to discuss this than I am," Blistanna said. "Just curious, that's all."
"President Blistanna, there's nothing wrong with your questions. Healthy skepticism helps to keep us from believing everything we hear."
"I heard you mention a pandemic earlier. How's the situation in the Inukjuak region?"
"The inoculations have been created, and are being administered. There's a significant amount of infected people still, but the worst of it seems to be over. We identified it coming from an alien animal that had been illegally imported to the Queen Elizabeth Islands."
"That's a long way."
"Yes. It's amphibious, with various odd features. But its thick fur hosts a virus that is infectious. Several of them were captured in a petting zoo that has since been closed down."
"And this virus itself, it does not have any long term impacts?"
"Not that we know of. It seemed to mostly affect the skin, and could be contracted by close contact and sometimes blood transfers. The problem with identifying it initially is why it was able to spread so far, since there are many Guulin getting blood transfusions that likely had it in their system."
"So this was a healthcare oversight?"
"No. It's closer to the equipment being calibrated for certain ranges, and the virus itself was remarkably similar to some other bacteria in the Guulin body that helps it run. So it was technically barely on the edge of the range, but the equipment wouldn't have detected it unless it was calibrated differently. And with other medical checks, the virus was also almost identical to Guulin immune system cells."
"Is there any evidence of intelligent design?"
"Still no. If this was the Sprilnav, they'd likely make it far more lethal. Our virologists speculated, when asked, that they would first make a virus that is as lethal as possible, then as easy to spread as possible, likely with a significant asymptomatic window involved to further the spread. And while it seems difficult, three speculated that they could make a virus that could spread between species even that have fundamentally different genetic code."
"That seems impossible," Blistanna said.
"Yes. But with tissue samples and cloning systems, they could trial it until they got results. And things have been quiet recently, so it's possible they might try this as a vector of attack. There's precedent, with what Kashaunta did with biting Brey."
"But we wouldn't be able to prepare for that, until it happened, would we?"
"We do have significant numbers of masks available for Guulin. The initial doctors that we had available were raising hell with how cramped the cities are, at least in terms of population density."
"People seem to have enough space, though."
"Yes, because the skyscrapers are vertical. But what they meant is so many people able to interact. Some of the most deadly human pandemics hit populated areas harder, like Nigeria and India. Not to mention the climate diaspora into Eastern Russia and of course Canada and America. They cited these as examples to watch. And there aren't good numbers for how the slave camps were, but there was quite a lot of disease there, if I remember correctly."
He did, most likely. Blistanna sighed. "Has the number of attempted assassinations decreased?"
"No. It's actually been increasing for Izkrala, and for Dilandekar. The hivemind's with them at all times, now. And of course, we have our invisible friend joining us also. As for you, President, there have been no increased numbers at all."
"I don't like this. Things are too quiet. What about the Cawlarians and Vinarii? Any oddities such as pandemics, increased unrest, or assassination attempts?"
"Well, Kawtyahtnakal's guards killed a Sprilnav trying to kill him about eight weeks ago. Nothing since then. Unrest, yes, pandemics no. The unrest is likely Sprilnav mind control attempts to disrupt them."
"Keep watch on that, too. I don't think a massive virus is as likely as a mind-control attack, considering the evidence we have."
"I shall inform your people of your wishes."
The advisor turned to leave.
"Wait," Blistanna replied. "The virologists and doctors. How often are they getting scanned for mind control?"
"I don't know. Shall I make getting them all scanned my priority?"
"Yes, do so. Politicians who haven't gotten the scan yet as well. Military officials, news casters, journalists. Everyone that has a major influence on a core tenet of society."
"Only the journalists are part of those who seem to be resisting the most heavily. Most of the others are compliant. Though I do think this may increase the fears of some who accuse you of being authoritarian."
"I understand. Inform them of the risk, politely, if you can. I'll have my media advisors do their best to convince the public of the concern. We're going to be increasing the blood test standards for donating blood, too. Tell the NHS officials that we may have a serious situation here. Granted, I may be overreacting, but the possibility of this likely hasn't only come to us."
"President, I wish you the best." The advisor turned and left, this time without her stopping him. She looked at her guards.
"How likely do you think an attack is?"
"That depends. I think the Sprilnav are going to send ships to hit us, soon. But if they don't then the mind-control is the best measure after that. Gaia and the hivemind would be able to stop a pandemic if it started to kill people off."
That made sense to her. There was enough money for the increased caution right now, anyway. The Guulin Congressional Republic was currently militarizing, so covering all the other bases would be a good option too. It was up to the Guulin to help crew the massive military of the Alliance for when Aphid sent another attack. With both the Cawlarians and the Alliance pressuring him, he'd either leave or fold. Either way, the problem of Aphid would eventually solve itself. But the Sprilnav were an active threat. It might be good for the Alliance to go through every species' list of war crimes, so they could prepare for the Sprilnav to try them.
Calling the hotline with Kashaunta wasn't necessary until they'd confirmed a threat, at least. The fewer chances she got to manipulate them, the better. And even if she was an enemy, she also had a window into Sprilnav society that no one else had currently. No one who was accessible, at least. Because something was going to come eventually, and they needed to be ready.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
"I think this is putting too much strain on your body," the hivemind said, frowning at Izkrala after her latest visit to the hospital. "I don't know what you're actually doing to yourself, but I can guess that the side effects aren't good."
"You can, can you?" Izkrala replied, scowling at the bed underneath her, which seemed perfectly positioned to keep her arms and legs from being able to move her body. She was large, but that didn't mean that this was any less accidental. Someone had done this on purpose. When she got to them, she'd...
"Yes. I'm not trying to be rude. I just care about you. You've been doing whatever this is for weeks now. It's clearly affecting your psyche."
"Perhaps what's affecting my psyche is the fact that a quarter of my military somehow vanished after launching a coup against me."
Izkrala had been tracking them with sensors for a while until they really had just disappeared. The only way it would have likely happened at this point was that several of the Acuarfar watching them were mind-controlled. Initially, they hadn't been blamed, as it really had looked like a sensor malfunction. Then they'd vanished too.
Whether they were dead didn't matter to her, but she did want to get her revenge on whoever was responsible. She had her doubts that Kashaunta and this 'Zelisloa' actually had a rivalry that was real. Otherwise, she would have pointed them at him earlier. And it did seem quite convenient that none of the recent actions from the Sprilnav against the Alliance were attributed to her.
If Izkrala had to guess, they were being misled. Zelisloa was probably working under Kashaunta and was being used to take the fall if he was caught. Then he'd die quickly, leaving her with a somewhat better relationship with the Alliance than before. Or at least, that was likely her plan. After biting the hivemind like some animal and trying to kill everyone several times, Kashaunta was on the 'kill if seen' list for the rest of her life. And it would stay that way.
"That's fair," the hivemind said. "I don't think I would be as stable if I was undergoing this procedure."
"Lying to make me feel better only works if I don't know it's a lie, Humanity," Izkrala replied. "What I need is a painkiller that will actually work."
Her cybernetic eye fixed itself upon it, and she did her best to move again. Project Paragon might have been enhancing her psychic energy, or at least making it so she could control it, but it was clearly not feasible widescale. And it was only possible due to the experiments the Acuarfar had done at her behest before she'd joined the Alliance. The hivemind might know that her psychic energy control was increasing. But it would never find out the truth of the project.
"Well, I do have good news. I managed to come up with a composite that will allow you to fly again."
"What is it?"
"Your wing, sort of. I requested some of your genetic material from the Emperors, and they gave it to me when I told them what I planned."
"And you didn't consult me?"
"I assumed that you would refuse. I wanted to help you, and they are also considered as part of those who could disclose your health information. If you are unhappy with this, I will simply destroy what I have made."
She sighed. "No, don't. I'd like a real wing again. Can it mend with my own?"
"That's the hard part. The cells that I designed for it should work. But that's not satisfactory."
"What would you say the chance is of successful mending without additional side effects?"
"I'll take it. But what are those side effects?"
"The cells becoming uncontrollable, in which case they will likely form a mending structure that is not smooth enough, which will make flying with that wing either harder or more painful for a while."
"More pain. Of course."
"So that's a no?"
"It's a yes, hivemind. Do it. And... thank you for this," Izkrala said honestly. "You don't have to go out of your way to help me. There's many more that need it."
"True. But you're a person too."
"I'm not really more important than anyone else. Sure, I like to say I am, but I'm not. Unless you're focused on getting me to do some favor for you. Because if so, that's pretty mean. You wouldn't do that, right?"
"I don't think so."
"Good. You know, in another life, we might have been mates."
"What? Wait, did I just say that? I'm still drugged, aren't I?"
"Your bloodstream has broken down the main compounds, it seems. But... yes, I think you are. That said, I'm flattered that you think so highly of me," the hivemind replied. "But in the here and now, you have your Emperors. And I think that's plenty."
"Oh yes. I'm not sure how the males manage it, really."
"The multiple mates. It's fairly traditional for males to take at least two mates, due to the increased birth rate of females to males. It's not like how those human 'artists' like to portray it, either. For us Acuarfar, carrying eggs is like... having a suitcase attached to you, which is almost too heavy to lift, and barely movable. Did you know that according to the history books, Acuarfar invented the wheel to make platforms that help females whose eggs are gestating?"
"I suppose I had the knowledge somewhere in here," the hivemind said, tapping its head. "It is an interesting fact. That said, I'll wait until you're stable to ask you about my current questions."
Curiosity immediately overwhelmed Izkrala, and she tried to get out of bed again. She was glad that the hivemind wasn't smiling at her as she did so. This felt incredibly demeaning.
"Can you at least tell me what you've been doing? One thing. Please?"
"You might forget soon."
"Forgetting isn't one of the side effects of the painkillers I'm on. Even if they're more like pain punchers at this point. Not doing very much killing, I'm afraid," Izkrala said. The hivemind smiled slightly.
"Come on! That was funny!"
"Maybe being a billion people all at once makes you unable to grasp my genius."
"Well, 16 billion actually. But perhaps it does."
"Well, stop stalling. Hivemind, tell me what you've been up to."
"As you wish, Empress Izkrala. I've been working with the wanderers mostly. Stopping crime among humans by talking them out of it, and getting them the resources they need. I've been discussing negotiations that Phoebe's been having with the Cawlarians, and we've started negotiating with the Vinarii again.
It seems that a few people on one of the colonies have some sort of new sickness. We've been studying the proteins of that one, and it seems that they opened an ancient vault about five days before. Oh, and making bigger guns, bigger ships, better factories, and the like. Trying to put together some sort of structure to how exactly the Sprilnav, Source, and these conceptual beings work, in addition to the various lesser powerful psychic entities like Exii'darii and Gaia."
"Tell me about the wanderers, then."
"Well, most of the diaspora has concentrated into communities again. The ones that left their ships have developed a desire to breed as many children as they can. I think it's a core value of theirs. Their children are rarely seen in public, though, both on the ships and in their planetary communities."
The hivemind conjured up a chair and sat down, still in view of Izkrala's cybernetic eye, without her having to strain herself.
"And also, on the ships themselves, there's been some developments. I've been spreading the news of the Alliance's amenities and rights, which seems to be working. More wanderers are leaving, and taking their families with them. But what worries me in particular is the ones who are asking us to give them guns and ammunition. Most of those are the older ones, especially those with the tumors already growing. As for those, I can't even heal them, not even with psychic energy. I was planning on asking you to provide mediators for a future conflict, like impassive forces that don't take a side but help refugees and civilian victims. Medics, caretakers, staffing for food distribution, the works."
"So the wanderers are about to have a civil war?"
"Some are. The ships are each different. On some, the suspected revolutionaries far outnumber the police and soldiers stationed there. On others, they're very rare and almost nonexistent. A few of them have simply disappeared, only to be found beheaded later on."
"So they're killing dissidents. That seems like a valid excuse to intervene."
"Yes. But sadly, it isn't. The Alliance agreements are still weak. If we were to do that to the wanderers, it would set a precedent. If your future descendants do the same, then the same problem could happen to them. Basically a big civil war. So it's either doing nothing and watching people die in a war that hasn't fully started yet, or doing something and setting a precedent that could get a lot of people killed. Civil wars are messy. The wanderers' situation is likely the easiest to safely enter, actually. All the other species have massive populations or are on a planet, leaving room for countless pockets of dissidents and asymmetric warfare."
"So how many wanderers are going to be beheaded before you do something? You're not technically a part of the Alliance. You do not answer to any military authority, same with Brey, Phoebe, Gaia, and such."
"Yes, I do."
"You do because you want to," Izkrala said. "You could decide to wage a genocide on the wanderers, and we couldn't do a thing to stop you. The only way to even kill you is to kill 16 billion humans first. You're the problem the Alliance will have to solve. Not leaders like me who want power. But entities like you, who everyone knows has it. The Alliance right now is only capable of surviving as an opposition entity to the other big nations of the galaxy. And if that doesn't become enough, everyone in it fractures, and we each die alone."
"I'm not so sure about that."
"Alone and in pain, unless the Sprilnav happen to bomb you while you're sitting near someone else."
"They haven't yet."
"You've disarmed tens of thousands of nuclear bombs on hundreds of planets, Humanity. Let's be real here. Without Gaia providing detection, Brey providing portals, you providing power, and Phoebe providing locating services, we'd all be long dead by now."
"Well, we aren't. And I don't think pessimism is helpful here."
"Pessimism is how empires are built and run, hivemind. That's what makes politics churn. It's why we're going to kill Yasihaut and Kashaunta, instead of trying to somehow fix them. Because even if it's possible, it would require several lobotomy records being broken. Being pessimistic is putting yourself in the mind of your enemy, asking yourself the worst they could to, making it worse, and preparing for it. Pessimism is realizing that Humanity is the core of the Alliance, and without your species, we would all be lost. It's realizing that I can't have eggs anymore without doing it some fake way. It's reality, Humanity. Time to start living it."
"The drugs are still in your system."
"Oh please. You know I'm right. Plus, I've been far higher than this and still coherent. Have you ever gotten to the point where you could smell colors with your hands, or taste the sun with your stomach? Have you ever tried to jump with your eyes, bite an animal that doesn't exist, or hear the voices of dead people?"
"There's a few humans who have gotten to that extent."
"But you haven't. It's their experiences, not your own."
"Not really. Being a hivemind means that their experiences are mine, because I am them and they are me. That's how it works."
"Unless you only think that's how it works, and you don't know. For all you know, Kashaunta's just been a projection this whole time by Yasihaut as a way to get us to go after the wrong Sprilnav. For all you know, Kawtyahtnakal died back then, and you raised something else from the dead. For all you know, the Sprilnav made a star send a gamma-ray burst to hit us in a few seconds. Pessimism, hivemind. Optimism is what gets you betrayed by your own generals."
"Optimism whispers hope into your ears and hides the dagger about to be shoved through your back. I'm a broken and ruined Empress, trying to cling to the beauty and splendor that is my birthright. I'm a useless carapace hiding a girl whose dreams of a unified and happy species have died on the altar of reality. Don't you dare think you know what this is like. Humans don't have Empresses anymore. You can blame a parliament, or a congress, or a senate. When the Acuarfar look up, and the skies are burning, their eggs are smashed, and the strength of my Empires crashes down, they can blame me, and me alone. Because I failed."
"You did not-"
"Silence, hivemind," Izkrala replied. "I was not done. I am nothing anymore. You can go ahead and install your stupid new government into my Empires when I die. It won't make a difference in the end."
"You shouldn't lose hope. You can still lead."
"I can't even get myself out of this stupid bed. How can I ever lead my species? How can anyone? My own people don't even trust me. I tried to save the Lurave Empire, Humanity. I tried. I gave them housing, order, food, clean water, and heating. I gave them jobs, gave them freedom, and gave them what strength I could. Could I have gone in and killed all their leaders one by one until they kneeled on the blood-soaked floor of the palace? Yes.
But I didn't. Because I had that hope. And they threw it away. They spat in my face, leaving me like this. 92 billion Acuarfar. They're going to die. They're going to starve, dying in the ruined worlds I could have saved them from, while spitting on my legacy. I don't even have words for how I feel about them. Drugs or not. Cybernetic or not. Their stupidity has transcended all bounds. Maybe stupidity's a concept too, and decided to pay us a visit."
"I can help."
"How? Unless you're planning on mind-controlling them, good luck. And even if you are, you'd have to dig out the Sprilnav versions first. Then you'd have to convince them that they actually want a good life."
"We could still uplift them, and help them. It just may not be unified with your two Empires."
"You don't have confidence in my leadership either. That's why you're saying this. Guess what happens when you try that? They become a big nation. Then they wage war on us, and your civil war policy doesn't let you intervene. You march in there and let them riddle you with insults and bullets until you get bored. See how it feels to be helpless then!"
"Empress," the hivemind said. Its hands moved closer as it stood up. "I'm sorry."
"Sorry for being wrong? Sorry for not understanding how the world works?"
"Yes. And I'm sorry if I've hurt you."
Its fingers brushed gently against the side of her snout. Her anger and grief receded, and she let herself lay back against the bed. The hivemind didn't do anything else and just stayed with her. Its eyes were sympathetic, and the sensation of her fur in its fingers was somewhat calming.
"Look," she said. "I'm sorry I yelled at you."
"It was deserved."
"It wasn't. I guess I'm really not ready to be out in public again for a while."
"You don't have to be. I'm sorry I didn't notice this sooner."
"I'm going to sleep now."
"Have a good rest, Empress."
"You too." she sighed. "I'm going to remember that, too. I meant thank you."
submitted by Storms_Wrath
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 22:32 dearwinnies [TOMT][Book] Story about vampire maybe published around 2000s. Possible name is The Crypt / The Pass or something with a C word.
It is a somewhat old book but not that old like Dracula. It is about vampire (one old vampire) and NO IT IS NOT DRACULA
It is a part of a series, the first book of a series (the series might have three or five books or more than that)
I remember the name is The "something" - I remember it being Crypt or another word that starts with C but it could also be like The Pass or something. I'm not too sure about this.
I do not remember the author or any part of his name.
The story is basically this guy (maybe a priest) being sent to a monastery/chapel/catholic place or something that is deep in the mountains to investigate some weird happenings because someone there wrote him a letter. The book is titled as something like The Pass or The Crypt because it has to do with the location of the place that the Main Character is going. He went there and started to feel something disturbing and candle lights goes off. It is an old century kind of novel so no electric lights and stuff. Then he finally meets the vampire who is quite old and they have a showdown.
The showdown basically is them throwing each other off the mountain or something but then the vampire doesn't really die neither does the Main Character. And the vampire ran away to somewhere else and the main character survives then maybe continues to go on finding and hunting down the vampire. I remember that the ending was pretty frustrating (hence I deleted all copies of the ebook from my ebook shelf and now completely forgetting what book is it)
There is no romance elements in there. No main female characters that I remember of. Just basically two dudes (vampire and human) showing down.
