Haikyuu Volleyball Manga
2013.09.10 02:15 Haikyuu Volleyball Manga
A subreddit about the volleyball manga written by Furudate Haruichi, Haikyuu!!
2016.04.04 17:20 thezigmis Re: Zero
Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, known in English as Re: Starting Life in a Different World from Zero, is a Japanese light novel written by Tappei Nagatsuki, and illustrated by Shinichirou Otsuka. The series tells a story of Natsuki Subaru, a young man that lives his normal life in modern Japan. One day, he's summoned to another world. Without knowing the person that summoned him, or the reason for being summoned in the new world, he soon befriends a silver-haired-half-elf girl, Emilia.
2009.08.25 17:43 FanFiction FanFiction: Where Magical Ponies battle Imperial Titans
A supportive community for writers, readers, and reccers to talk about and share FanFiction.
2023.05.31 17:42 nyoomur These three.
Okay guys, this is going to be a whole ass rant about why I love these three characters.
First of all, you probably are wondering who I am talking about. Well, it’s the perfect crime trio. Ranpo, Poe and Mushitarou. To be honest, I hated Mushitarou when he first appeared in the manga. I thought he was too sassy etc. But now, I am absolutely fascinated by all of these guys and I would love to see more of their appearance! Especially Poe, he has been such an important character to both Ranpo and the story and I honestly want to see more scenes of him. Like, what happened that bro decided to spend six years writing some fanfic???
Ranpo, he has been one of my favorites since I watched this for the first time back in 2020. I love his personality but I would love for him to show more reaction or different emotions, and for some reason, I would die to see a scene with Poe because they probably are the most sane ship/duo to exist in bsd (let’s ignore the fact that he tried to defeat him, got worried that he’d die, became his bestie etc etc) To be honest, I also love Mushitarou’s character too and his past. He is a character that has many flaws and I honestly dig that because he isn’t some emotionless sassy guy. He’s still sassy though. I just love these three’s interactions, Poe with Ranpo, them all three… Mushitarou acting dramatic… Both their English and Japanese dubs are amazing!
I believe that, especially Poe needs more scenes. He got me relaxed after all the murdedoa things were happening and I confess that I have waited for three years for that one scene to appear in season 4. (When they met Mushitarou and all, the one which poor Poe got dragged like a body)
Honorable mention, Karl. He’s literally named after Karl Marx and I find it hilarious for some reason xD
ANYWAY, I’m willing to not shut up about these guys so I hope you enjoyed!
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2023.05.31 01:43 NickelStickman [Music] We Don't Talk About Bob; The Story of How My Chemical Romance's Most Famous Drummer Became an Enemy to The Band's Fanbase
My Chemical Romance formed in 2001 in New Jersey and would go on to define the 2000s "emo" scene. The 2004 album "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" and 2006's "The Black Parade" remain defining albums of the decade and have only grown with praise over time, while lead vocalist Gerard Way, guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero, and bassist Mikey Way have become icons all with massively devoted fanbases. Notice I named four band members there. A cursory glance of google images shows five band members in many of the pictures. More recent photos only show the four mentioned above, to reflect that currently, the band lacks a drummer. As far as the fandom was concerned, there never was one, despite all of the photos you see showing five members. What happened to the drummer, and why, compared to many other fanbases who cling desperately to the 'classic lineup', are MCR fans so eager to erase him? This is the story of how MCR's most famous drummer destroyed his reputation and became a pariah to the fanbase of his own former band. The Golden Age of Bob:
Almost immediately after the release of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, My Chemical Romance was left without a drummer after Matt Pelissier was removed from the group. While not officially confirmed, poor live performances are often given as the reason for his dismissal. Quickly, MCR found a replacement in the form of Bob Bryar, who had previously been a drum tech for The Used, who MCR were close with at the time. Bryar would appear in every music video made for Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, played on the live album "Life on the Murder Scene", and would continue to perform with the band through their next album, "The Black Parade" and its corresponding live release. Bryar's time with the band marked the band's explosion in popularity, and as such Bryar was showered in praise, fan art, and would appear in the band's infamously common RPF (I believe his most common ship was with Ray Toro), though to a lesser extent compared to other band members due to him being more introverted and not seeming too fond of the spotlight. Bob Leaves MCR:
On March 3rd 2010, the following message was posted to the My Chemical Romance website, to devastation among the band's devoted fanbase:
"As of 4 weeks ago, My Chemical Romance and Bob Bryar parted ways. This was a painful decision for all of us to make and was not taken lightly. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and expect you all to do the same."