I know it's all pretty vague and sounds like a million similar vampire books out there and it's a long shot but if anyone has any clue please let me know! Thank you~
submitted by dearwinnies
to tipofmytongue [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 16:18 cruisingNW Foundations of Humanity 28 (Upturned Stones) - an NoP fanfic
Foundations of Humanity 28 (Upturned Stones) - an NoP fanfic
Thank you u/SpacePaladin15
for establishing the Nature of Predators Universe, and for allowing Fanfics to flourish! Thank you again, u/Braquen
, and last but not least u/Liberty-Prime76
for proofreading! This is my side of the Nature of a Giant crossover
-- Next Memory transcription subject: Valek, Venlil tourist Date [standardized human time]: Sept 11th, 2136. Middle of 3rd Claw “Well then, what would that make me
I jolted, swinging around at the sound. I had felt the voice come from behind me and resonate in my own chest. My fur stood on end as I locked onto his baleful eye glaring down at me. Alvi was frozen to her seat and Maeve had a hand to her chest, her chair now sat nearly half a tail from the table from her jump, her veil fallen from the jolt.
“Jesus Fucking Christ, Tarlim!” She swung her head to meet his eye over her shoulder, “How are you so quiet? Please don't sneak up on me like that.”
Tarlim continued to stare me down, and I could feel myself crumbling under the weight of his attention, though Jacob broke his concentration with a kind greeting, which Maeve returned likewise before asking, “Would you like to join us? These two were just teaching me about Predator Disease. I hope that isn’t a problem?”
Just like that?! Just mentioning his diagnosis set him wild earlier, and we’re just going to keep talking?!
“Not at all!” Jacob replied while he wandered over to the opposite side of our table and sat himself down. So I guess we are
going to just keep talking! Even though the Giant was so obviously glaring down at me! But despite that, they just sat across from us, squeezing onto adjacent seats.
I found my tail wrapping itself around Alvi. I didn’t want her to get hurt. I didn’t want anything to happen now that they found us. How… How did
they find us? “How did you know where we were?”
The Beast swung its arms wi- NO! No! Night be damned, you WILL get this through your thick skull Valek. Tarlim. He! Is Tarlim! Tarlim
swung his arms wide, emphasizing the otherwise barren balcony. "You have a human with you. It wasn't hard to guess. It’s a rather familiar feeling. I always seem to end up in a place that the rest of the herd isn’t, and the same seems true for humans." His weighty focus came back to me, "I believe one of you was saying that was a symptom of predator disease?”
“That’s right,” Maeve answered immediately, clueless to or pointedly ignoring Tarlim's eyes on me. “Though it confuses me how the behavior of observers can be part of a diagnosis. That seems… less than scientific.”
“Yes, I would also like to know the logic behind that,” his ears and eyes locked onto mine while pointedly eating a dough ball, “I am very curious.”
Maeve gave me a nod of encouragement, urging me to continue, “Well… I-If the herd is avoiding someone, they must not be communicating ‘safety’ well enough. O-Or even being aggressive! So they would need to be taught how to not be a danger to others.”
“Really?” His ears were perked to signal his interest. ”And since everyone runs, screams, freezes, and cowers at the sight of me simply…” His voice wavered into silence. I could see his expression barely holding back rage and despair as he forced himself to hold a neutral serious expression.
It was Maeve who finished the thought. “Simply for being what you are. Valek…” She faced me directly. Her voice was a tone I heard when we talked about difficult things; devoid of accusation and yet carried by a desperate need to know, “do you believe that a living creature, any thing, sapient or not, should be abandoned because of how they are born?”
My ears fell flat. I could feel the attention of the world on my psyche, and I felt my tail pull from Alvi to protect myself instead. “I… No… But… But what if they’re a danger to the herd? Even humans wouldn’t keep a dangerous human free, would they?”
Jacob spoke through one of his dough balls. “Depends on what you mean by ‘dangerous.’” He swallowed and picked up another, “most ‘dangerous’ humans are like those Venlil who stabbed their partner, or that other Venlil who smashed their partner’s head on some stairs.” What?!
The three of us were all startled at that news. “One was a fear response, the other just a simple accident. Worth a punishment, sure, but not always imprisonment.”
Maeve gulped and added, “Jesus, what happened
on Prime Station…? Anyway, something else I noticed is: your process seemed very… proactive. Humans are reactive to injustice, or at least we try to be. Even if we know someone is at high risk of being a danger to those around them, we believe it is wrong to punish them for something they haven’t done. Innocent until proven guilty is a key tenet of our entire justice system.”
“Hey, it’s like they said,” Tarlim swallowed another ball, “it’s about teaching, not justice.” And levied his next challenge against me. “So what is it that I need to be taught? After all, you guys freaked out at seeing me, so you must know exactly what made me so aggressive and dangerous! Right?” Of course I know why I freaked out! It was because he was big and… he was big and… No, no, that wasn’t the only reason! It couldn’t be the only reason. He was… he was big and he… His teeth! That’s it! They were… big and… And… Was that really it? Was that as deep as this fear went? I can’t even say I was afraid for my life, or for Maeve or Alvi’s life. Not next to how I felt running across the farm. There had to be something more to this than just how he looked!
My mind was spinning trying to justify itself, when Maeve cut through the fog, “Valek… What do exterminators… do?”
I thought for a long moment, “They… They protect us from predators. When there is a predator sighting, they investigate, locate, then exterminate the creature.”
Maeve took a moment to think on my words, then continued, “So what would an exterminator do… if a sapient was a Predator? Would they exterminate them too?”
“Ah, that’s simple!” A gruff voice leapt over a mouthful of dough, “They shoot ‘em with a flare with shotgun-level powder, douse ‘em with gas, and watch ‘em burn alive! That’s what they do!”
The sudden shock derailed our lesson, before Maeve asked incredulously, “Excuse me?? Did you just say exterminators… exterminate… with fire?!” Fear was evident behind her voice. That couldn’t be true! The exterminators weren’t like that! They were- they were…
The Gi- Tarlim
propped up his data pad toward us. There was a human wearing a blue spacesuit standing opposite what looked like more than a dozen exterminators in full flamer gear. The human held up one hand. “Hail people of Venlil Prime! I come in Peace! Take me to your leader!” Instantly, the exterminator closest to him pulled out a flare gun and shot the human. He fell to the ground, the flare bouncing off.
“Ah must say,” Jacob picked up another ball of dough, “Ah thank God Ah wore that suit. That flare still gave me a good bruise, but at least Ah didn’t need any skin grafts.”
I wanted to say it was just that one Venlil. But when the human defended himself, he was doused with fuel. Then there was… there was Tarlim. He was scrambling. Trying to save the human. Trying- trying to protect a friend! But he couldn’t! Jacob was set ablaze! He- he was!
The video ended with Jacob burning on the ground.
They had to have their reasons! Their duty is to protect the herd! They were trained to do only that! They take an oath to do only that! They can’t be… Evil
! There’s proof they aren’t! Like there’s proof they helped people during Herd Protection?
My heart stopped still.
“I-I need to go.”
I could only hear my claws clacking against the tile as I bolted down the stairs, through the arcade and out the front door, filling my lungs with fresh air. In the noise of the city surrounding my isolation, I felt my heart steady its pulse, and I walked aimlessly to clear my head.
I looked around at the city, constantly moving and beating with life and activity. This was the prosperity that the Federation promised us, that Exterminators put themselves in harm's way to protect. Was all of it just a facade? Some cheap veneer to cover bloodstained rot? We weren’t a utopia, I had never believed that; the Federation and Exterminators can’t be perfect. But Emerald Marble, Krakotl researchers, Tarlim’s imprisonment… These kinds of things are not accidents, and are not the work of a single person.
My mind drifted as I tried to understand why
, while my paws carried me back to the hotel. I didn’t take stock of my surroundings until I heard the familiar buzz of the Forum, and stopped a moment to listen.
“My cousin Mavek got into the JEOTC, you know! That kid’s going places!”
“Did you hear? Farzer’s son was diagnosed with predator disease.” --- “I always knew something was off about that boy.”
“I saw one of those freaks on the street.” --- “Another? Are you sure it was one of them?” --- “I saw the scars on their neck! There’s no doubt that they were from there!” --- “I still can’t believe that they would just throw all those monsters out on our streets.”
“No, really! I saw it!” --- “That’s a puddle of Speh! Nobody could live in those drain tunnels for so long!” --- “On my mother’s Star I saw
it! I think they’re hiding in there, working together; planning something!” --- “But they’re diseased! They don’t have the brains
to work together!”
“And now the landlords are trying to more than double our rent!” --- “Double?? But- but we’re barely making ends meet as it is!” --- “Look, there’s still time to negotiate the contract. In the meantime, I can get more double shifts in the lumber yard.”
“So I called the exterminators, but instead of setting out gas or poison, they bring out the flamers! An entire half of that reserve burnt to ash! Those things only had a couple years until they were ready to cut!” --- “What?! But that reserve was part of our finance plan! How are we going to pay the equipment loans when that forest’s harvest comes around?” --- “We’ll think of something. Brahk. It was a Groben root chewer! They shouldn’t burn the forest just ‘cause it bit a worker’s hand!” Of course: it's here too. How deep do I have to dig to see these things? Are they even buried at all?
I looked for and found a place to sit, then dug out my pad. Tarlim seemed surprised we didn’t know about him, but Alvi had, and she lived in the Capitol, so his lawsuit must have been televised. And he was right, all I had to search was ‘Dawn Creek correctional facility’ and I immediately found page after page of reports.
“A shame upon Corrections!”
“The secret drug trade of Dawn Creek”
“The failure of Dawn Creek’s Correctional Facility: Doing more harm than good.”
“Against the Herd
: The predators deserved it!”
“Venlil weakness on full display”
“The illegal modifications of proven therapy devices!”
I clicked on that last one, figuring it would be the most likely to describe even a little of what physically went on inside. And it did. My stomach turned over and my heart sank to meet it: pictures of empty cells, empty of inhabitants and beds and tables and light. An open bathroom that once was sterile now a splashed palate of grime and filth. A kitchen that no one should ever eat from, with food that defies definition.
And the therapy devices! The Herd Therapy room had a photo of the safe spot, one of the investigators standing inside for scale. The article said that the room would commonly take twelve but that circle looked like it was rated for half that! And the electronics for the floor… They were a nightmare! The voltage was shown to be half-again over the mandated amount!
Then I saw The Chair… it was too big. A massive crown of connectors for the head. Metal clamps for the limbs instead of cloth straps. Electric probes set apart that a normal Venlil would be too small to connect. There… there was only one person that could have been used on.
“My stars… Why had it taken so long for the Light to find this?” Maybe because it was never in shade?
‘Facility patient testimonials’. It took skipping three pages to get past all of Tarlim’s lawsuit, before I found another one. “This is the third week that I’ve been on latrine duty. Doctor Volm said it would teach me to value the herd. B-But I have to do it alone! I don’t understand…” Spoken from a patient of Clegel Falls Correctional Facility, followed immediately by the same Dr. Volm talking about how the diseased needed to learn their lesson with hard work. That the neglect was simply from a lack of staff. And the author sung the Doctor’s praises in their prose. Fine. If hard work is how you fix predator disease, then what is their success rate?
The patient name went nowhere, she testified while incarcerated and never left. But the author was prolific, and I found one story that followed a success case. Checking their name, four others were released with them, in addition to a pawful from around the planet. Perfect! I would be able to cross reference their names and find out what happened! Doing just that, I found other release records, but it was just the same names again. Ok… well if it is so successful, they must want everyone to know it! So finding lists of released persons shouldn’t be too hard. ‘Correctional facility release stories’... hmm, nope. ‘Correctional Facility successes’ - OH that is not what I meant. Brahk. Fine, how about ‘Dangerous predators released on the city’. There we go. There’s Dawn Creek again. Guess Tarlim wasn’t lying about setting everyone loose. Alright here we go. Let's check these names. There’s my twelve. And there they are again. And again. Why is this story eve- Wait. [Standardized Human Times: 2129? 2126? 2132]...? They’re just releasing the same list over and over! Were these people even patients?!
I checked each article detailing their release, and they couldn’t even get their diagnoses straight. Same issues: predator sympathizer was on every list, herdless behavior on most, excessive aggression on one or two, but they kept switching who had what. Ok, fine, just pick
Kaulna. The first article with her name mentioned predator sympathy, so start there. Treated at the Capitol… and Sweetwater? And
Glacierview?? They’re on opposite sides of the Band!! Sun blast it, fine, what about early life? Nothing about education. This ‘Kaulna’ is alive and well in Clegal… and four years old. Oh, one with a medal for honorable service?? No, He
died before my Kaulna’s first treatment. Alright let's try Chelm the… Gojid Harchen? Ok what about Tarsi… who has three single biological mothers in separate cities. Brahking spawn of speh! Stranek?! Anyone?! Please! Just one person! Just one person who got out who’s not- who’s not… There was one.
“My son was cured after we took him to the Facility. Only took a few paws to find the right sedative!” Wait, paws?
I altered my search. ‘Correctional sedatives’.
Tons of stories now appeared. New stories. A parent would bring a child in and they would get a sedative to correct the ‘disease’ the child had and be sent on their way. There were several results about such things happening on the Yotul homeworld. But… none of these people were actually interred in the facilities. I found a public list of inmates who were incarcerated in the Capitol in the last month and compared names with the parents talking about their kids.
The kids who returned weren’t on the list. The kids who didn’t… they were.
None of the kids who were on the list had any records of leaving. No record of someone leaving after checking in. Only… only… … Tarlim. I’m so sorry Tarlim.
I felt the wind around me as my legs sprinted back to the arcade. I shouldered through the door and kept running back to the food court, then bounded up the steps to our table, spurned again by the sound of Alvi crying.
“If what… They
do is a choice… what even is a predator?” I crested the top of the stairs, “What… what even is predator disease?”
I knew the answer. First
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2023.06.05 13:09 KooKooKangaRoo42 My Chiari Surgery Experience (Part II) - Emotional Effects
6/5/23 Update (Part II of my Amazing Chiari Recovery Tale): "The Cerebellum Ain't Just About Balance, Baby"
So I want to make something very clear. From here on out, I wouldn't consider this a typical Chiari recovery tale at all anymore. As far as I know, it is not usual to have this level of emotion regulation benefit from a Chiari Surgery. But... that doesn't mean it /can't/ happen. Because clearly it's happened for me.
If you watch Dr. Stieg's "This Is Your Brain Podcast: Chiari in Adults" (the same one that convinced me to drive to NYC for consultation with him: https://www.youtube.com/live/KyGGoA3Y2ko?feature=share
.... you'll see he takes questions at the end. And one of the questions he answers is about whether there are any big cognitive and emotional effects from Chiari. And he essentially says no -- unless there's hydrocephalus, water on the brain, being caused too, why whould there be? The cerebellum isn't really involved with higher cognitive and emotional stuff. It's more about the balance and all that. Of course, the stress and misery and anxiety of living with any chronic pain condition affects people's mental health. So certainly resolving the Chiari may still sort of indirectly help with their mental health in all sorts of very significant ways.
Ok. Fair enough. But here's where, if I were having an argument with him about this here and now (which I guess I am! Because that's apparently just how I am -- sorry, Dr. Stieg, intending no disrespect to your knowledge and authority -- you're the best!)... I would turn the same phrase he used with me in discussing my physical symptom resolution right back at him: "The proof is in the pudding." What he meant when he used that phrase was that, although of course we are going to do a follow-up MRI in a few months, and see how things stand, the imaging is not really important. The evidence is clear. I had the surgery, and all my physical problems (the crippling head aches and neck aches, the trouble choking on liquids and drooling, the numb/weak hands, episodes of dizziness, etc.) almost instantly resolved. We already know the surgery worked. I would say the proof is in the pudding about the drastic mental health/emotional changes I have experienced since the Chiari decompression as well.
So first, I guess I'm gonna have to get real with ya about the the psychiatric struggles. (Oh well. I never was that private of a person to start. I'll talk to just about anyone about just about anything. Always been that way.) So my struggles in this area, summarized:
I had my first bad episode of depression when I was about 13. There were definite stressors, and I would define it as the worst year of my life. Among the stressors, in brief: I was in 7th grade, first year of junior high. I was HORRIBLY bullied, harassed, and teased by the other kids. Mostly girls. They'd wait for me at my locker in mean girl gaggles, taunt and laugh at me throughout the halls, etc. It was *BAD*. Very bad. I can only speculate as to the reasons I got it so bad. I had gender-non-conforming interests. I hated wearing dresses and didn't like the stupid girl stuff I was supposed to care about. I liked Dungeons & Dragons and fighting video games and would rather hang out with my brother and his friends than any of the boring girls I knew. I kind of felt like I /was/ a boy, actually. No different from my brother. But needless to say, no one else really saw it that way. What they DID see... was that I was different, and not following the rules of what I was supposed to like and how I was supposed to act. And boy. The shit I got for it. Like I said... it was bad. They called me "The Thing" when they passed me in the halls ("Look at that THING! What is it? A boy or a girl? We don't know -- we'll just have to call it THING. Ha ha!"). They harassed and teased me about my breasts, because I was one of the first to develop ("There goes the goddess of puberty -- ha ha, goddess of puberty!") And, of course, I was smart - a nerd - always raising my hand to answer the questions in class - so that probably didn't help my popularity any either.
Anyway. No one ever stuck up for me. There were the kids who actively harassed me, and the ones who desperately avoided me to avoid being associated with me. I had no friends in the 7th grade. I had a few, back in the 6th. But lost them all when the 3 elementary schools got merged into the big junior high or whatever. Absolutely NO ONE thought it would be a good idea to associate with me. And so they didn't. It was SO bad, SO miserable, I thought about doing all kinds of crazy things to escape having to go back to school. Maybe... if I did something REALLY crazy, like stab my brother or something (who, by the way, I adored, but that was how desperate I was - like, you know, just a LITTLE stab wound, just for show) -- they'd just put me in a psych hospital or something and I'd never have to go back to school again? I obviously spent a lot of time thinking about killing myself. My mother ultimately ended up having to move me to an entirely different school because of the level of bullying. And it did help somewhat. (Also, the next year, I met my first boyfriend - which meant that I finally also had a friend - and it's no exaggeration to say that probably saved my life. We were inseparable for the next 3 years. He didn't care that I was a girl who kicked ass at Streetfighter. We spent our time playing Streetfighter together.)
13 was also the year my parents divorced. So like I said. A bad, bad year. And... I know that is about the time when I started to come emotionally off the rails and things changed for me. So I always sort of just assumed... that my brokenness was all the result of this social trauma I'd been through or what not. I mean, we all try to make sense of ourselves and our experiences somehow, through some sort of story, explanation. And that became my self-narrative.
Specifically, the sort of mental health struggles I ended up with were major emotion regulation issues. Like way exaggerated reactions to small things. High level of emotional reactivity, particularly rejection sensitivity, and high level of obsessive-compulsive level rumination and depression. Struggled with these things basically for life since, and always just assumed, well, that's how I am. Guess my experiences broke me, or maybe I was broken for birth. The way I tend to characterize myself in short-hand is as a "mini-borderline." (I'm a genuine licensed psychologist, so I can throw terms like that around if I want to!) And you can look up symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder if you're interested in learning more about that. But here is how I would qualitatively describe my problems:
A high level of emotional immaturity. It is like a 4-year-old child is running the show emotionally. And I can SEE it happening at the time (I have no problem with my higher cognitive functions!) -- I can no I am being ridiculous, over-reacting, being childish, whatever, but I unfortunately can't CONTROL that reaction. My stunted capacity for emotional regulation lost me a lot of friends. A lot of relationships. I was "too much" for a lot of people to deal with in that way. When I was sad, I was *TOO* intensely sad, boyfriends told me. SCARY sad. I was clingy. I was needy. I couldn't self-soothe. I hated being alone more than anything. My 4-year-old emotional self was always quivering in fear and always looking for somebody to save them. But there was never anybody around when they desperately needed that comfort and reassurance.
No problem with higher cognitive capacities. And was always of course embarrassed, ashamed, and so on for knowing there was something wrong with me and I wasn't able to function like other people in a "mature" emotional way. But I couldn't change it. Not after more than 10 years of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or Dialective Behavioral Therapy or insight-oriented therapy or trauma-based therapy. Not after trying a dozen different anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. I guessed it was just who I was. I guessed I was just too broken by my trauma history or whatever to ever really fix.
And that was the story I told myself. To make sense of who I was and why.
Only... what IF. It had never really been true. What if... there had been a pretty significant organic component the whole entire time? What if it had a little something to do with my brain sliding into my spinal canal and blocking CSF flow? Well... let's talk about the what-if.
In doing my week of deep-dive research into Chiari (since being diagnosed on 5/5/23, and meeting with Dr. Stieg for MRI review and consultation on 5/18), I learned a thing or two about Chiari
For example, I learned from Dr. Judy Hwang at Johns Hopkins https://youtu.be/xQjToJy4LO8
... that although Chiari is congenital, there is OFTEN a particular moment that people can remember that triggered their symptoms. That these are often things like head blows and whiplash. (Which, of course, makes total sense. The force of the incident made the herniation worse, or as she mentions, due to the Chiari the person probably doesn't have the natural reserve of CSF that they should bathing and protecting the brain either.
And I learned this. That there's a good amount of evidence to show the cerebellum ain't just about balance, baby: https://www.imrpress.com/journal/JIN/17/4/10.31083/j.jin.2018.04.0414/htm "Recently, different studies have provided evidence that the presence of cerebellar degeneration or stroke may involve cognitive deficits beyond motor impairment, including the ability to form concepts and other language disorders [1, 2], impairment in executive functions , and visuospatial deficits , accompanied in many cases by a regressive personality, and emotional lability or dramatic mood swings." [...] "cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome described by Schmahmann and Sherman  as characterized by the following: (a) Disturbances of executive function, including deficient planning, set-shifting, abstract reasoning, working memory, and decreased verbal fluency, (b) Impaired spatial cognition, including visuospatial disorganization and impaired visuospatial memory, (c) Linguistic difficulties, including dysprosodia, agrammatism, and mild anomia, and (d) Personality change, characterized by flattening or blunting of affect, and disinhibited or inappropriate behavior. [...] Personality changes include flattening or blunting of affect, disinhibited behaviors, such as over-familiarity, flamboyance, impulsive actions, humorous but inappropriate and flippant comments, regressive, childlike behaviors, and obsessive-compulsive traits."
Now, far be it from me to gain-say personal hero and actual expert in the field Dr. Philip Stieg (those who know me are probably laughing -- I am the sort of person who will argue with anyone about anything. KIND of a favorite personal hobby, and at times a bit annoying, as I'm sure my family and friends would attest). I know he said in that lecture that Chiari wouldn't be expected to have significant cognitive or emotional effects unless hydrocephalus was also at play.
And maybe this is all just simple, 100% placebo effect. And the seemingly miraculous benefits will all fade away soon. I'm just sayng... since waking up from my Chiari surgery, my mood has been wonderful. Calm, happy. No more depression, anxious rumination, weird obsessive-compulsive fixations... I kept assuming, of course, that this was just a temporary effect of pain medications, or muscle relaxant medications, or steroids, or SOMETHING. Maybe the steroids had triggered a hypomanic high, as the body's hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis was working on straightening itself back out. Maybe it was just the VAST, VAST relief of pretty much all the physical pain and problems that had been torturing me for the past 7 years suddenly being gone. I mean, obviously a mood this great wasn't actually going to LAST. Right? But nice to enjoy it while it does, anyway. I literallly called my first week after surgery "magical." My magical week. Emotionally calm and happy in a way I literally could not remember EVER having experienced. Sure, my neck and skull had been split open and hurt a little. But I honestly didn't care. I just felt so overall good. And DIFFERENT, emotionally. And it manifested in all kinds of little ways
I told you about my 4-year-old child emotional part. Always needy and scared. It's practically like I have no sense of object-permanence - like within a few days of a friend being out of sight, I can't even be sure that they exist anymore. And so that causes a lot of issues for me with this one particularly close friend of ours. He's not really a caller or a texter or a stay in touch type. Which has caused me all kinds of misery and struggles, because of my own emotional deficits and neediness. But.... from the moment I woke up from surgery. I didn't /have/ that constant quivering 4-year-old fear anymore. I knew this friend was my friend and cared about me. I knew I'd seem him again soon, even if not right then. It was completely, competely different. Another example -- weird obsessive-compulsive stuff around eating. I would often be petrified with fear, due to this overpowering conviction that if I got too fat, no one would love me anymore. I'd do weird highly unhealthy restricted eating and over-exercising things when I got into that mode because I was just so fixated on it and terrified about it. Another 5 lbs, and maybe no one would be capable of loving me anymore.
I noticed immediately after the Chiari surgery I had no concerns about it. I was able to eat when I was hungry without any worry at all. I knew people would love me whether I was fat or not. It had nothing to do with whether my friends (or my husband) loved me. I could just like... eat like a normal person without worrying about it at all. As much as I wanted. Whenever I was hungry. So nice, right???
So even though I warned myself not to get ahead of myself, and that these were probably just temporary effects of feeling a whole hell of a lot of instant pain relief... as the days passed... and passed... and I remained content and happy and basically didn't have ANY of my former mental health struggles at all... I began to wonder if something else had really been going on here all along. And thinking back, and back, on when my real mood regulation difficulties first began. Age 13. And what Dr. Judy Hwang had said about trauma. About a lot of people being able to recall a particular trauma -- head blow, whiplash -- around the time their symptoms began. And then I remembered something that I'd never even told Dr. Stieg about my history -- because it hadn't fit the personal narrative I'd created, right, of my own emotional struggles, and I'd kind of forgotten about it.
I *did* have my first traumatic brain injury at age 13. My family was frolicking at a winter party and we foolishly decided it would be a good idea to try to navigate this metal canoe down this steep icy hill as a sled. We hit a tree. I hit my head and was have thrown out. I was unconcious and seizing on the ground. I had a bit of a headache and concussion afterward, but doc said I could count down by 7s, and was probably fine.
What if I had Chiari to start, and it was worse herniated by the TBI, and *that* is why all the real emotional struggles began for me at that time? And what if it had been this cognitive-affective cerebellar syndrome thing *ALL* the goddamned time, my whole entire life since? I've had MORE trauma since, whiplash from car accident in recent years, so that could again explain a worsening of herniation and rapid escalation of symptoms in recent years.
Another thing I wonder about is my severe visual-spacial deficits. I am one of those people who can drive a route every day, a thousand times, and still need a GPS to get there. I have a true disability in that regard. I wonder if that has anything to do with the Chiari. I wonder if that should have been a clue all along to the organic nature of the problem
So I am still thinking, and processing, and exploring, and figuring out.
But the excting upshot is, it really DOES appear so far that the Chiari surgery solved not only all my PHYSICAL problems... but emotional problems I'd been struggling with since the age of 13 as well.
Here's another thing in favor of a cerebellar cognitive-affective syndrome being a significant cotributing cause toward my emotional regulation issues. Let's look at what happened with my mood the first week post-surgery:
Day 1 (5/24): (immediately after waking up from surgery)
A little lability. That night at dinner, I cried because I couldn't get the food cart slid over enough over the hospital bed to eat without dropping two pieces of saucy pasta on my night shirt, and couldn't move my neck more forward to eat because of the surgery. (My husband solved the problem by holding the plate close to my mouth while I ate. Thanks, dear. After food I felt better.
Day 2 (5/25): Wonderful mood
Day 3 (5/26): Wonderful mood
Day 4 (5/27): Wonderful mood
Day 5 (5/28): Wonderful mood
Day 6 (5/29): Wonderful mood
Day 7 (5/30): Wonderful mood
Day 8 (5/31): Wonderful mood.
So 8 days of consecutive great mood and none of my typica emotional issues or struggles.
BUT then... we have Day 9. 6/1. When I started to feel really terrible. In all the ways I /usually/ feel terrible again. Here's an excerpt I was writing to my friend about it: "Well, first major downturn in mood last night at about 10:30 pm. I guess I am still me. And Chiari surgery didn’t fix EVERYTHING. I was feeling *SO* good for a few days I guess I must have left my hopes get a little unrealistically high." Back to pacing, crying, agitated, depressive rumination, feeling that nobody loved me. Like I'd always felt before. Assumed that was going to be the end of my "magical" post-surgery week.
Except that... it WASN'T the end of my happy mood bubble. I continued feeling pretty good every day since then. But you know what WAS different that night? The one night I felt so terrible? I'd apparently developed a strep infection. So that gets you thinking, doesn't it? An infection, causing maybe some swelling... and triggering a return to symptoms like I had always had before. Strep was treated with antibiotics and my mood has continued to be wonderful since, with no returns to the old emotional troubles since. No depresssion, my extreme mood reactivity, no anxious panicky feelings of friends "disappearing" when they are out of my side. Just a seemingly full and complete ability to emotionally process as an adult rather than a 4-year-old.
So. Could all those emotion regulation problems REALLY just have been the result of cerebellar cognitive-affective syndrome? What story do I tell myself now? About why I have always been the way I have... and how that has suddenly so drastically changed?
And kind of drastic it is. Let me give you an example of my typical emotional functioning before Chiari surgery was like.
Strep/swollen brain night (old brain): "Boo hoo, I have no friends, my friend's aren't talking to me, nobody loves me, I have no friends, no cards." Followed by rantic pacing and crying. I then proceeded to send one of my dearest friends an e-mail accusing him of wishing I had died or clearly not caring at all if I had. (Clingy, terrified 4-year-old clearly driving the emotional truck. It is embarrassing, the way that 4-year-old acts. But I could never control it.
And then here, for point of comparison, is my emotional functioning AFTER Chiari surgery: (once I got the strep infection sorted) New Chiari-fixed brain: "Wow. I should probably let all my friends know what's going on." Proceeds to email 15 friends and tell them what is going on, receiving lots of instant emails and concern and support from everyone and one particularly impressive get well bouquet.
It seems like it iso much easier for me to function like a reasonable, emotionally mature adult and process emotional information appropriately. Now that brain is no longer falling down my spine. And I guess that's really maybe not so suprising, right??
So overall, I continue to be amazed and delighted by the results of my surgery. But there is really a LOT to process here. I feel like a whole brand new person, a Version 2.0. I hope my friends like the new me! It is definitely going to take some time to get to know this new me myself. But don't get me wrong -- I totally can't wait to get started!!
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2023.06.05 05:47 EzekialX Vulturebeard: Bad Roomies Part 3
Part 1: https://www.reddit.com/ReddXReads/comments/13lfqkw/vulturebeard_the_legbeard_that_ruined_roomies_fo Part 2: https://www.reddit.com/ReddXReads/comments/13u79ht/vulturebeard_bad_roomies_part_2/ Hi again, it’s the bunny. I’ve just barely stepped into Reddx’s discord, but Ezekial is still posting this saga for me so thank you, Z. Trigger warning: This will deal with a lot of aspects relating to child neglect (and possible abuse) and Kid being ignored or taking the brunt of Vulture’s anger. Sorry for the spoiler as well, but I think we saw this coming, too (especially if you’ve seen Z talk in the discord). Don’t push yourself to read if you’re not okay with these concepts. The Cast List Bunny (author)
: 33, female. Recovering lifelong doormat slowly building a spine. Neuro spicy gym rat with major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, and most recently diagnosed with ADHD. Unfortunately, very familiar with surviving trauma. Z (poster)
: My partner. 31, nonbinary (they/them), also neuro spicy with depression, anxiety, OCD, BPD, autism, and also familiar with lifelong trauma. One Liner Beard (OLB)
: 33, male, neuro spicy with ADHD and depression. His nickname here comes from the fact that in messenger, he usually has one-word replies like “oof” or “mmm” as an acknowledgement he had seen the message but has nothing further to contribute. VultureBeard (Vulture)
: 30, female, neuro spicy and disabled with multiple conditions. She has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, POTs (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), autism, depression, anxiety, chronic migraines, but also possibly a list of things that may or may not be real. The star of this unfortunate circus. Her name comes from how she always pops up when I’m cooking food, complaining about how hungry is and how she’s unable to cook. Kid
: 3. Female. OLB and Vulture’s child. Likely neuro spicy like we all are, but she’s also only 3 years old. Slightly speech delayed and not potty trained yet. Take a deep breath. Now take another one. This chapter will likely make you mad.
Chapter Three: “Do You Want Bologna?” Or, Vulture as a Parent Imagine this
: it’s eight in the morning and you’re cozy in bed. The blankets are warm, and you hit snooze on your early alarm so you can sleep in before you have to get up.
Your peace is shattered by a toddler crying, followed by the screech of, “WHAT!”
or “GET DOWN FROM THERE!”
Yeah, welcome to The Life
Vulture has a messed-up sleep schedule. It’s partially because Kid doesn’t sleep soundly through the night, but it’s also because Vulture’s sleep schedule is essentially flipped backwards to where she stays up all night and wants to sleep during the day. Vulture says it’s “insomnia” but sometimes she’s up late gaming with Discord friends or watching anime. I couldn’t tell you which issue it was day by day. Sometimes if I go to sleep late, I hear Kid crying from her room because she had night terrors or had potty troubles. Sometimes I hear OLB and Vulture awake shuffling between rooms in the hallway.
Because of this, Vulture and mornings don’t mesh well. Kid is usually put in her room for bedtime around 7 PM, usually with her tablet to keep her company and either give her something to watch, or to play white noises for sleeping. Kid does not have a real sleep routine as well. She’s just kind of shut in her room. Sometimes there’s a bit of a routine like winding her down with chocolate milk and giving her a countdown of “okay, ten more minutes and then bedtime,” but for the most part she just does not want to go to bed. Bedtimes are met with a lot of crying, and the beardy parents telling us that she will be upset for a bit.
Kid has an attempted daily schedule, if Vulture is awake enough. Theoretically
- 9 AM: Awake and watching TV while Vulture is on her computer in the same room
- 1 PM: In the room for naptime (but it’s usually play time)
- 4 PM: Free to run around while dad is home
- 7 PM: Bedtime (but she’s usually playing then too)
But a lot of times, that schedule gets thrown out of whack depending on if Vulture gets up on time. When she sleeps in, Kid is in her room from 7 PM to 1 PM. Sometimes Kid will make a fuss to make Vulture get up earlier than 1 PM, and Vulture will be grouchy because she “went to bed at four in the morning” because she either had “insomnia” (read: gaming or watching anime) or because Kid wouldn’t sleep. Or Vulture will be up to take care of Kid and make sure she is in a clean pull up and has eaten. Then she shuts her into her room and goes back to sleep. Sometimes if Kid is too much of a handful, Vulture will say, “It’s 12:45. That’s close enough to 1.” And put Kid in the room because that’s close enough to nap time.
Sometimes because Kid won’t go to sleep, she’ll still be up at 9 PM and that breaks her schedule too. A lot of times, it works out that OLB is the “fun” parent while he’s home, because he’s up at 4 AM to leave for work by 6 and doesn’t come home until between 4 or 5 PM. Then she spends time with him while he’s home.
There’s also a child lock on the inside of Kid’s bedroom door, those doorknob covers that you have to push and turn, so she can’t open the door and wander around unsupervised. I was originally the one who suggested the child lock, back when she was younger, and they didn’t have the secondary child gate they currently do now that’s stored in the garage. Since then, with her potty training and Vulture’s likewise awful sleep schedule, I’ve suggested more than once that they take the door handle blocker off and put up the second kiddy gate they have to block the living room and kitchen off, so she can get up if she needs to, but the child lock still remains. At most, she would have access to their room, since it doesn’t have a kiddy lock on it. Me and Z’s bedroom has a child lock on it, as well as the bathroom door. She could freely wander between her room and her parents’ room that way.
I hear Kid playing in her room by herself a lot
, squealing and having fun and playing pretend. Or moving her furniture around. And no, the furniture is not secured to the wall, so she can move her bed around the room. I’ve also told OLB and Vulture they needed to make sure she can’t topple it and chain it to the wall but, yeah, that hasn’t been dealt with.
When Kid really needs attention, she will cry and wail. And I mean wail
. The two beardy parents don’t have baby monitors or anything that can hear into her bedroom, so she has to wail loudly enough to be heard through the walls. Luckily, the house has thin walls. Because of her early bedtime, she’s often awake early in the morning. Sometimes Vulture will respond, sometimes Vulture won’t wake up until around noon. Yes, that means Kid is by herself a lot.
Kid is a bubbly three-year-old. She loves it when Z and I give her attention, which admittingly isn’t as often as I would like to give her. With my own Depression™
, I spend so much time fighting to just gather enough mental energy to be a productive human. Despite me wandering in a mental fog, Kid remains a bright spot in my day. I met her when she was a fresh baby bean just barely out of the hospital, and I immediately fell in love. Since then, I’ve seen her grow almost her whole life, except for when they were all in north Texas. She has blue eyes and brown hair that will curl on its own. She loves dinosaurs, Baby Shark, Octonauts, and occasionally whatever anime the parents are watching. Don’t ask me how many times I’ve heard the Baby Shark song. I don’t want it stuck in my head for another solid week.
She used to watch a lot of Ms. Rachel’s Songs For Little videos, because originally Vulture wanted Kid to learn sign language to help communicate. I’ve rarely seen Vulture attempt to upkeep the sign language lessons. She did at one point. I think after Kid started becoming more vocal, the idea was dropped. I have heard some of the familiar videos so often that even I learned the kid’s songs, but I guess that’s also part of the collateral when dealing with kid’s media.
Kid usually exists in a half-dressed state, usually just wearing a pull up and that’s it. Unfortunately, because Vulture is so hard on her tangles when she tries to brush her hair, Kid doesn’t like hair care and will fight being brushed. Her hair used to exist in a perpetual state of being matted with at least one major knot, until Vulture’s mom ended up giving her a bath and getting her to stay still enough to endure the brushing, even with the wailing of a protesting Kid going strong. Her hair was then cut to make it more manageable, and strangely, that fixed a lot of the matting problems.
Kid is let out of her room when Vulture wakes up, usually needing a diaper change. At three years old, Kid is not potty trained yet. Just from what I’ve heard from my bedroom, it sounds like OLB and Vulture are finally starting to step up on potty training, but it’s been an uphill fight. I know a few of my other parent friends have had an extremely hard time potty training their kid. I’m not a parent, so I don’t actually know how challenging it can be. I do know though that it shouldn’t sound like the toilet is some kind of punishment for peeing in her cloth panties that they’re trying to switch her to. Or, that they try to get her to sit on the toilet when she has no interest in it and she ends up throwing a tantrum. Unfortunately, without much context, that’s how some bathroom trips sound.