No reason has been given to why Bryar left the group, though many rumors have circulated over the years. Bob is known to have not been a fan of the band's decision to scrap their initially planned fourth album, which would later be released under the name "Conventional Weapons", and disliked the poppier direction of its follow-up "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys". In addition, Bob was beginning to have complications with his health on The Black Parade tour. Bob had received both third degree burns and a staph infection as a result of the filming of "Famous Last Words" music video, and would later have to sit out shows from November 2007 to January 2008 due to a "golf ball sized lump" in his wrist causing him to lose control and feeling in his fingers. Apparently, he had had problems with his wrist for years by that point. These injuries would leave lasting effects and ultimately make playing drums extremely difficult for Bob, leading to him essentially never playing drums again after leaving the band.
The more sinister explanation for his departure was that he had been feuding with, or even bullying Mikey Way and had been kicked out as a result, but only hearsay and Bob's actions post departure support this theory. While a commonly spread theory among the fandom, there is no evidence to suggest it is actually true. The Golden Age of Bob Making an Ass Out of Himself:
My Chemical Romance had broken up relatively recently, and even more recently, Mikey Way had gotten a divorce from his wife. Immediately after this, Way began dating a 19-year-old girl named Sarah. Immediately, people began accusing Mikey of cheating on his wife with this 19-year-old fan, and one of these accusers would be former bandmate Bob Bryar, who replied to an image of Mikey with Sarah's family with two emojis. 👪🍳 . This translated to "Family Breakfast". People praised Bob's joke as hilarious, due to Mikey being an enemy towards a lot of the fandom at the time. After this, Bob proceeded to run the joke into the ground. Eventually, however Bob went too far, replying to a tweet of Mikey's speaking about his drug addiction with the same two Family Breakfast emojis. By this point, the fandom had decided Bob had gone too far, being viewed as someone making fun of his former bandmate's drug addiction.
Bob had done a lot more than simply Family Breakfast to rub the fandom the wrong way, however, with some of the highlights including:
- Spreading (false) MCR reunion rumors, and just rumors about the band in general
- Making jokes about leaking Gerard Way's nudes. In addition, his profile picture of him wearing a black mask was interpreted by many (though not universally), as blackface
- Posting a "Find Kanye" meme many viewed as racist
- Making jokes about cops shooting protestors at 2015 Baltimore Protests inspired by the death of Freddie Gray
- As a side note, while many fans will point to Bob as having stolen from the band or setting the band's tour van on fire, neither of these are true. The former was done by Bob's replacement Michael Pedicone, and the latter is attributed to Matt Pelissier, though it's doubtful Matt actually set the band's van on fire either.
The combination of his edgy sense of humor and the Family Breakfast incident had made Bob a pariah among the MCR fandom, being viewed as a racist bully towards Mikey who was bitter about no longer being a band member. Bob was now intentionally forgotten by the fandom outside of naive and new fans asking what he had done. He no longer received any fan art or appeared in fanfic, a tumblr blog was made solely to edit him out of previous band photos, and fans would only ever mention My Chemical Romance as having four members. By 2015, Bob had abandoned his social media pages.
As for the remaining members of My Chemical Romance, none of ever commented on Bob's controversies. Mikey would later refollow Bob on Twitter, and according to Bob himself later on, the two had reconciled. During 2022, new action figures of the band would be made by Kidrobot featuring Bob
, suggesting that his erasure from the band's history did not extend to the band members themselves. Resurgence:
With his social media pages gone, Bob largely remained out of the public eye, getting a new job as a real estate agent. In June 2021, however, he would briefly return to social media in order to auction off the drum kit he had used for the "Helena" music video, donating the proceeds to Williamson County Animal Control and Adoption Center located in Franklin, Tennessee. According to Bob, this was his final drum kit and he was "permanently closing the book on his drumming days", citing the wrist issues he still dealt with, as well as his old age, weight, and desire to pursue "something new". His brief return caused fans to re-evaluate their treatment of Bob, with the aforementioned Tumblr blog dedicated to erasing him from photos being shut down. Bob would return once again in October 2022 to auction off his iconic Black Parade costume to benefit animals affected by Hurricane Ian, citing that "it's just sitting in a box doing nothing and people need help with money right now". During this auction however, Bob would have a concerning twitter incident.