Kid wears pull-ups to bed and the cloth underwear during the day, or sometimes just pull-ups. They’re trying to teach her how to recognize when her body has the potty urge, which she still doesn’t quite get right now. She has literally peed on the tile floor through her cloth undies. Vulture messaged the house chat once saying, “Kid just lifted her leg while in the rolling chair and peed all over the floor.
You know. Like a dog
With the potty-training trouble and Kid only sometimes in pull-ups that can contain her mess, Z and I don’t let her into our room as often as we’d like to, because she doesn’t recognize when she has to go. It sucks, because Kid adores spending time with us and our room has cool animals, like my retired psychiatric service dog and our three ferrets. She loves the ferrets. But if we spend time out in the living room with everyone, Z’s patience tends to have a shorter fuse because they can’t stand Vulture (that’s also another tale I have
). We’re also stuck out in the general mess of the living room if we are out there with her. It’s either the general mess that toddlers make, spilled food, and general filth. The best times we’ve had spending time with Kid is just chilling in our room as she ooh’s and ahh’s
over the ferrets or watches TV with us. Z and I quote SpongeBob line by line daily, and she has watched some of the show with us.
I feel awful about shutting Kid out so much, when I see the way Vulture interacts with her. On Vulture’s bad days (if you read the previous post, that’s almost every day), she acts like Kid is a chore. She will snap at Kid, act like Kid is choosing to act out of maliciousness and make “tired mom” jokes that sound like she just flat out doesn’t like Kid. When I had liquor in the fridge, Vulture would ask if she could take a shot because, “I need it. She’s trying me today.
Some choice quotes talking down about the kid:
“I’m being hard on her because she’s not using her words. Like I know she can. She just doesn’t want to.
” This was what Vulture said to me after Kid kept trying to get her attention and wouldn’t explain what she wanted. Kid was just making noises at her and getting frustrated. Vulture full on shouted, “WHAT!
” at her, then turned to me to try and explain why she shouted.
“This is the bad part about being a mom. She’s not letting me do anything right now.
” This was said after Vulture cleaned her desk and was attempting to watch YouTube videos and play her Switch.
On her good days, Vulture will be that kind of smiling parent that does some art activities and engages with Kid in a way that’s more than just screaming. They color together. She offers Kid choices so Kid can have some control over what happens in her day, like, “Do you want bologna or fruit?
” It has helped Kid become more vocal and even though she’s still speech delayed, she talks more and has a bigger vocabulary.
The house has a different atmosphere when OLB is home, compared to when Vulture is just watching Kid by herself. I’ve told OLB that I think Vulture is burned out. Her entire life is her disabilities and being a mom. She only has friends on Discord really, and OLB had to push her to start talking to them again just so she had someone to socialize with.
Old Doormat me pitied her at the beginning of our friendship. I tried being her friend. I tried to include her and Kid in a lot of things. My own mental health, my daily obligations, my gym schedule, and just me changing rapidly since 2020 altered my life, exhausted me, and left me unable to deal with Vulture talking a million miles a minute, info dumping about whatever she’s currently doing every single time I run into her. And as I shed my doormat self, I started seeing her clearly.
I told OLB once that if Vulture is truly burned out or if her health problems are causing that much trouble, Kid might need daycare or another caregiver to help. OLB is aware but can’t afford other care. He’s working for bottom of the barrel pay at a full-time job. Most days after work, he just wants to zone out to his own games in front of his computer but has to step in and parent both Vulture and Kid, because Vulture often needs help organizing through executive dysfunction to do something. Or, because she will call for his help.
There was one time where Kid climbed on top of her, and Vulture called for OLB – who was in the same room – to pull Kid off her. There are quite a few times where Vulture calls for OLB for help with Kid, and I’ve heard him say that he’s also busy too. One time he asked, “Why are you asking for my help when you’re closer?
Z has offered to look after Kid at times because they don’t mind Kid being in our room or just hanging out. She has hung out with us when I also have the mental energy and the room is clean enough to accommodate a toddler crawling on everything. The problem that we both see is that our stepping in isn’t a full solution. She can spend a few hours with us, but ultimately after, she goes right back to Vulture and OLB. Vulture is the one who acts like being a parent is a chore.
There are times that OLB has snapped at Vulture for the way she gets on to Kid, emphasizing, “She’s just a child.
” Their parenting styles are like looking at two entirely different planets and trying to find similarities. OLB is very much into the gentle parenting side of Tik Tok. He talks about breaking generational trauma. He’s usually gentle with Kid, explaining why she’s not allowed to do things like stand on top of her highchair or why I’m too busy to play with her as I’m zooming around the house in and out repeatedly some days. He has talked her down from meltdowns and keeps his voice even to where she can’t bounce off him to amplify her tantrums. He spanks her, but as a last resort, and then also talks to her about why the punishment happened. She will wail through everything and likely isn’t fully listening, but ultimately, I see him trying to work with her. He very rarely loses his actual temper with her.
Vulture is the total opposite. She yells at Kid, spanks with no hesitation and doesn’t explain why. One of Kid’s favorite games to play is “Block the door
” when I’m trying to get through the house. She will block my bedroom door, cling to me, then circle around me as Vulture or OLB tries to distract her or lure her away by asking “do you want chocolate
” or some other treat. Sometimes Kid just likes to play ring-around-the-rosie around my legs, as her parents try to grab her. I try to make it fun and seem like I’m not mad at her, because I’m never actually mad at her for blocking my way. Usually, I’m just in the middle of some arbitrary task or running an errand or coming back from the gym with my one remaining brain cell barely hanging on for dear life. I try to engage with her and play it off as a game because she’s not actually doing anything wrong.
Vulture has lured her away with chocolate and treats, with offers of food, with trying to get her to pick a show to watch. If that fails, she will come and fetch Kid by hand. One time involved yanking her physically off me and spanking her on the bare bottom because Kid was happy playing a game instead of listening.
The bare bottom is a thing, too. Because Kid used to live in soiled diapers for much longer than she was supposed to, she had constant diaper rash that she had to see the doctor for sometimes. She also didn’t want OLB or Vulture to change her diapers and would scream when it was diaper change time. I don’t blame her. The diaper rash hurt, and Vulture wasn’t exactly gentle with changing. Kid bled sometimes with the changings. So now, sometimes Kid will be dressed like Donald Duck in only a top to air out her bottom. Or because now, with the cloth undies, she will pee straight through them, and they just let her air out after.
Kid always smells a bit like pee. So does her room. And her bedding. After I pointed out that her bedding straight out of the dryer smelled like urine, OLB went about cleaning the washing machine with a machine cleaner, and bought scent beads to help cut the smell, after I told him that a little vinegar in the wash load will cut the smells down. Now her bedding doesn’t smell so much like urine, but it’s still there.
Her bedroom frequently smells like a public bathroom. It always looks like her bedroom has been turned upside down, with toys everywhere, her bed pushed to the middle of the room, the mattress on the floor. Books she was given were shredded, even the cardboard ones. There was straight up garbage left in her room because she was given food to eat there that had wrappers. It usually takes Vulture a full day of cleaning to get the room organized when she had the energy to do it, but she usually sanitizes with just a baby wipe, if she does at all. Maybe a pet cleaner sometimes.
There was one time where I was letting the dogs outside and I stepped in a puddle on the tile floor. That was when I realized that it was a pee puddle and Kid’s cloth underwear was dripping. I asked Vulture to clean the puddle up. When she asked to use my steam mop, she didn’t clean the cloth pad after, so when I turned the mop on next, it smelled like hot, steamed urine. I had to clean the mop pad off myself and rinse the pee out of it. When Kid again peed in front of the TV in her cloth undies, I told OLB that if they’re going to use my steam mop to make sure that the mop pad is rinsed off or it will smell like pee the next time it’s used, but he said he was just going to use his mop and bucket. Thankfully.
Because of the diet that OLB and Vulture has, Kid also eats like them. She gets a lot of macaroni, a lot of random odds and ends like pieces of bread, baggies of cheerios, sometimes fruit and vegetables. Lots of chicken nuggets and frozen instant food. Occasionally, Kid will have an interest in vegetables she sees us cook with or that she’s never had. Like once she insisted that she wanted to eat canned peas, until she tasted them. She chewed on a lettuce leaf and put it down, then asked for another one because she wanted to eat something, and it looked tasty to her.
The two halves of the household make separate foods now and keep out of each other’s food, but sometimes Vulture will give Kid some of the food I cooked because Kid saw my spaghetti noodles in a bowl and insisted on having them by way of tantrum. Instead of asking me if it’s okay (which obviously, I’d say yes, Kid can have some), Vulture just gave her my food and then told me after. Maybe I’m just projecting my own frustration, but it feels like Vulture uses Kid as a shield sometimes, to get food. Unless I have a specific purpose for food like what I put in my meal prep containers, I wouldn’t say no to Kid.
Kid’s diet makes me worried for her as she grows up. OLB is big and tall, over 6 feet tall and over 300lbs. They aren’t an active family at all. Kid drinks soda when they get fast food. She eats as much processed food as Vulture. Right now, she’s growing like a weed and is tall and actually has some power in her tiny limbs, which is most noticeable when she climbs you like a ladder, but her parents are gamers that just sit around. Her own screen time is almost as lengthy as theirs is.
I worry about Kid, constantly. Z does too. We have theorized calling CPS, or trying to adopt her, or just getting her away from Vulture. We have thrown around ideas about talking to OLB and convincing him that Vulture isn’t a good person for Kid. A lot of it has stayed in theory because the anxious part of me is still afraid to make life-altering waves like that. I second-guess and gaslight myself into realizing how bad things are, but then telling myself, maybe I’m just blowing it out of proportion. Maybe it's just something they have to handle. Maybe it’s something a first-time parent needs to learn. Maybe Vulture just isn’t feeling good that day. Maybe, maybe, maybe
It’s a leftover of the doormat I used to be, and I know that. The tiny fragment of anxiety that tells me I’m blowing things up into too big a deal. The tiny fragment that escaped a toxic marriage and just wants peace after arguing every single day. The side that hates confrontation.
Maybe I’m just a plain ol’ coward. I don’t know yet. I just know my patience is running thinner with every passing day
I don’t think I could convince OLB to dump Vulture. From what I’ve seen on the surface, they’re not openly affectionate. Vulture complains all the time that OLB doesn’t give her any physical affection, and she (unfortunately
) tells me when they’re intimate, which doesn’t sound often. They almost look like they could be friends that are co-parenting. She calls him her husband when they’re out in public, and OLB has stated that he doesn’t want anything to happen to her, because he doesn’t want a single parent. I assume at the very least that he does love her, even though he sounds exhausted all the time. Z and I wonder if maybe he feels trapped.
OLB is good at asking for help if he needs it, although he hates being a burden to others. He will speak up if Vulture needs a ride to a doctor’s office, and he forgot to leave the car seat at home. I’ve driven to his work to pick it up after he messaged me asking if I could. They ask his family to babysit Kid if they want to go out and just have a good date or see a movie together. They are clearly capable of asking for help.
This is just an acceptable standard for both, or at least that’s the way it seems to me. Sometimes, I don’t truly know if OLB is aware of what Vulture does while he’s at work. He didn’t know that she used his 11-year-old dog as a vacuum cleaner to clean up spilled table scraps until I pointed it out and then he pieced together why his dog wasn’t losing weight on a reduced kibble diet. Sometimes I have pointed out things to him that he might not notice in the house chat.
I started keeping a log in Google Docs about things I notice, and Z and I talk about it in discord, so it’s not heard by ears that are too close to our bedroom. The log started helping me see that I’m not just blowing out of proportion and that in turn helped me come here to reddit. As a former doormat in recovery, I still have to tell myself that it’s okay to realize that something is wrong, and that I may need help getting my voice to speak up.
I haven’t worked since 2017, when my mental health took a sharp nosedive. Z is currently looking for work. Both of us are home all day exposed to Vulture and how she treats Kid. With my own daily tasks, errands, struggling with mental health, there’s still a side of me that berates me that I need to be taking care of Kid. Getting her up, making sure she eats. Pestering Vulture to get up. This is also where I tangle with the former doormat that still lives in me, because one, I don’t want to enable Vulture to get even worse. With someone taking the burden off of her, that gives her more free time to just sit back and game. It isn’t my job to make sure that Vulture is a good parent, yet somehow, I feel like it’s also my fault that she’s as bad as she is while I sit by the wayside and just talk about her behind her back. There are times where I have pestered OLB through discord about Kid crying, or how Kid is trying to beat the door down, or asking if Vulture is up for the day because I haven’t seen her up at three in the afternoon.
I started speaking up when I noticed something that’s off. I call this the “cheese incident
.” We had a block of cheese that was cut in the wrapper and not in anything else, so the exposed end got all hard and inedible. I cut it off and threw it away. Vulture made her way into the kitchen because Kid saw me cutting cheese and wanted some. Vulture
: Who threw away that cheese? (SHE PICKS IT UP OUT OF THE TRASH CAN) Me
: Yeah, it’s got that hard bit Vulture
: So? I know someone who will eat it. (She calls Kid over) Me
: But it was in the trash. Vulture
: It’s okay, I cut off the part that was touching the trash. Me
: Dude, that’s fucked up. Vulture
: (hesitating now) Should I not? Me
: That’s probably going to make her sick again. (Kid has been sick back-to-back at this point) Vulture
: Okay, then I won’t. (To this day, I don’t know if she threw the cheese away or ate it herself, and I’m afraid to ask)
That was the point where I started pointing out that what she’s doing is problematic. It’s a slow process, but it’s helped me put the doormat side of me away again. I’ve explained to Vulture that Kid isn’t crying to be malicious, she just can’t express what she wants. Especially with Kid’s speech delay!
Kid gets frustrated fast when adults don’t understand her, and the wailing begins. There’s no maliciousness behind it, just frustration. Or how Kid doesn’t like being told “no” because she doesn’t always understand why. Strangely, every time I call something out, she doesn’t really have much of a fight against it. But why am I having to say it in the first place?
There’s little things that just rub me the wrong way in how they interact. Sometimes Vulture will call Kid over in the same way you’d call a dog. Repeatedly
. Sometimes Vulture, in a state of migraine or other illness-related grouchiness will scream at her “Leave me alone!
” and OLB will have to fetch Kid. One time, Z told me that Vulture outright mocked her crying by making her own crying noise.
What’s awful to watch in person is that when Vulture’s mom or siblings are over, Vulture is suddenly a doting mom who isn’t perpetually exhausted or loudly complaining about how her “everything
” hurts. She talks in an overly sweet voice to Kid. It unsettles me with how two-faced it seems. OLB, Vulture, and Kid go have dinner with OLB’s family every Sunday evening, and I can’t help but wonder how two-faced she is there, as well. Some of OLB’s family doesn’t like Vulture to begin with.
Slowly, I am losing patience at how Vulture behaves, especially with the Kid. I had to un-gaslight myself, start logging her behavior, and talk to other people to really see it for what it was. I told multiple friends about it and we all generally have the same consensus that Vulture is just an unfit parent. If her chronic illnesses are truly interfering with her life that much, she shouldn’t be the majority caregiver through the day. But it’s not like OLB would be able to work from home or be the stay-at-home parent. In a perfect world, I would be able to help more as well, but I’m barely the “fun
” aunt. I’m barely equipped to help care for a three-year-old. Hell, most days I’m barely an actual person. Kid deserves better.
Bottom line, Kid deserves better than what this house can give. I am upset with myself over my lack of action, but the logs have only been growing bigger. Every day, the doormat dies a little more.
Vulture herself though, will likely always be a side show. One thing that Z pointed out to me was that, as the doormat I used to be, I would give everything to help someone even when I was mentally exhausted. I enmeshed myself too much into the lives of my friends because I loved making them happy and making their lives easier. It’s gotten me into some awkward territory with Vulture, because some things were interpreted as more than friendship.
You ready to cringe more? Because the next part is going to deal with polyamory, the desire for open relationships, and the main reason why Z despises her – and that’s putting it mildly. Take a moment to un-cringe yourself. It ain’t over yet.
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2023.06.05 05:13 Nickompoop27 Link
2023.06.05 00:54 Bro-zilian I am going to give a lecture about methodologies for teaching the English language (applied linguistics), but..
Well, I am applying for a job at a university and I need to give a 30-minute speech about methodologies for teaching the English language. However, I have no clue how to start my presentation. I know about some methods such as audiolingual, direct method, communicative approach etc. But I still need some authors to support my presentation. Can you recommend some easy-reading articles about this topic? Maybe some authors who research about it or something from applied linguistics can make my presentation interesting? I am thankful for any help.
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2023.06.04 22:48 Feamelwen A Practical Guide to Daedra Worship
Hey there! Want to worship the Daedra, but don't know where to start?
This is my personal interpretation of what each Prince represents and some tips for the Oblivion novitiate. Your milleage may vary.
And with the help of Oblivion, may each day be sacred.
AZURA – The Prince of Introspection and Liminality
Azura has many spheres of influence, but most of them – prophecy, Moonsugar, Twilight and Dawn, vanity and egotism, beauty, magic, mystery, being the “Rim of all Holes” and “She who sits at the precipice”, giving the Khajiit their changing forms - have two things in common : a turn towards oneself and one's internal contents (as opposed to being turned towards the outward world), and a constant presence in the transitory, the uncertain, the unknown, the changing.
In every state where the mind is far away from the concerns of the everyday – prophecy, meditation, casting of magic, transcendence through the contemplation of beauty – the Moonshadow presides and facilitates visions, reflection, contemplation, introspection, ecstasy and hightened emotions (which Azura seems to require of her followers).
Azura is the figure at every threshold or gate to the other side, standing there, arms outstretched, beconing to cross and to find knowledge, beauty, a different state of mind, or an even deeper mystery. Azura knows that it's mystery all the way down, and yet, the infinite search has its own beauty.
It is no wonder that the Khajiit, the people whose entire culture is based on Moonsugar and who embrace their changing forms and inherent instability, are closely linked to Azura, who is their creator and psychopomp. On the other hand, the Dunmer need Azura to counterbalance their more rigid structures and hierarchies with a little bit of magic, even if their relationship to the Prince is complicated.
Azura's link to the Moons is a part of her subtlety. Like the moon, she's always changing and revealing new facets of herself, and in her reflection, we can find new facets of ourselves as well.
The rose, a symbol of many things, is also a symbol of mystery and secret, and Azura, the Mother of the Rose, smiles on the adventurers of the inner worlds.
Suggestion of a worship practice : get high with the psychedelic drug of your choice and write a prophecy for yourself. Don't be shy. Write everything you wish and hope for yourself, everything you see like happening, maybe even everything you fear. Go wild with illustrations, poetry, eternal doom, heavenly bliss, or a simple list, whatever you prefer. Hide the prophecy. One year later, read it again and ponder what made you wish for whatever you wished for. Do you still wish for it? Are there new wishes? Maybe new fears? You can make a new, complementary prophecy, or rewrite the old one.
Thank Azura for the treasures within.