On the night of October 24th, Bob's twitter became active, with him demanding Worm (an associate of MCR) call him, and then shortly after, speaking out for the first time about the hatred he had received from the fandom. He mentioned wanting to be interviewed about his controversies and had seemingly picked up a new favorite annoying joke to shove into every post in the form of "Period. Ah!"
Shortly after this, Bob claimed to have been driving while under the influence. Fan reaction was largely very concerned about his mental health, and many showed remorse about how Bob had been treated over the years and condemned those who were not sympathetic to his tweets, many pointing out that several fans had told Bob to kill himself during what many considered to be a mental breakdown. Fortunately, Bob would later return a few days later fondly reminiscing about his time on MCR, before quietly disappearing once again.
While nowadays you can find more fans willing to reevaluate Bob's behavior as "not that bad" or at least believing the backlash to him was blown way out of proportion, it would be difficult to say Bob's image has been rehabilitated, with many more than willing to recap his various controversies to new fans wondering who he did, or on rarer occasions, who the hell Bob even is and genuine fans of him being hard to come by. Praise for him often comes in the form of "I'm not defending what he did, but.." At this rate, it's likely Bob's twitter incidents will continue to overshadow him for the foreseeable future, and in the eyes of many fans, My Chemical Romance are a band without a drummer, at least unless Jarrod Alexander gets a promotion form touring musician to full member. He seems to be the only one of the band's four long-term drummers fans seem fond of.
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2023.05.29 18:57 Soggy-Discipline-636 NOOOO, YOU CAN'T KILL HUNTER IN YOUR FANFIC. MY HONEST REACTION:
2023.05.29 16:55 cruisingNW Foundations of Humanity 26 (First Impressions) - an NoP fanfic
Foundations of Humanity 26 (First Impressions) - 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
for proofreading! This is my side of the Nature of a Giant crossover
Huu boi this got to 34k characters, so had to split the chapter. Hooray making a backlog! First
- [Next] Memory transcription subject: Valek, Venlil tourist Date [standardized human time]: Sept 11th, 2136. Middle of 3rd Claw
I thought of happy memories of the last time my class and I had visited, “I couldn’t figure it out last time, but I was just a pup with a bunch of other pups back then. I know it has something to do with reattaching lines in the right configuration, but every time I got close--”
A black mass. A yawning, toothy pit! Hungry barks! “Teeth! TEETH! PREDATOR!”
I could see the beast’s gaping maw crawling forward to swallow me whole! I couldn’t let it get me! It would eat me! I couldn’t stop my momentum; I just kept getting closer to the inky void and gnashing teeth! I collided with the predator and thrashed and flailed against its wild mane, before my back legs found purchase and I launched myself back from whence I came.
Maeve’s voice shouted from behind just before her arm wrapped around me and halted my retreat, “What the hell, Valek? There’s no Predators he-EOLY SHIT
Finding sanctuary against my mate, I found my voice once more. “Big! Teeth! Call the Exterminators! Help! Teeth!” I thrashed in Maeve’s arm, trying to scratch at my prowling assailant.
A voice echoed from near the threat as another form appeared. “What happened?” A human? Another threat? He’s near the predator! He was looking at us! “Y’all okay?” His head turned toward the beast. “You okay?”
“I’m fine! Mostly surprised!” It imitated a Venlil with its movements, but I knew better! “It’s okay! I’m not here to hurt you!” It was toying with us! Trying to get us off-guard!
“Don’t eat us!” Protect your mate!
“She’s dealt with Predators already! You’ll be sorry!”
I suddenly felt Maeve shake me. “That’s enough, Valek; get a hold of yourself.”
Get a hold of myself? Doesn’t she realize the threat? The-
“You forgot to say I should be set on fire, or that I’m a freak of nature.” I heard the beast say, now grabbing the edges of the hallway. “In case you need suggestions for insults.”