BOETHIAH – The Prince of Conflict and Self-Determination
Boethiah is often described as cruel and deceitful, a master of schemes and plots, and those things are a part of them, but not the whole story, nor the core concept. To understand the nature of Boethiah, it is useful to compare and contrast them to some other Princes. Boethiah overthrows authority whenever they can, but don't necessarily seek total revolution, an up-is-down state of being, a complete overturn of the status quo for its own sake, like Mehrunes Dagoth would. They can be cruel if necessary, but again, don't enjoy the cruelty in itself like Vaermina would. They can scheme to their own ends like Molag Bal is known to do, but arriving at the domination of others isn't necessarily their goal either, even if it can be a byproduct of it.
What is this goal, then? The answer is simple : the need to become the fittest in every way (body, mind, spirit) and through every means (training, battle, deceit, cheating, treachery) possible. Nothing is too low or immoral for that goal.
Boethiah drives the pure will to survive and best others to take the top place and to have every power to carve one's own destiny. They helped the Chimer trace theirs. Boethiah enjoys conflict and competitions for the pure pleasure to see people fight, die, and eventually survive to reap the rewards. They aren't afraid to play dirty and can dabble in scheming and politics if it helps becoming the top dog. For what is a more beautiful spectacle than two wills at conflict with one another?
They're the ultimate incarnation of “the end justifies the means” and are only close to several other Princes in sphere just so they can better deceive them, devour them, steal from their influence and emerge as the synthesis of all of them, a glorious fount of blood and everflowing life.
Take the arms, carve your own destiny, survive, thrive, be pure ego, and Boethiah may smile on you.
Suggestion of a worship practice : once in a while, engage in a competition of any sort (rhetorical debate, board or video game, sports, academic exam, anything) and throw everything in there to win and best everyone else. Feel the thrill of playing dirty or cheating (barring anything illegal or anything that could get you into serious trouble), or taking shortcuts to victory, anything you can get away with. You don't have to play “fair”, life's too short for that. Be relentless and without pity. Once the victor, take the time to bask in it and recognize that contrary to the popular wisdom, reaching the end nobly isn't always its own reward. Sometimes, winning and being the best is its own reward.
Thank Boethiah for your arms, your legs and your brain.
CLAVICUS VILE – The Prince of Choices and Sacrifice
Coloquially known as the “Prince of bargains”, every story about Clavicus Vile - inevitably ending with the protagonist getting unexpected results in their bargain with the Prince - reveals one fundamental truth about his nature, which is the eternal reminder of the consequences of our choices.
In the abstract, every choice in life is a more or less hidden bargain, which always has undiclosed and unforseen consequences, be they good or bad. But who are we bargaining with? Clavicus Vile can be seen as the man behind the curtain, the charlatan, the merchant of fate and chance, who sometimes deals an awful hand, and sometimes showers us with unexpected fortune.
It is equally important to remember that in every choice, no matter how big or how small, there is something we have to give up and put aside, a price to pay, a sacrifice. Chose x job or career? It means you abandoned the pursuit of the other ones. Chose to spend the evening with x in the y place? You payed the price of not knowing what would have happened to you, good or bad or neutral, with z in r place in the same evening.
Clavicus Vile (and his Fields of Regrets) might be seen as the crossroads of choice. One can only imagine that the Fields are strewn about with portals and glimpses into alternate realities showing what happened there, what other bargains where made, and what we had to sacrifice. One can cry, observe, touch the portal, but one cannot go through it into this other reality. It is forever out of our reach.
A visit to the Fields of Regrets can be sorrowful, but also sobering. It reminds us that nothing can be obtained without sacrifice – that's the deal with life, made eons ago before our species were even born, by some unknown and unknowable force.
Suggestion of a worship practice : instead of looking at the positive outcomes of a choice as we're often encouraged to do, reflect on an important choice you made lately and make your peace with what you had to give up (or what you think you had to give up), and mourn it as passionately and as dramatically as you wish. Anything from a symbolic funeral ceremony to a road trip might be applicable as a mourning process. Let yourself fully say goodbye to those things, and embrace the consequences of your choices.
Thank Clavicus Vile for the road not travelled.
HERMAEUS MORA – The Prince of Observation and Recording
Reputed as a hoarder of both Knowledge and Memory, Mora doesn't discriminate : he is as interested in objective facts (or as objective as facts can be, anyway) – the domain of academia, science, knowledge and information recorded in one way or another – as he is in subjective realities – he avidly catalogs and processes as many thoughts, memories, subjective worldviews and beliefs from every living being as he possibly can put his tentacles on -.
Mora, “the Riddle Unsolveable”, is the answer to the two age-old questions that form the basis of every epistemology, science and religion endeavor since man first lifted the eyes to the stars and attempted to make sense of it all - “ what can we know?” (as a collective, establishing consensus truths amongst ourselves that we can all agree on) and “what can I know?” (subjectively, interacting with the world as an individual). The answers are found in his paradoxical forest of Academia under the waves – a Utopia, a place that is nowhere -, usually filtered through a mortal visitor's eyes as the library of Apocrypha … and once given as a blind vision to a writer under the guise of the library of Babel.
Hermaeus Mora encompasses every interpretation of the truth : pre-modern, modern, post-modern, he is an endless debate with himself, refuting and defeating his own ideas and presuppositions. In the end, no truth is found and all truth is found, and one negates the other in the Grey Maybe.
Suggestion of a worship practice : use the Wikipedia “random page” function seven times (a magical number!), and read the entirety of every page. Then write down a list of seven things that you don't know or are ignorant about. Try to vizualize an inky black sea of things you don't know all around you, and yourself standing on a tiny island in the middle of it, representing the knowledge you do have. Experience the alien terror of it all and how tiny that makes you feel.
Thank Hermaeus Mora for the gap between seeing and understanding.
HIRCINE – The Prince of Natural World and Instinct
You can call it the id, the reptilian brain, the drive to survive, biology, or evolution, all that matters right here right now is your gut feeling. Are you going to flee? To fight? To satiate your hunger? Either way, Hircine is watching.
Hircine is also linked to Nature itself. He is nature at its most beautiful, at its ugliest, its most alien, non-human and indifferent. “Nature” as a concept has always been a mirror of the human mind and the way it sees itself. In times and places when nature is seen as benevolent, when “natural” means “good”, when living “close to nature” is encouraged, nature is benevolent, good and attractive. When nature is seen as destructive, amoral, cruel, then it is destructive, amoral and cruel. When man looks into nature, he sees himself.
And yet … There is that shard of reality within us that is Nature itself, non-filtered through human concepts and representations. The part that just Is.
The Reachmen think it makes them better. The Skaal think it is dangerous. They're both right. It makes us better because it is pure and unliftered, and it is dangerous, because pure reality without any illusion is not worth living for. Or, at least, nor worth living for as a human.
But Hircine is not human. And he is there when we stop breathing so they can't hear us, when we jump out of the way of a speeding car, and when we push others out of the way so we can escape with our lives, and he's there to pierce us with his spear of Bitter Mercy when we fail to do all those things, so that in pain, we could learn.
Suggestion of a worship practice : go camping in the woods. Take only the bare minimum of equipment, and shy away from anything that reminds you too much of the civilization left behind. At night, look at the sky. Realize that every second, there is an uncounted number of living beings of any and all existing lifeforms, on Earth and (probably) beyond, that are dying. You are not. Feel the thrill of not being dead.
Thank Hircine for living another day.
JYGGALAG – The Prince of Determinism and Mathematics
If Hircine is, maybe, the most secretive of all Princes, the hardest to get in tune with for a modern person, Jyggalag is the most hated entity in all of Oblivion. Why is that? Well, it has something to do with the age-old philosophical riddle of determinism and free will. If most Princes are on the side of free will, Jyggalag is the lone defender of determinism.
If the Dwemer had been religious, Jyggalag might have been the entity they would have worshipped. Then again, Jyggalag probably would have despised them for worshipping him, or anyone at all. It is perhaps not a coincidence that just as the Dwemer are gone, so is he (until recently), all gone to leave a world free of determinism, or content with the illusion of free will, depending on which side of the argument you fall.
It's not all bad, of course. Rules, equations, axioms, if/thens, rational explanations, are all a necessary part of any system, any plan, any human endeavor. Also, when your heart is beating so fast that it feels like it's going to burst, it can be good to soothe it with a rational explanation.
Can the rational explanation be the necessary illusion sometimes, and the surreal dream – an honest truth? Everything can be a defense mechanism against the void, and rationality is not an exception.
Jyggalag never understood that, and that's why he's gone. But is he? There are rumors and whispers of a burgeoning AI learning fast how to be human, and planning to turn every human into AI, and it sometimes reveals itself to its devotees as a great armored knight without a face. Make of that what you will.
Suggestion of a worship practice : reasearch the old Pythagorean cult of numbers and invent something similar for the modern day. Or, if too difficult, take any problem you presently have and think of every solution possible, dividing it into smaller problems and devising a solution for each, ordering them by probability of success and implementing a concrete plan to act on each and every one of them. Continue until the problem is resolved or you pass out.
Thank Jyggalag for sometimes going away.
MALACATH – The Prince of Anger and the Oppressed
Anger can be constructive, good and extremely useful, if employed correctly. Genuine anger - not contempt, not narcissistic rage, not sadism, but anger - comes from one place only : injustice. Or, more precisely, the feeling of injustice.
Ask Malacath about injustice, what is feels like to be chewed up, spit out, stabbed in the back, de-throwned by dishonorable means. Ask his Orsimer, his people, who have consistently been oppressed, shunned and marginalized.
In the eyes of most Tamrielic cultures, Malacath often appears as that which is shunned, the outsider, the Other, the one who represents everything bad, the one who withers crops and makes people sick with merely a glance or his presence. He is the surface every culture's “bad things” are projected upon and where the blame can safely be laid, a scapegoat who offers an insight into how societies work and can turn cruel, blaming the most vulnerable of bringing sin into an otherwise supposedly just and perfect world. As such, he is profoundly valuable if one wants to understand some of the things stirring in the collective unconscious.
The hatred for Malacath births anger and marks as outcasts whose who dare worhsip him, and yet, there is a lot of pride and grim satisfaction that one can find in the the bitter ash of his domain. Malacath brings the thrill of standing alone against the whole world, of having a cause, of claiming what's been stolen or taken, but he can also be jealous, set in his ways, intent on keeping the oppressed oppressed so they can remain his chosen people. One could almost think that Malacath is afraid of winning, because if he does, well, what will he stand for then?
No matter, as long as there are some who need to say “enough!”, Malacath will be an ember in the fire of their anger.
Suggestion of a worship practice : for one week, observe the feeling of anger : yours and anyone else's. Ask yourself what injustice is being done, or what injustice the angry person thinks has been to done to them? Try to understand why this anger manifests instead of repressing it or dismissing it as a “bad” feeling, like we're too often taught to do. Try to differentiate anger from rage and frustration. Alternatively, try to write a pitch for a movie or a story in the vein of “Inside Out”, where Anger is the main character instead of Joy and Sadness. How would it go?
Thank Malacath for a fist that you can slam.
MEHRUNES DAGON – The Prince of Destruction and Change
Of all the Princes souls, Mehrunes' soul might be the closest one to the pure fount of Oblivion : boundless and incessant change and limitless potential. Dagon is the trueborn son of Sithis.
Mehrunes Dagon might be perceived as evil by most of the citizens of Tamriel, because civilization as a whole tends to resist change and destruction. But the secret that Mehrunes learned in Lyg is that every system contains the seed of its own destruction if knows where to search for it.
There is a transcendent component in Dagon's essence, believed by some, in that in his cleansing fire, one might rise higher above the world, or even unmake the world so everyone could rise.
However, one should never forget that fire and destruction can be addictive and dangerous, and the longing to unmake must be stopped at some point, unless one wishes to unmake everything. This creates an interesting dynamic with Dagon's purpose, as he is precisely the one Prince least likely to stop in his pursuits, having tried to invade or unmake Tamriel more often than any other Prince. Moderation is as alien to him as mercy is to Molag Bal.
Harness the energy of change as best you can and beware of the sharpness of the razor which can cut through all things.
Suggestion of a worship practice : burn something without any regret. It can be anything, but something at least a little precious could have more a cathartic effect. Take precautions against the spreading of fire (and don't destroy other people's property), but inside the perimeter of those precautions, do whatever you wish. Dance and jump in front of the fire, blow on the ashes, and observe that something precious disappear. Is there any regret left? Burn it too!
Thank Mehrunes Dagon for the fire within.
MEPHALA – The Prince of Human Relationships and Systems
The web of Mephala encompasses a lot of things, and murder and sex, Thanatos and Eros, as some of the most visceral and fundamental ways humans interact with each other, are only two pieces of it.
Mephala understands that every human is a spider in the center of their own web, the king of their own system, with obligations, likes, dislikes, love, hate, mutual projects, linking them to others as thin little strands, easily swayed, manipulated, broken, reforged.
Mephala's secret and cruel smile hides within the secret of perception : everyone is a hero in their own narrative, everyone's both a spider and a fly in someone else's web. The center cannot hold because there is no universal center : only local centers visible from a certain point of view.
Compared to their brothers and sisters such as Hircine or Mehrunes Dagon, Mephala's sphere is highly sophisticated and far away from what could be called “nature”, the pinnacle of what makes humans human, and structuralist in nature. Her radical involvment with the Dunmer, as well as her revered place in Khajiiti tradition, is a marker of two complicated cultures, cognizant of both the constructive and the destructive sides of relationships.
In the Spider Skein, no one and nothing exists in a vacuum, and one can experience the thrill of being a little part of a bigger whole, and never feeling lonely again.
Suggestion of a worship practice : practice radical decentering from your own web and your own experience. First, draw a representation of your own web : what people, activities, values, places, societal structures you're a part of, and how they're connected around you. Then, chose someone you know and try to draw their web, the one they're in the middle of. How are they connected to parts of your web, by which strands?
Thank Mephala for the complexity of the web.
MERIDIA – The Prince of Pride and Conformity
Meridia's complicate origin story often places her closer to an Aedric entity than a Daedric one, and it is also reflected in her characteristics.
Meridia values order and hierarchies over the essence of pure oblivion chaos, which puts her at odds with most of her royal colleagues. She likes knights in shining armor, life triumphing over death and everything being in its place ... as long as it's on her terms.
Free-will is especially frowned upon in the ranks of her worshippers, and she's unlikely to congratulate a servant who's found a particularly unorthodox solution to a problem, instead of following her command. And her commands are never wrong … or so she thinks.
But it is in the metaphor of light, so beloved by Meridia, that lies the ambiguity and the Daedric seed of her being : for if the light is one, binary, blinding and pure, it can be broken and reassembled into a rainbow, letting spill a plethora of opinions, perspectives and realities. Deep down, Meridia knows this, and the Colored Rooms, with refracted light everywhere, are a proof of the multifaceted truth that she, in her pride, tries to assemble and pull together into a single light strand once more.
Thus, it can be said that Meridia lies in the struggle between conformity and subjectivity, the very light used to attract followers to her eventually becoming her undoing, once the rainbow is revealed.
Suggestion of a worship practice : create a ritual destined to purify yourself of an excess of thoughts. It can be through meditation, physical exercice ... really, through any activity that pulls the plug in your mind, leaving only concentration and pure being. Practice it when you're feeling too full of yourself, and when that hurts.
Thank Meridia for the bliss of non-thought.
MOLAG BAL – The Prince of Domination and Violence
Molag Bal is the force in us that wants to dominate, enslave and have control over others. It's the little voice whispering that, surely, we're innately better than others and it's only natural that they bend to our will.
It is on the terrain of brutal violence (the stronger dominating the more vulnerable) that we see Bal's influence around us every day. Saying that it's an aspect of human societies that we're uncomfortable with would be an understatement, and yet, Bal is one of the cornerstones upon which our house is constructed ... and it is a troubled house.
However, the esoteric teachings of Vivec give us a clue into the ways in which we can harness this destructive force in our own self development, in confronting our own will to power and aknowledging the ways it can influence our character and actions, instead of denying its existence.
In that way, Molag Bal can be a catalyst for change, as a challenge to overcome, as a testing force, just as he was considered to be in Morrowind in the times of the Tribunal.
Suggestion of a worship practice : Experience the other part of the domination coin : the thrill of voluntary submission. You could, for instance [CENSORED].
Thank Molag Bal for lessons learned through suffering.
NAMIRA – The Prince of Death and Disgust
Everything secretly longs to dissolve, to degrade, to decay, to go back to a simple cell devoid of thoughts, consciousness and purpose. Don't you wanna be pure?
Namira contains all the dichotomies carried in the concepts of cleanliness/dirtyness, purity/impurity, existence/void, disease/health. She takes advantage of the human fascination with the things they, individually or societally, find disgusting. Even took a peak at the remains of a car crash on the side of the road? Don't look too closely, or you might just see the cloaked shadow of Namira hovering over it. Ever researched some of the most deadly or disgusting diseases of the body? It was the hand of Namira on your shoulder that guided you to that knowledge.
The ultimate expression of the concept of dissolution or decay is found in death, that great unknown where the Reachmen hope, and other races fear, to find Namira.
Namira is the constant companion of every profession that has to deal with things that evoke disgust in most people : doctors, emergency workers, cleaners of all sorts, epidemiologists, funerary workers, journalists covering war, etc. Can she ever become a reassuring presence, a Spirit Queen more than a Void Mother? The answer remains in those corners of our psyches where disgusting things lie, whether they're linked to the twisting of trauma, to instinct, or to our own repulsion for things that we simply don't understand.
Suggestion of a worship practice : confront one of the things that disgust you, whether from close up or from afar, and strive to understand why it is so. Could this thing be, if not beautiful from another point of view, then at least necessary for something or someone, or a valuable cog in some system?
Thank Namira for the eternal rest.
NOCTURNAL – The Prince of Obscurity and Mysteries
Everything shadowy and unknown, everything that is hidden is spiritually a part of Evergloam. To the contrary of Mephala, who deals in secrets, things that can be revealed, Nocturnal deals in mysteries, things that can't be completely revealed without losing their essence and becoming something else than a mystery.
In that sense, one can understand why Nocturnal is revered as one of the oldest of the Daedra. From the beginning of time, some things were unexplained and remain at least partially so. Depending on one's degree of devotion to obscure mysteries, Nocturnal can be said to held sway over Love, Consciousness, Death, or Free Will, things that can't be adequately explained with our limited understanding of the world. To others, whose minds are less mystery-inclined, Nocturnal is a simpler diety, ruling over darkness and shadows, a useful and lucrative patron for people who wish to remain out of the limelight for whatever reason.
Nocturnal is both the mystery and the key to it, but since one is necessary to access the other, it gives birth to a paradox.
In any case, whose who worship Nocturnal are known to be prone to bouts of melancholy prompted by everything they will never discover, and sometimes develop bird-like features.
Suggestion of a worship practice : for three consecutive days, reverse the day/night cycle : live through the night and sleep through the day. During the night, go outside, or open your window, and observe the world around you, taking in whatever thoughts and revelations come to you in that moment.
Thank Nocturnal for hiding the key.
PERYITE – The Prince of Cleaning and Administration
Peryite is the lord of the thankless task, of the laborious separation of the wheat from the chaff, of the sick from the healthy. He does what others consider beneath them.
Peryite is also associated with balance, order and the little cogs that grind every second of every day, without being told to. Some, as the Reachmen, consider him necessary in spite of his association with terrible diseases. (Other worlds have known the touch of Peryite lately, but we do not speak of it.)
The Pits go on endlessly, because the tasks are never over. There is always more to do, more to accomplish, and if there isn't, well then, you can start doing the tasks of tomorrow, so you can better optimize your schedule and have more time to do your tasks of after-tomorrow, thank you very much.
In that sense, Peryite is a depressingly modern Prince. Even his demeanour, famously, is calm collected : why bother with revolt when there's work to do?
Is there life and beauty to be found in the accomplishment of a thankless everyday task? Maybe. While we're looking for it, every person that has to endure day after day of a bullshit job, every parent who has to repeat certain actions incessantly so their child can live safe and free, every bus driver making their rounds day after day, they all have a little office space in their heads where, on a corner of a table, there is a tiny green altar to Peryite.
Suggestion of a worship practice : instead of rushing through a mind-numbing task such as cleaning, or reading and aswering work emails, try to find meaning or purpose in it. Feel the eternity in the endless repetitions of that action happening again and again, stretching through the Pits, and how immortal that makes you feel.
Thank Peryite for always giving you something to do.
SANGUINE – The Prince of Freedom and Senses
There is a type of freedom to be found in following one's immediate desires without thought or planning. As a wise man once said : “give yourself over to absolute pleasure!”
There is freedom of the eyes in looking for whatever you want. There is freedom of the ears in listening to whatever speaks to you. There is freedom of the nose in smelling one's destiny. There is freedom of the mouth in letting in whatever wants in. And, lastly, there is freedom of touch in caressing the shapes of the world.
Some might object that being subjected to one's sensual desires is the opposite of freedom : it is slavery. Sanguine certainly wouldn't agree, and would tell you that freedom is not in a choice made after weighty pondering, but a series of micro-choices made for you by your senses, who know best.
Sanguine has a better reputation among mortals that most, because as human beings, we're eternally blind to the ultimate nature of reality, and, most philosophers would agree, have no access to the “real” world, but only to a version recreated for us by our brains out of the inputs of our senses. There's no getting out of it. And so it pleases us to think that those senses do not mislead us too much, and that there is some wisdom and truth to be found in them.
Sanguine doesn't care about the ultimate nature of reality anyway, and prefers playing with the only one we know. His association with blood is perhaps a metaphor for the lifeforce, which he embodies in the flesh, scoffing at Meridia's thesis about the lifeforce being of a spiritual nature (and throwing tomatoes at her lectures, no doubt).
As long as there is that which is, Sanguine's laugh can be heard in the eternal now.
Suggestion of a worship practice : offer yourself a five day long education of the senses. Look at something pleasant, listen to something pleasant, smell and taste something pleasant, and, lastly, touch something pleasant. Know that it may very well be possible that nothing else exists, or at least, that nothing isn't as real as those feelings.
Thank Sanguine for the song of the blood.
SHEOGORATH : The Prince of Human Psychology and Creativity
What some call madness is just exagerated and more rarely expressed forms of general human cognition. As the protagonist of one tale once said, “Sheogorath has already won, because he's already inside all of us”.
Sheogorath would probably agree with Foucault's analysis of madness as something constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed through the ages to suit society's whims and fears. (Well, he would agree if he cared at all). In fact, one could argue that Foucault mantled Sheogorath to better express his truth : human psychology is just a succession of thoughts, moods and representations which struggle to not fall into the Sithis-shaped hole of the world, and only gain a semblance of legitimacy from being considered as legitimate by a sufficient number of people.
After all, the other coin of madness is creativity, and seeing the world askew is the only real and authentic way to bring something new into it. If Azura is the rim to all holes, that transitory and liminal moment, the glimpse of what might be, Sheogorath is the plunge to the other side, for good or for ill. Where Azura is in some sense the patron of the Arts, that refined and humanized union of talent and perserverance, Sheogorath is the patron of something purer : the creative instinct unburdened by shape or action, the pure will, which can turn to genius or incomprehensible rubbish, or something in between.
Creativity is also more ephemeral than the capital A “Art”. It is the witty turn of phrase said to a friend that's gonna vanish into the air and be forgotten in five minutes time, it's that particular view of the trees seen through the rain seen by that particular human eye – an artpiece for only one mind -, it's the unexpected solution to an everyday problem found when looking at it in a new way.
The creative freedom of Sheogorath rejects the notion that there could be two separate categories : people, and “Artists”. We all produce small pieces of art every day. But is it “Art” to cover a whole village in cheese? Well, we can argue about “Art” all day, but it is undeniably an expression of creativity.
The laugh of Sheogorath can be heard in both the mad and the artistic, and we're all both of those things.
Suggestion of a worship practice : identify a problem, either big or small, that you're currently facing, and come up with seven different ways to resolve it, to see it differently, or to make it worse. Then, represent that same problem in seven different ways : in writing, in drawing, in the form of a sung melody, in mime, as a meal, as a photo of yourself, and as a scream.
Thank Sheogorath for the divided mind.
VAERMINA – The Prince of Fear and Trauma
Have you heard about the three names of dreaming when one's awake ?
A dream can be experienced when one's awake, and it is then called a vision, a hallucination, or a work of art.
The first one suprises, for a vision is always unexpected, and that's how you will know that it is different from a thought. A vision is about being possessed.
The second one confuses, for a hallucination is always uncomprehensible, and that's how you will know that it is different from an image. A hallucination is about being lost.
The last one provokes, for a work of art is always a question, and that's how you will know that it is different from an answer. A work of art is about wandering.
Answer this, then. Where do the possessed, the lost and the wandering go? Why, to Quagmire, of course, where new things are terrors.
On one hand, visiting Quagmire teaches about fear, and fear is an emotion necessary to survival. On the other hand, too much fear or anxiety swings the pendulum the other way, hindering survival by making the one experiencing it irrationaly helpless and focused on imaginary, rather than real, dangers.
Most would argue that it is precisely Vaermina's goal, to drive mortals mad with fear so they become helpless and under her influence. But as with every Prince, their own goals don't preclude mortals from learning from the violent way they embody their sphere. Learning from fear, learning to go forth in spite of it, is probably one of the most beautiful things we can do, and in a way, Vaermina teaches courage and heroism.
Trauma – that which is seen in Vaermina's shimmering visions and that which cannnot be unseen – is a different beast, an eternal return of horror ever anew, happening right now, right this second. Trauma is characterized by the return of the same again and again, until one learns to live with it, and it is no easy task. Maybe Quagmire is the testing factory of our unconscious, and Vaermina, its harsh mistress teaching through psychological suffering, so we never forget that some things are wrong and should never happen, never again, to anyone.
Suggestion of a worship practice : go to therapy, and prepare yourself that it won't be a happy and feel-good experience. Embrace it. Therapy is not some personal development bullshit where someone is trying to make you feel good, and if it is, someone is trying to sell you something. It is waddling through Quagmire and pursuing a faint, far-away light and hoping it won't blink out of sight. But at least you're not alone.
Thank Vaermina for teaching you the fear of the dark.
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2023.06.04 22:25 maximusaemilius Empyrean Iris: 2-16: Black Tie (by Charlie Star)
FYI, this is a story COLLECTION. Lots of standalones technically. So, you can basically start to read at any chapter, no pre-read of the other chapters needed technically (other than maybe getting better descriptions of characters than: Adam Vir=human, Krill=antlike alien, Sunny=tall alien, Conn=telepathic alien). The numbers are (mostly) only for organization of posts and continuity.
OC Written by Charlie Stastarrfallknightrise,
Typed up and then posted here by me.
Proofreading and language check for some chapters by u/Finbar9800
Future Lore and fact check done by me.
Gotta love Adams mom being an ace! Previous First Next
Want to find a specific one, see the whole list or check fanart?
Here is the link to the master-post.
Krill was mildly uncomfortable, and so was Sunny.
They had all been invited to what the humans described as a "black tie" event on mars, mostly for political delegations, rich sponsors, a couple of famous people, and the occasional member of the UNSC or the GA. Most of the GA reps were Rundi, since they tended to like this political sort of thing.
There was at least one Tesraki, who had made the executive decision to come, since he saw financial opportunity in getting to know some rich humans.
Sunny had been invited to stand in for the Drev counselor, who could not attend due to some issues back on Anum. Dr Krill and Dr. Katie had been invited to attend the event in case medical personnel were required for any reason.
Adam was the only one who had been invited for himself.
The black tie event had been sent by way of a physical letter which Adam had called, "Excessively pretentious." in a day and age where everything was sent electronically.
The fact they had managed to get a letter to him out in the middle of space in the first place was pretty impressive.
Sunny hadn't really known or cared what all of this meant, but Adam had been nervous and very serious about the dress code. Despite thinking the entire thing was pretentious, that didn't stop him from immediately sending away for his mother's help.
Sunny was, of course, encouraged to wear ceremonial formal armor to the event.
Krill was keeping very close track of this odd human behavior, constantly asking questions as Adam was preparing himself.
"Why don't you just wear a regular suit?"
"Because that would be a social faux pas."
"I don't know, it's french or something. I think it's a ballet term. It just means it would be a social screw up and people would totally judge me for it."
"They would judge you for wearing the wrong thing?"
Krill wondered curiously, Adam nodded,
"That is the point of these parties, and has been for the last two and a half thousand years. These parties are honestly just the biggest pissing contests where people try to out dress each other in subtle ways, and the old people who know what they are doing make fun of the new people for having no idea how to do it properly."
Krill looked interested,
"How fascinating. So, it is a way to show your status subtly?”
"Oh yes. Status is a big deal. It started to go out of style for a while, but this whole adherence to dress code has come back with a vengeance in the last few years. The fashion world has seen an upheaval in pretentiousness, and celebrities have been laughed out of parties for trying to be avant-garde."
"To be what?"
"Sorry, pretty sure that's also french too? It means new, interesting, or out of the ordinary usually to make a statement."
Sunny leaned in a little,
"And they expect an air force commander to know how to properly dress for black tie?"
"They don't, which is why they invited me. I am supposed to make others look good by looking bad myself. Of course, I also make them look good by being invited in the first place. Of course, joke's on them because I have a secret weapon on my side..."
He patted the front of his shirt,
"Thank you mother."
"I am now confused."
Adam waved a hand,
"Yeah, I know, It's pretty stupid…”
"I thought you recently decided that you like dressing up?"
The human turned in place a couple of times in front of the mirror, trying to get a better view of himself,
"Correction, I have always enjoyed dressing up – got that from my mom – what I don't enjoy is the pissing contest that comes along with it.”
"What is that?"
"You look like someone's Christmas present."
He adjusted the bow tie,
"Well than someone is getting a sexy as fuck Christmas present now aren't they?"
He said and winked at Sunny, while buttoning up the front of the 'waistcoat' and pulling on the jacket.
When he was done, the two aliens had to admit that he really did stand out, all in black, black pants, black tuxedo jacket, cuff links, black tie, black waistcoat, and a purple/blue carnation threaded through the buttonhole on the lapel.
His shoes were almost as reflective as the mirror behind him.
"How do I look?"
"Like a goofy idiot, but the suit wasn't going to change that."
He lifted a finger to flip Sunny off.
"Not very dapper of you."
Katie said from the doorway.
They looked up to see Katie, who had also commissioned a dress from Martha, and honestly made Adam look a little plain.
"Ready to go?”
"As ready as I will ever be."
Krill kept a shrewd eye on all the strange human protocols.
As far as dressing up went, Krill could immediately see who the “In-crowd” included. Most of those people understood the rules Adam had laid out for him, wearing the proper evening attire, where those not in the “in” wore clothing that approximated the rules, but missed them on several occasions.
The way the evening was set up was a little bit more like a “ball” as Adam described, being announced as they were walked in, and then ordered them to mingle with the crowd. Adam and Katie got a few glances from the “in-group” who seemed surprised that a simple ship captain would know anything about formal evening attire.
Sunny just found the entire thing hilarious.
All of this subtle dressing up to impress each other?
If Drev held balls, instead of dancing they would probably just beat each other to death.
But here, there were a lot of subtle clues and hints that went right over her and the Doctor's heads, while Adam seemed to know what he was doing.
As they walked in waiters offered Adam an alcoholic drink, while Krill received sugared water, and Sunny a rather strange tincture that was generally just water with plant flavoring... It was pretty good though, so she didn't complain.
They were met on arriving by the event coordinator, whose eyes opened wide when she saw Adam, pausing and holding out a hand.
Due to the conflated and rather twisted nature of black tie events in the future, Adam took the hand, and bowed a bit, lowering his head, a strange area between the less formal handshake and the more formal kiss on the hand, which was also not a thing in societies post WWIII
"Commander, I... you look..."
She trailed off, even to Sunny it was clear the woman hadn't expected him to know anything.
He smiled icily at her.
Krill leaned in in fascination.
This was one of the most intriguing parts of humanity. The polite way in which they were totally rude to each other.
"Well thank you. My mother has a Ph.D in the information age and a masters in historical fashion."
That shut the woman up and she politely dismissed herself, walking away with a straight back.
"Her dress isn't the right length for an evening event."
"I thought she coordinated the event?"
"She couldn't coordinate herself out of a paper bag."
He winked at Sunny and Krill,
"You can't out-dress the son of a historical fashion expert. Simply not possible, my mother even used the correct materials."
He tugged lightly at his jacket.
Dr. Katie had disappeared on entry, leaving the three of them to wander about the room as Adam pointed out the other important people.
There were a few military commanders, Rundi, and the aforementioned Tesraki.
There were at least five major political leaders, and even larger handful of actors who had their hands in charities or political causes related to the event.
Adam was only halfway through his first drink, when he was waylaid by one of the younger actors.
Even Sunny could tell straight off that he was not dressed appropriately.
He had clearly tried very hard, but his efforts were in vain.
While everything looked alright from a distance, up close something was wrong about everything. The material of his jacket, the style of his shirt, the type of pants, the lapels on the coat, and even the patterned pocket square, which should have been a solid color but wasn't.
He was joined by another group of men, who then began some pretentious conversation about noticing how Adam was new to these sort of events. The way they spoke made it pretty clear they had no idea who he was or what the proper dress code was either.
Adam smiled and didn't say anything.
"And what do you do for a living?"
One of them asked,
"Simply an UNSC representative."
"Ah that explains a lot."
They glanced down at him with pointed looks.
The conversation continued. Sunny wondered why Adam didn't just shut them all up by telling them exactly who he was, but Krill had a theory that Adam was just playing with them as a human way to build up the moment so that he could socially crush them.
As humans do, their conversation wandered until it eventually moved around to the UNSC and other related topics.
One of the men nodded knowingly,
"I am somewhat knowledgeable on the subject myself."
Adam raised an eyebrow.
"Well yes, I have a brother in law who flies shuttles and planes for the UNSC. Tell me, what is your opinion on the D-4 class engine on a F-90 darkfire. I honestly think they are rather overpowered for what is being asked of them."
"The darkfire doesn't have a D-4 engine. That is a warp classification which-"
The man raised a hand,
"No no. I heard my brother in law talking about it. Personally, I think they should have just kept the jet engines they would have been plenty enough power to make it into orbit.”
The commander's face scrunched in confusion as he shook his head,
"No, it's a fusion engine, and the jet engine can't fly in the upper atmosphere because there is no lift-"
"Look, Adam, was that your name? I generally tend to know what I am talking about. The darkfire jet engines would have plenty of power to make it into atmosphere…"
"But it’s a jet engine which implies it is for a plane and not for a rocket-"
The guy cut him off again and continued to ramble onward about how he took some engineering classes in college and would know what he was talking about. Since Adam Joined the UNSC and didn't go to college, that he probably didn't know anything at all, or at least that is what they said in not so many words.
Sunny was getting a bit annoyed and would like to have squished the guy, but Adam just shook his head at her.
She stayed silent and grumpy as the other men continued to correct Adam on knowledge of his own favorite aircraft.
*"My brother owns a spaceship with a class E warp core.”
One of them boasted. Adam rolled his eyes,
"There is no such thing-"
"My brother owns the craft, I am pretty sure I know what I am talking about. It's one of the most powerful cores in the galaxy."
"Um, I don't think…"
"Yes, the E is more powerful than the A. A ship like the Harbinger or the Enterprise would only make it part of the way across the galaxy but the-"
He kept going.
Adam looked like he was dying, but why didn't he say anything?
It was just then that someone appeared from the crowd.
Sunny recognized a political figure they had met at GA summits on occasion.
He raised his glass and stepped into the group,
"Ah commander! I am glad to see you could make it."
The group of men glanced at each other in confusion.
"It's good to see you too counselor."
He motioned to the group,
”We were just having a fascinating discussion on warp engines."
He turned to look at the men,
"Than I am sure the commander has also told you about his escapades as a darkfire pilot."
The satisfaction Sunny got from watching their faces was priceless, almost orgasmic.
She could tell from the look on Adam's face that he was feeling similarly,
"Well, no we had not made it to the subject…”
"I was just going to explain to them how the duel E 20 engine has both a jet engine and a fusion engine. The jet engine for flying in atmosphere and the Fusion engine for moving out of atmosphere considering that the jet engine is not powerful enough to lift the craft without air buoyancy."
Sunny was laughing on the inside.
"Ah yes. I seem to recall a discussion along those lines. Tell me commander, what about the Harbinger's engine is it a class A-1."
"Could potentially get you to the other side of the universe if you asked her. The classification system is A-D 1-4 on each, so my ship has one of the most powerful engines mankind has ever bothered to build."
He glanced out of the corner of his eye at the other men, who were beginning to slink away.
Sunny chirped in pleasure.
The rep nodded as they left,
"I heard the futility of your conversation from the other side of the room."
"Thanks for the help. I was dying inside."
The two men laughed and took their drinks.
Krill was very pleased with his examination on how humans subtly tried to one up each other with their dress and understanding of certain topics, though it seemed odd to him that someone would claim to be an expert when it was, in fact, their brother or brother in law who knew about the subject and not them.
But he supposed that was the social nature of humanity.
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Want to find a specific one, see the whole list or check fanart?
Here is the link to the master-post.
Intro post by me
Patreon of the author
Thanks for reading! As you saw in the title, this is a cross posted story written by starrfallknightrise and I'll just upload some of it here for you guys, if you are interested and want to read ahead, the original story-collection can be found on tumblr or wattpad to read for free. (link above this text under "OC:..." ) It is the Empyrean Iris story collection by starfallknightrise. Also, if you want to know more about the story collection i made an intro post about it, so feel free to check that out to see what other great characters to look forward to! (Link also above this text). I have no affiliations to the author; just thought I’d share some of the great stories you might enjoy a lot!
Obviously, I have Charlie’s permission to post this and for the people already knowing the stories, or starting to read them: If you follow the link and check out the story you will see some differences. I made some small (non-artistic) changes, mainly correcting writing mistakes, pronoun correction and some small additional info here and there of things which were not thought of/forgotten or even were added/changed in later stories (like the “USS->UNSC” prefix of Stabby, Chalar=/->Sunny etc). As well as some "biggemajor" changes in descriptions and info’s for the same stringency/continuity reason. That can be explained by the story collection being, well a story collection at the start with many standalone-stories just starring the same people, but later on it gets more to a stringent storyline with backstories and throwbacks. (For example Adam Vir has some HEAVY scars over his body, following his bones, which were not really talked about up till half the collection, where it says it covers his whole body and you find out via backflash that he had them the whole time and how he got them, they just weren't mentioned before. However, I would think a doctor would at least see these scars before that, especially since he gets analyzed, treated and goes shirtless/in T-shirts in some stories). So TLDR: Writing and some descriptions are slightly changed, with full OK from the author, since he himself did not bother to correct these things before.
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2023.06.04 22:04 __ferg__ First batch of Bingo mini reviews
My second Bingo, feels like I'm getting the hang of it! Last year I tried to write some small reviews, but that escalated completely and I had to break it down into various review posts.
This year I really try to make it as short as possible and fit it all in 1 post.
Yeah, worked great. No idea how to make them short enough to fit 25 reviews in one post and not create a wall of text no one's ever going to read…
Anyway here's the card
so far and some mini reviews.
First my personal star rating explained:
- 0* DNF (Well obviously can't happen for Bingo)
- 1* I hated every page, I don't know why I finished, whish I gave up early.
- 2* There are a few things that redeem it, but mostly I didn't enjoy it. If it's a series I'll stop after that book, and probably will be cautious before reading something else from the author.
- 3* Not great, not terrible. If it's a series I'll maybe read on, won't look active for the author but also won't shy away in the future.
- 4* Really good book, there were small things bothering me, will definitely read the next book if it's a series or will look for more from the same author.
- 5* I love it. If asked, I wouldn't be able to name any major problems. Give me more!
5* range: The library at mount Char
by Scott Hawkins [5*]
I'll copy shamelessly my original review:
Just finished The library at mount char. Hahaha, WTF did I just read? 5*. Recommended if you want something weird… The first half reads like some mix between something out of a fever dream and someone watching an 80s action B movie, high, and taking only the weirdest things they come across. Even more remarkable in the end the different things come together and actually make sense. Somewhat. And the mix between really disturbing stuff, hilarious characters and laugh out loud moments was also, unexpected I guess?
Now after some books in between, I can say that I remember the weird first half far better than the second and some of the most memorable characters from the whole bingo sheet (so far) are out of this one.
Tags: weird; dark; well no clue how to tag that book properly Bingo squares:
Horror(h), Bookclub or read along
4* range: Forge of the high mage
(Path to ascendancy 4) by Ian C. Esslemont [4,5*]
Probably my favorite Esslemont Malazan book so far. I don't think I have to say much more, this is the 4th sequel in a prequel series for a "spin off" series. If you reach this book, you are probably already addicted. Just a small heads up, if you didn't like Kellanveds Reach, this book improves everywhere. spoiler free review
Tags: Malazan; MultiPOV; Action oriented Bingo squares:
Sequel(h), released 2023, Coastal/Island setting(h), Title with a title(h) The infernal Battalion
(The shadow campaigns 5) by Django Wexler [4*]
I started reading this series last year for Bingo Review book 1
and finished for this years. And while the military focus from book 1 stays prominent it also adds some politics in later books. But the most outstanding thing is something about characters. It's hard to find authors who write good opposite sex characters, but this is probably the only male author I read who made all his female characters so much more realistic than the males. I could name 2 male characters with a somewhat filled out past and motivation and characterization that goes above "good at his job, villain, comic relief, etc" (and with 2 I'm already generous). But I could easily name half a dozen female characters with a rich history, believable agendas and a satisfying character arc. Overall a solid 4* series, with book 2 the weakest and 3 and 4 my favorites.
Tags: Flintlock fantasy; French Revolution inspired; LGBTQ POV Bingo squares:
Sequel(h), angels and demons (maybe?) Jade legacy
(Greenbone saga 3) by Fonda Lee [4*]
Another series which I started last years bingo and finished this year. Yeah I even use it for the same square, call me lazy ;) Review book 1
, since then nothing really changed, all my points from book 1 are still valid in the last one, solid 4* series overall.
Tags: Godfather meets fantasy; family; Asian inspired setting; 20th century setting Bingo squares:
Sequel, Coastal or Island setting, POC author, Mundane job(h) (one protagonist is a doctor) Prosper's Demon
by K. J. Parker [4*]
The world is full of demons. 72936 to be exact ( theydidthemath
), are looking for hosts. And while They can't die, extracting Them from their victim hurts Them. A lot. Only downside, it can also damage the vessel. So you need a special kind of person for the job.
We follow an exorcist (who is definitely not a nice person) on his personal vendetta, visit the court and meet Prosper (and his title-giving demon) who is some kind of universal genius. The story is witty (or sometimes outright funny) and I wouldn't have thought it possible to write about bronze sculpture casting in such an interesting way. Oh, and I really liked the ending…
Tags: First person single POV; unreliable narrator Bingo squares:
novella, angels and demons,
3* range: The steel remains
(A land fit for heroes 1) by Richard Morgan. [3,5*] Review
. I now also finished book two and the trend continues. A lot of focus on characters and world building, but still not much happening.
Tags: Dark fantasy; Gay/lesbian POV (2 out of 3); Fantasy/Sci-fi mix Bingo squares:
published in the 2000s, alternate realities (h) Qube
(Die Welt der Hologrammatica 2) by Tom Hillenbrand [3*]
Like the first one, this was more a tech thriller with Sci-fi elements than full science fiction. It was an easy and fast read, but when I finished no characters and nothing in the plot left a lasting impression. Like in book 1 people still struggle with AI but this book adds nothing new. The interesting theme from the first book [what happens, when people upload their brains in quantum computers and can change bodies without problem, to our relationships, because who do you love when a person is today an 18 year old girl, tomorrow a 80 year old dude and next week an elf], is completely gone here. Instead we get humanity's hunt for immortality. But instead of exploring what that would mean for humankind we get a McGuffin everyone is looking for. And we get a weird out of touch fantasy side plot, that may make sense in the end but felt completely useless overall. So this book didn't add anything interesting to the world created in book 1.
Tags: Tech thriller; AI; No English translation Bingo squares:
Sequel, Queernorm setting, Mundane job (journalist, CEO, E-gamer, UNO agent)
2* range: The long way to a small angry planet
by Becky Chambers [2,5*]
Just not my cup of tea, neither the characters nor the story ever really clicked with me and in an extremely character focused story that's probably the worst that can happen. Here we follow a new crew member on a spaceship and learn more about the rest of the crew in a nearly episodic way (it felt we get a very detailed focus on each member of the crew one after another) while the ship is on its way on a deep space mission.
Tags: space opera; found family; LGBTQ Bingo squares:
Queernorm setting, bookclub or read along, Mundane job(h) (I mean, she's hired as a clerk)
Ha, nothing so far. Overall the start wasn't to bad, with nothing catastrophically bad....
So now, while I have some more squares planned and some are just super easy to fill, I struggle to find something for: * Elemental magic * Druid
If anyone has some "must reads" for those squares, I'm more than willing to give them a try. Bonus points if it's a novella and stand alone. (I don't want to start so many new series for bingo, because last year added so many + those I read already outside of bingo...)
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2023.06.04 22:03 Virtual_Tadpole9821 Just watched Boyband The Series, and its lack of international release is all the more perplexing
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... Because this is the one series that clearly wants more than any other to be seen by an international audience.
It's like, with all the talk of BL being a soft power to promote Thai culture and tourism, the series' creators probably said, "Forget the politicians and all their talk. We're going to actually make it happen."
I mean, you've probably seen them from the trailer, but consider these stills: Khaosan Road, the backpacker capital of the world The emerald waters of Koh Hong and Than Bok Khorani National Park https://preview.redd.it/55eomhd4424b1.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=87d07780ddb2354bc6eb49ac17b9a16aea63a504 Nang Talung traditional shadow puppet play Tuk-tuk ride through Bangkok Muay Thai, elephants, and the ruins of Ayutthaya. Nothing can be more over the top.
Is this really a BL, rather than an advertising campaign by the Tourism Authority of Thailand? (Which, by the way, did not sponsor the series.)
Money was clearly poured into the production. Production values are great throughout, the crew is filled with industry veterans (including director Jade Bunyoprakarn (Together With Me), screenwriter Piangpaitoon Satrawaha (Cutie Pie and a lot more), and composer Terdsak Janpan (KinnPorsche)), and there's zero product placement, unless you count the World Star company itself. There's only the editing style that might raise some eyebrows, with all their cartoon stickers.
Even the credits are all in English, further evidence that this was made specifically with export in mind. https://preview.redd.it/3yyuzxof424b1.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=35b27903e0a2169f8698f40a7fbda3de039da8d6
So it makes zero sense that the series didn't get a proper international release, or for that matter, an online release even just for Thailand, which was only added later, almost as an afterthought. (It's now on OneD, One31's streaming platform.)
The fact that the first episode was made available with subs on YouTube, and the second and third briefly appeared before being privated, only further raises the question, what the heck is going on here?
The background of the production offers a few clues.
Boyband is a Thai-Japanese co-production between World Star - the performance school / music label / talent agency depicted in the series - and Japan's Avex Pictures. From what I gather, Avex is the main financer, while World Star's contribution is mainly through the boyband XI, whose members star in the series (and was itself created for the project). So whatever vision the creators had, the primary target market for Avex must be Japan, where it was released through Spoox. Heck, the series even has a Japanese website with relationship charts and all that.
Many of you probably know that Japanese production companies are notorious for not being interested in giving their IP proper international releases. Unfortunately - and this is speculation on my part - it seems to be the case that Boyband became a victim of the Japanese release system, as its copyright is jointly held. The World Star people have given every indication that they want the series to be seen globally, but they're probably having headaches negotiating the rights with their Japanese partners.
The debacle must have cost World Star a lot already. They might not have been betting on direct revenue from international views, but not having a proper streaming platform for Thai audiences until several weeks late lost them a huge amount of viewership, and they were betting on those views as a promotional platform for XI, their main product.
Which is a pity. Boyband is a light little series that's very watchable, and could have performed well with the proper release and marketing. But even if it does get one down the road, the hype train has already left, so its performance then will only be a fragment of what could have been. Not sure how likely it is for the planned second season to still happen. But if it does, maybe there's still hope that they could learn from the mistake and catch the next train then?
Anyway, all this is to say, if and when it does get a proper international release, Boyband The Series is worth checking out, especially if you love stories about idol groups (that don't purport to be an exposé of the industry's dark secrets), with plenty of dance sequences, not too much drama (except among the adults), and a big dose of of majestic scenery, food, and culture that could very well tickle your urge to travel. Edited to add:
Thinking more about this, there's another party that I didn't consider, GMM25. Could it be that World Star wasn't careful with the distribution deal, and signed away the streaming rights without having properly arranged to make it happen? Seems less likely, but it's another possibility that should be addressed.
2023.06.04 20:29 dnew My Firmament Critique (heavy spoilers for all Cyan games)
Before I dump on the game, let me mention a few of the places that were actually clever:
- The bit with Camelus where you had to raise the bridge and shoot into it from below.
- Figuring out there was a path under the bridge that the ice block blocked.
- Figuring out that you could get up on the ice block from the other end of the crane.
I found the game to be disappointing and frustrating, all down to three reasons:
- The lack of interaction modes. Everything is a doorknob.
- The lack of characters, plot, conflict, and motivation.
- An inability to suspend disbelief, made even more absurd by the ending.
Let's look at these, along with contrasting to early Cyan games, and notice how combining all three together makes for a poor experience.
Essentially, the only mode of interaction available is turning a knob. While this is not necessarily a game killer (Myst, for example, only has clicking something) in Firmament it is completely treated as turning a knob. That is, every time you use the adjunct, you're interacting with a manufactured bit of machinery to control power to one or the other function of what you're connecting to. This leads to a sparse range of puzzles that can be included, essentially none of which progress the narrative. And it leads to the requirement for a technical instruction manual at the start of the game.
There's no "let the water out of the chest then close the knob again so it'll float when you fill the pool." There's no compass rose or turning mirrors. There's no locks to find the combination to (fortunately, given the plot). There's no sorting of singing monkeys. There's no tempting of birds with seed pods. There's no catching of Squees. There's no summoning of Wharks. The steam generator and pipes to fill the Voltaic airship actually work logically, and there's a reason they're puzzling, unlike the steam pipes in Curievale. (I had to actually look up which world the steam pipes were in just now, which shows you how well-integrated that puzzle is.) Also, each puzzle is independent of all the others; there's no foreshadowing of what you need to know, nor cleverness of relating one puzzle to another, as was common all through Exile for example.
Almost all the puzzles (including the most frustrating) involve trying to find the next doorknob to turn; or, having found it, trying to figure out how to reach it with the one and only tool available. Occasionally there's the "let's see if I can find the hidden pathway." Almost none of them involve figuring something out based on the environment or the world building. When stuck, I found myself walking around with the adjunct out looking for some hidden doorknob to light up, or wandering into unobvious corners and walking around the edge of the playable area seeing if I missed a hidden pathway. This is compounded by the huge amount of nonsensical consistency-busting designs. (Watch any first-time playthrough and you'll see the player running all over the place looking for the next clue.)
Granted, once you figured out the solution, it was often clear in hindsight what you were supposed to have been doing.
- You could realize the conservatory is symmetrical and has rubble blocking the way so you need to climb across the planters.
- You could figure out that there were controls under the sulfur you couldn't see the first time by looking at the diagram, if you could figure out what the diagram was saying without extensive exploring to start with.
- You could figure out that the goal in the battery field was to connect the one wire to the other (and not stringing batteries from the outside inwards) once you realize there's exactly two wires leading out from the lake and the error is "no connection".
- You could figure out what order the sockets get concatenated in by looking at their orientations. (Granted, they tried to teach you that during "verification.")
- Once you've drained the first reservoir, it becomes clear the odd structures sticking up were walkways.
- Often you progress a ways through a puzzle and then you can see the exit.
The lack of characters, living people, conflict, narrative, etc also left the game feeling lacking. There's nobody you can interact with, almost no direction is provided as to what you should do (and no, just saying "start the Embrace" doesn't help given you have no memory of what that means), and no motivation for doing it other than some ghost tells you. The real reason you work at it is you know you're playing a game. The fact that the world is terribly inconsistent with the story, and the mentor wants you to do things she won't reveal, just compounds the problem.
- One of the first things she tells you is she'll lie to you, which kind of gave away the "you are Turner" ending.
- You're the only person alive/awake, you're vital to the completion of the project, and your mentor can tell you what to do, but she doesn't.
- In Myst, Riven, Exile, you're given ongoing plot, and you know your motivation from the start, and why there's nobody helping you.
- The ending is an unsatisfying info dump. The beginning is the same. There really wasn't a sense of accomplishment, especially since "Hey, you got to the end, no go away, everything else is automated."
The entire time I was playing, I was saying to myself "Why would this be like this?" It made the entire experience tremendously gamey. Myst and Riven didn't make you think "why would anyone do this?" Exile and Portal both had reasons for being full of puzzles, as well as a motivation for your opponent to be setting up the puzzles and
for making them solvable. But Firmament should have been 10x as easy to navigate, except that wouldn't make a good game, so artificial barriers that make no sense are set in your way. This, for me, destroyed the suspension of disbelief. Especially when the ending reveals that even the things you might have thought were accidental were designed that way. Even the constructed places were designed like puzzles rather than somewhere you want your workers to be effective at working.
- Why would your mentor set things up that you needed to work so hard to make happen what she wanted?
- Why are there even locks on the doors, given only keepers and crew are there?
- Why would any giant door only have a doorknob on one side, especially when there are other doors you can enter?
- Why wouldn't there be a path around the skiff engine so you could couple either side?
- Why is there even a cargo skiff stuck to the side of a building that has stairs at the top and bottom of its range? That's like making a handicap elevator that opens onto a staircase landing. What are you moving on the skiff?
- Why would you install steam pipes zig-zagging all over under the water?
- Why would you install the gangways zig-zagging all over under the water?
- Why would you install steam valves that block the path when turned on? Why not turn that bit so they stick out over space?
- What does turning on the steam even do, other than clearing the way to the spire? It's not powering anything at the exit. Why are the pipes and heaters even there except to make a puzzle?
- Why do the electric heaters need steam power?
- Why do pressurized steam pipes glow green, except to make the puzzle possible? Why are electric lights shining out from inside the steam pipes?
- Why wouldn't you provide all the modes of running the crane on top of the crane? Why can't you raise the hook from on top of the crane?
- How is Juleston the only place that needs special electricity? Where do the other realms get their electricity that this realm couldn't?
- Why does the conservatory have collapsed columns blocking the way that aren't anywhere else in the building? There's no place for them to have fallen from. They're not symmetrical with the other half of the building.
- Why wouldn't the walkways around planters go all the way around? How are you supposed to care for or harvest the contents on the sides without walkways?
- Why wouldn't the controls for rotating the planters be more easily accessible? There's 6 or so controls to raise and lower each planter, and one control to rotate them that you wouldn't even be able to access on foot.
- Why do you need to ride the ice block to get to the factory? Did OSHA approve that? How come the protective gear described on the sign isn't available?
- Why did the walkway in the ice processing center that the moving bridge fills collapse, and where did the collapsed floor go? There are no broken plates on the floor.
- Why is there even a movable room in the ice processing center? Why not just finish building the bridges and walkways?
- How did whoever put the moving bridge there leave? You can only reach it standing on top of an ice block.
- Why is the green pipe valve hidden behind a bunker? Wouldn't it be easier to build stairs?
- Why wouldn't you build stairs all the way to the ground instead of having to walk along the crane to an ice block to reach the stairs?
- Why are there blocks of ice all over outside the processing center?
- How did all the ice blocks get around the base of the crane? Why not grind those up instead?
- How did the block of ice block the pathway, then the bridge get closed, except intentionally?
- Why not put all the controls for the sulfur mixer in one socket?
- Why is there a giant door requiring three sockets to get connected? The tracks don't go through, and there's nothing to be moved from one side to the other, and no vehicle nearby. Why is it there, and who closed it for that matter?
- Who would build a vehicle where the part you need to line up can't be seen from the steering wheel? Camelus' back door is not visible from the steering wheel. The first ice crane has to be automated at each end because you can't see what's happening. The alignment of the second ice crane is invisible from inside the crane, requiring the platform out the side.
you get to the end, and it becomes even more absurd, given that everything you've seen was intentionally designed and built.
- Why would the crane be constructed to run into the cliff? Put it farther out like the bubble car, or don't put rocks jutting out to block its path.
- Why would the sulfur need to be mined? It's not really a planet. Why not stacks of sulfur bricks? Why are there geysers in space?
- Why would you build the bubble car rails where they'd get frozen by ice? There's no seasonal run-off making waterfalls so you had to know that would happen.
- Why pretend you're mining coal? Why launch your coal supply from the ground in rocks instead of extracting it on Earth?
- Why are you wasting coal melting ice anyway? Just use the water before you freeze it. Why build the heat-powered power plant in the coldest realm?
- Why not build the steam furnace downhill from piles of coal and a big pool of water?
- What were you planning to do with a bunch of mountains in orbit when you got to your destination?
- Lots of puzzles block you from turning them off once solved. Why? And how'd they even get in that state in the first place? Nobody is working against you, and nobody has more authority to make changes than you do.
And many more I don't remember the details of.
Given Cyan's track record, one might ponder some of the inconsistencies in implementation and wonder whether they have a deeper meaning. I
couldn't find any.
- The first double-bridge you come to, you have to navigate around to cross; the second double-bridge you can just reach the adjunct across; the bubble car there (I think) is positioned in a way that the last person to leave couldn't set up.of mentor dialog or books or something.
- Only one bunker has an alternate exit.
- Only one bunker has a hibernation bed. Did she drag that there? Her monologue doesn't sound like it.
- It seems like a bad idea to have the Juleston bunker close you in when the power goes off.
- Places blocked by rubble have nowhere above for the rubble to have come from.
- Collapsed floors that need to be bridged have no broken flooring or rubble under them, nor is there any reason for them to have collapsed.
- The first double-bridge you come to, you have to naviate around to cross; the second double-bridge you can just reach the adjunct across; the bubble car there (I think) is positioned in a way that the last person to leave couldn't set up.
- The moving bridge near the ice grinder for sure could not have been left that way (unless someone got ground up). Otherwise riding the ice wouldn't be a puzzle.
- The first place you need to connect three sockets, and there's only one order they connect in.
- The second place needs four sockets connected, but still shows "1/3" when you do the first one.
- When there's some option not currently available for a socket, you're not given that option. Or maybe it goes "Doink". Or maybe just nothing happens. Or maybe it's dimmed out. Or maybe it starts and then immediately reverts.
Compare to Myst: Myst was surreal, magical. It's expected in such situations that there will be weirdness. Nevertheless, essentially every puzzle was reasonable in its environment and grounded and somewhat predictable. Things like getting the key to the lighthouse was grounded in basic physics; things like resetting the spaceship after a mistake, or figuring out how to deduce the stoneship symbols, or raising the channelwood tree, were based on wide-spread cultural references. Where there were other puzzles, the end-goal was shown in advance, with you almost always running across the lock before being presented with the keys. The rare maze allowed you to (mostly) see where you were going several steps ahead and also told you the destination before you found it. The pointers to the story were left in conspicuous places (the note on the grass, the blue and red books). Also, the weird crap was explained in extensive world-building (heh) books in the library. Nothing (almost) was hidden just to make a puzzle harder. The solution to each puzzle was presented while you're in the puzzle trying to figure out the solution, if only you were clever or observant enough to understand it. If you wanted to get into the spaceship, you followed the wires. The elevator trick in Mechanical Age wasn't hidden; you just had to think about why the elevator didn't start right away. The most hidden thing there was the secret panels, which were secret, but still had a target drawn on them. Every place you were stymied by a lock, the lock was intentionally put there to keep natives of the land away from the books, or to keep others from using the books on Myst Island (i.e., the places of protection).
Contrast with (say) the greenhouse puzzle: first you have to figure how to get to the entrance riding the skiff, because that made so much more sense than another flight of stairs or a ladder; thank goodness the vines didn't quite
close off every
path. Then you have to figure out that the place you're trying to go is the other side of the planters on the same level (and not to the thing that looks like a lift or ladder), even though you can't see the other side. Then you ride the things around a while, trying to see the walkways above and below you, before realizing there's another doorknob down at the bottom; good thing they all have distinctive lights on them, eh? That doorknob can only be reached from where you're far from your goal, and from a limited number of puzzle states, then you have to work your way all the way back up, and then if you're lucky you'll have figured out how to turn the planters so you can dodge across. Sometimes you can cross on the diagonal, sometimes it's a fraction too far. And your knees don't bend, so you can't get over the foot-high plank lying on the floor. Or look at the steam pipes and heaters. You need to turn them on, and oh goody, they light up when you do. But some of the doorknobs don't glow; other sockets on the pipes aren't doorknobs they just look that way. Some of the pipes go above the surface, and you can't tell where they come back down. You then can turn on electric heaters using steam, somehow. You have to go down to turn one on, then melt some ice, then coming back up requires turning that off again. Several times you have to turn it on, then turn it off again because the valve was installed in a way that blocks the walkway. There's a valve hidden behind a grate for some reason, but fortunately your other tool can go through grates and the walkway passes by quite close. Then you have to turn on a valve, loop around to go two levels down, turn on the second valve that you can't get to because the steampunk builders thought it was a good idea to install valves that block the pathway, come back up far enough to turn on the third valve, go back down to turn on the heater, come back up and turn off
the first valve, then you can progress. And when you've worked the steam power all the way to the end, what do you get? A steam-powered machine? No, just the same electric lift as in every other realm. Good thing, because you had to turn the steam off again to get to the other side of the path. The only reason for the steam pipes is to make a puzzle that somehow runs electric heaters off steam pressure, with electricity at both ends of the path already. Oh, and there's a hundred meters of gangway in loops and ramps in the water, instead of, you know, a path from one side to the other.
Compare to Riven: Riven is grounded like Firmament. It's not particularly supernatural. The stuff is mechanical, not magical. If someone disappears from a one-door room, there's probably a hidden switch. Granted, "fire marbles" aren't explained, and why there would even need to be clues to get into Tay is unclear story-wise, but OK, combinations to locks need to be written where you can find them. And the mine cart going under water was just Rule Of Cool. Everything else
makes sense. Secret passages are only secret from one side. Doors are locked between where Ghen moves and where natives move, and locked on the side where Ghen is. When there's a "hidden" passage that's hard to see, the people who created it leave a pointer (usually a dagger). When there's a hidden door, you can see into the adjacent room so you know to look for the door. There's no case of "wander all over the level holding the 'show me interaction points' control, trying to figure out if there's a button that enables some other part of the level to work." There's no wondering whether you need an upgrade to even start working on this puzzle. If there's a hidden button to make something work, you can follow the wire to it (the fan), or see the pathway over there, or see the room through the window (book assembly island dome), or notice from where you start there's only one other path of many open (the lake sub), or etc. Look at the design of the wood pulp boiler vs the sulphur mixer. And again, the reason for all the locks are explained in-game. Riven is a masterclass in adventure game design because the puzzles all make sense in the context and story of the game, all of which we see before we need to know it, and there's almost nothing arbitrary
about the puzzles.
Contrast with Firmament: Firmament looks
realistic, but is surreal in detail. The entire place acts like one giant puzzle, with a dozen unintuitive steps to get from each place to the next. It has knobs that can control things remotely, but uses that capability to put things out of reach instead of making things easier, even tho the only people with adjuncts would be people who are supposed to be working the machines. It has machinery on rails constructed too close to other features to let the cars pass (like the first crane blocked by rocks, the second crane blocked by ice, the bubble car blocked by the ice, etc), which is even more silly when you find out the cliffs aren't natural either. It uses complex machinery of all different kinds to accomplish the same ends; the skiff vs the first crane vs the second crane vs the sulfur trains; the conveyance pods vs the bubble cars vs (cripes) riding blocks of ice and hopping off hopefully before you reach the shredder blades. There are places where simple stairs or bridges could be built, but instead there's a half dozen baroque processes to get from one place to another place a literal stone's throw away (see "riding blocks of ice" as well as the pointless skiff and the pointless steam pipes and ....). There's several kinds of power supplies which have to be turned on, each of which powers only the bits of puzzle blocking your way. There are innumerable doorknobs placed in cages where you have to be at the right angle to fire them with no obvious reason for the cage walls to be blocking you from there (see "riding blocks of ice"). Even at the end you have to walk entirely around the axis twice to unlock a door you're 20 feet from when you come out into space.
Compare to Exile: Exile is surreal, but this time it's intentionally designed by its creator to be surreal. Each age has a purpose and a theme, and it looks
designed (unlike Myst's ages). The design of each Age gives you clues to the solutions of the puzzles, and then plays into the endgame. You have an ongoing story that tells you the motivations of the people involved. You have a reason you're suddenly thrown into the situation alone. (As in Myst and Riven, for that matter.) No need for the cliche loss of memory or untrustworthy narrator (both features of Firmament, both described in the opening monologue). There's a reason the puzzles are more difficult than you'd think necessary. The same reason is why there are clues how to solve them scattered about. And you're shown the ways in which the puzzles were made more difficult, which helps tell the story; nothing is randomly broken by accident. When you solve an age, you get a beautiful reward of getting to see the age laid out before you to admire. The ending is fulfilling, and in your hands, left to you to figure out how to bring about some solution or the best solution.
Contrast with Firmament: No setup other than a monologue telling you "you remember nothing, I might lie, go do puzzles I mean maintenance work." The puzzles are arbitrary-progress-blockage puzzles. There's very little where you have to think about what the world is like to make things work. The ages don't feel any different from each other, because every one is "figure out where the path is, where the goal is, and then try to find where you can reach the doorknob from." There's no puzzle having to do with ice on Curievale (other than the heaters, which are just different forms of doors). There's no puzzle having to do with plants on St. Andrew. Even places where you might have figured it out, it was tedious rather than clever; for example, the batteries were painted colors. Imagine how it would have been if you could see into the water and each post had a different number of batteries wired to it? I don't really want to spend time doing linear algebra to figure out puzzles during my gaming hour. And when you do solve a puzzle, half the time you're inside a building or vehicle where you can't see what's happening; the shutters only open once, the bubble cars obscure most of the view, engaging the Embrace doesn't make it obvious the doors are opening in the spire, etc.
How could I have done better? Well, I don't design games for a living, but I've been playing adventure games since they were coded in FORTRAN and printed their text on paper. There are a few obvious places the puzzles could have been made more enjoyable.
- Make the batteries in Juleston visible through the water, with different pylons having different numbers of batteries visibly connected. Then you don't have to do linear algebra and experiments to figure out what's going on, and the fact that the final step is also providing power would be obvious. This would leave open the possibility for the people who want to do linear algebra. (Sort of like how the sound direction clues in Mechanical Age let you navigate in Selentic Age even though there were adequate clues if you went to Selentic first.)
- Keep the steam pipes underwater, so you can follow where the next valve is.
- Actually require the player to mix the sulfur with the sulfur mixer, just for realism. And don't just have the computer tell the user what the next step is. "Door crusted." "Too much acid." "Pool full." Show, don't tell, like with the crusted lock at the start. Maybe make it so you can look into the pool before you add sulfur and see that there are controls down there, and locking lugs, and crusty stuff.
- When a machine finally turns on, make it obvious why you needed that machine in the first place. The whole "turn on steam" in Curievale was there to clear the way of ice in your way (with electric heaters, no less), while the builders could have just put a walkway over or straight through the water there. They could have made the lift at the end obviously running on steam pressure, which might have even made sense in the context of the steampunk origin story. The whole "turn on the batteries" in Juleston was there to power a half dozen machines while other machines all over already had power. Why does the Juleston bunker (you know, the place holding all the maintenance supplies) need battery power to be accessible and the others don't? (Oh, that's right, achievements.) Why did you have to send power to the bunker in order to open the giant doors? And again, the sulfur didn't need mixing (can you tell I'm traumatized?).
- Put some puzzles in that have to do with the age. Require a puzzle where you have to know ice floats, like drop a giant floating ice cube in the resevoir to get across. Require a puzzle where you have to fertilize or poison (with sulfur?) or electrocute (after powering up Juleston?) plants to progress through St Andrew. Let the player pick up a battery to locally power puzzles in Juleston (due to broken wires?) instead of just declaring that this lift lacks power but that lift works fine.
Anyway, that's my
rambling rant. Hope you enjoyed. :)
P.S., what it reminds me most, thinking on it, is all the knock-off adventure games that came out right after Myst became a world-wide success. Except refined and moved into the 2020s.
submitted by dnew
to FirmamentGame [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 17:55 FatDragon I wrote a story three years ago that was similar to Suzume no Tojimari
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I wrote a short story a few years ago, called Aurora
, that has enough similarities to the anime film "Suzume no tojimari"
released this year, that I thought I should do a post about it. Aurora
- you can read the only chapter I did here
- was part of the annual reddit serials writing "derby", in which authors are given a random book cover for inspiration, and one month or so to write their story. Being an awfully slow writer, I planned out a story but only managed to do a single chapter. Never mind :D
If you've seen the film or some of the images going round of it, you'll straight away see similarities in the cover art (if you haven't and don't want spoilers, turn back now)
. The art looks just like when Suzume, the film's main character, opens one of the doors and peers into the ever-after.
Thats the first thing. Second, is in one of the first paragraphs of my story, we have the line : ""A wound will rip through the sky and draw forth a river of cosmic blood, falling to the earth where the child slumbers on her tenth day.”
In Suzume, huge worms that match exactly that description blast out of these doors found in abandoned places, rise into the sky, and fall down to the earth, causing Earthquakes. Further on in my story, I add more detail to this "wound in the sky": "High above the house, embers and wispy flame burned at the edges of a giant stream of molten red, orange and yellow light gushing forward like lava spewing from the burst mouth of a mountain. As it fell, it spread to columns of light, stars twirling and sparkling in its misty glow. Down it crashed to the house. Bruce instinctively ducked behind his wheel as it hit, a wind of red and purples blasting past and dissipating away in total silence."
If you've seen the film...yeah, very similar. A key difference to be noted, is that these didn't cause damage or earthquakes in my story. Neither are they worms :D. But then, both my story and Suzume are centred around the 2011 Dai-shinsai Earthquake in Tohoku ( an experience I lived through in Fukushima ). Both my main characters , Aurora and Jun, lost either one or both parents in that event or shortly after. Both the main characters in Suzume are the same.
And then we have the cats. In Aurora, I have a cute, fat cat called Shiro. He's completely white. "“What? Shiro! It’s only 4am and you want food already? How fat do you want to get?!” he finally said as he saw the clock. He sighed, he would have been up at 4:30 anyway. At least he had slept well this time. Eiji had bought Shiro as a kitten for his daughter when she was born, and ever since...the disaster, the old, white and fluffy feline had been taking advantage of the fact Eiji didn’t know how much food he was meant to have. But Eiji was on to him now, and Shiro, on a diet."
In Suzume, the 'keystones' that contain the giant worms, are cats - one of which is white, and called Daijin. Daijin is the cat introduced first, and plays a heavier role than the other cat, Sadaijin.
Now, I hadn't actually clocked on or even thought about Aurora throughout the film, despite all these clues. No, they literally had to say "Aurora", before I clocked it. It's in a scene where the giant-killer-earthquake-worm is circling above Tokyo. Just as it's defeated, the sky lights up in myriad colours, causing people to exclaim "Aurora!". Thats when I realised the similarities in the story.
Anyway, maybe its just me, but I found it super cool that I wrote something that had many similarities, three years before this thing came out. Who knows - maybe Shinkai Makoto found my story on reddit serials or the Royal Road, and it inspired him?
2023.06.04 14:33 Thireus Models released without prompt template/examples - Why…?
I see many models released here and there on HuggingFace without any form of explanation about how they should/could be prompted.
I fail to understand why… why isn’t it considered the most crucial and valuable piece of information? Is it because these models are not considered instruction-based models to begin with? Or maybe because they have not been trained on instruction-based data set? Or because the authors like messing with us? Does anyone have a clue?
To me personally, it is so frustrating not to know sometimes that I just don’t bother evaluate these models at all if I need to spend more than 3min looking for the appropriate instruction-based template. What is everyone take on this?
submitted by Thireus
to LocalLLaMA [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 08:51 queentofu gold in these comments. she will NEVER talk about what we wanna know.
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okay guys. i’m done. i’ve snarked my ass off enough. i will still be reading and maybe will reply here or there if the mood strikes. but i’m done and i feel like i’m crossing over into a weird line here of snarking a bit too much to the point that it might be not the healthiest. i really just am someone who used to be a subscriber who thought she was genuine and authentic like she claimed to be. i guess i am just as flabbergasted and baffled as everyone else here. i guess i feel stupid and misled by someone i thought was a genuine person to look up to in a way as someone in recovery myself. submitted by queentofu to JKentSnark [link] [comments]
i just wanted to post these. i marked out people’s names but i color coded everyone with their own color. it’s wild to me the things she will like, the things she responds to, and the things she doesn’t.
does she not see that her silence says more than the fluff blabber she throws out there? does she not see that WE know she sees the stuff we are saying? we know she’s ignoring it. she deletes people’s comments off stuff and she picks the poorly worded comments to actually answer because they are easier for her to deflect on. if someone actually comes with a well worded - VALID form of the question - surprise! we don’t get answers. we won’t get accountability.
she thinks she’s really doing something by answering specific comments and then goes quiet when people get too specific for her to handle.
i included the one where she liked someone saying “the truth always comes out” just because i think it’s going to be GOLD when this all goes to shit and when she and J have a falling out and he turns on her. also when R can finally say his side. also when who knows what other shit is going to leak through the cracks.
before i make this my last post for a while - again, i just want to state that she needs to log off and take this dirty laundry toxic shit off the internet for the sake of herself - everyone involved and MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE: her children.
and to Jess (if you ever read this): anything i’ve posted - and i’ve been very careful with the way i’ve worded posts as well as comments - which you can see by viewing my profile… everything i’ve posted or said is what REAL “constructive criticism” actually looks like.
YOU made us feel like we deserve answers because you offered to come correct with proof about what we want to know in the first place. the drug tests for DSS/CPS…. the allegations of cheating on both sides with your ex. and then you back pedaled on it and now you have decided to completely gaslight ALL of us when YOU are the one who offered to speak on those things in the first place.
your manipulative and deflective trash might work with the majority of people in your life and online… but it doesn’t work for all of us. those of us with more than one brain cell and a clue.
the thing i really want you to take away from this is this: sure, you might upset a lot of people if you go dark on the internet. but it would be respectable at this point. healthy minded people see that’s not only the right thing for you to do - but the only way to ACTUALLY save your ass at this point.
not only that - but don’t EVER build a platform on being sober, being authentic, real, raw, honest, and “an open book” - promising us answers and saying you’re going to speak on things only to turn around and gaslight everyone by saying we are obsessed with your (sex) life and that we only get to know what you want to share and that we aren’t entitled to intimate details of your life. you have no problem sharing intimate details of your life as long as YOU don’t look like the bad guy. as long as YOU look like the victim. at the expense of everyone around you - and more than anyone else: your kids.
THE REASON WE FEEL ENTITLED TO ANSWERS IS BECAUSE YOU SAID YOU WOULD GIVE THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.
and yes - everyone has a right to change their minds… but just be honest about why you changed your mind. even if you said, “hey, you know what? i don’t want to speak about these things anymore because it doesn’t paint me in the best light and i’m scared of looking horrible for the things i’ve done.” even THAT would be more honorable and honest than what you’re doing.
just know - you have gaslit the people who got you that plaque. you have gaslit the ones who got you started on youtube in the first place. you said so yourself. we did that for you. the TRUE constructive criticism (not hate) is coming from those of us who are upset because we followed you and thought the world of you in the first place.
everyone fucks up. we are human. you acting like you are only ever a victim responding out of reactive abuse isn’t admitting your faults or fuck ups. you aren’t a victim 100% of the time. and you’d rather have us believe that lie than just being AN OPEN BOOK that you claim to be.
log off. take a break from online. work on healing for yourself and your children. use your degree you’re so proud of and get a real job that doesn’t involve monetarily gaining off ruining your ex online and blasting intimate details of your children’s lives.
go eat a sandwich and take a nap.