My voice faltered as I tried to understand it. The words were there, but my mind just couldn’t accept them. Maeve fell silent above me, but continued to hold me fast.
The other human brought itself beside the giant, “Oh my! ‘Nother human! Howdy there!” He raised his hand to his head, touching two fingers to his forehead, then flicking them in our direction. A gesture of greeting.
My ears snapped to the human as I tried to reconcile the friendly gesture amid my panic. Maeve, however, was undeterred and floated past me, coming closer to the monster. Alvi held my shoulder, and supported us against a nearby rope.
“Wow! You… You’re huge!” She had that same wonder in her voice that she always had when she found something new.
In response, I heard the familiar whistle of a Venlil laugh. It was coming from the… it’s a Venlil? “Yes. It’s a condition.”
Maeve continued her approach. She didn’t look the least bit afraid. Even though her arm remained in a cast; a cast given to her by the last predator she tangled with. But continue, she did. “I didn’t know Venlil could display gigantism! That’s incredible!”
I blinked. Gigantism
? The translator was unhelpfully vague, something about making things big. The giant seemed similarly confused, “I’m sorry, my translator didn’t quite get that. Display what?”
Maeve reached back to us and I took her hand, and Alvi’s in my other, before she pulled us with her along the corridor. “Gigantism. It’s when a tumor grows on the pituitary gland controlling growth hormones, which causes it to overproduce. It can cause people to grow extremely tall.”
The creature’s confusion seemed to grow, though its body wobbled along with its tail; excitement? “Humans have Marklen-Jauntes syndrome??” Maeve asked for clarification before it continued, “Marklen-Jauntes Syndrome, named after twin giants. Its symptoms are basically exactly what you described!”
Maeve clapped her hands together with a quiet snap, “Oh! It sure sounds like it!”
The giant pushed off from the doorway, and Maeve pulled us into the boxy junction. Their conversation faded in my ears as the realization hit me. It was a syndrome. A medical condition. Maeve had moved to float around the giant as she and the other pair began talking in earnest. I felt Alvi squeeze my paw. “Valek. You okay there?”
My ears fell in worry, “I… I don’t know. I mean look at it! How can Maeve not be terrified of that?”
Alvi ran her paw through the fur on my shoulder, “I think she may have seen worse by now.”
The memory of those shadestalkers on the ground, and Maeve’s shriek of furious pain on the wind sent a chill down my spine. “But shouldn’t that make her more cautious? Make sure that doesn’t happen again?”
Alvi tapped the tuft of her tail against me, a lilt of humor on her voice, “If Maeve were cautious, do you think she would have joined the program? Or came to the Berrypatch?”
I pulled Alvi tighter against me; she was absolutely right. My attention drifted back to their conversation; they were talking about the medical issues of giants. I fully focused on what they were saying as Maeve was finishing her thought,
“... Hopefully, with the Venlil's help, that will change!"
The giant’s ears fell in...shame? It has shame? “You would have to keep it secret. If it was known it was to help giants, the Venlil might refuse.” Hold on, we would gladly help!
“W-we wouldn’t!” The giant’s eyes and ears focused on me, while Maeve and the other human turned to face me. "Our people wouldn't keep secrets like that just because they're big! We may not be the ones in the clinic, but we would gladly offer medicine and equipment.”
The giant let out a deep huff, as if I told a bad joke! “Sir… I’m guessing you haven’t heard of me. Is that correct?”
“N-no?” My tail curled around Alvi and I at my admission. “Should I…?”
The giant’s massive tail swayed behind them, “I guess introductions are in order. My name is Tarlim.”
“The Venbig!” The human announced with a flourish while he slowly floated past ‘Tarlim’s’ front, while the latter whistled in amusement.
“Yes. The ‘Venbig.’ And the Texan there is Jacob.” I saw his tail wag at the name. A sign of fondness for a friend. “May I know who all of you are?”
“I am Maeve, a pleasure to meet you,” She nodded, as she shifted her grip on the rope to reveal Alvi and I behind her. “This is Valek, my exchange partner,” I reflexively flicked my ears in acknowledgment, “And this is Alvi, a close friend of ours.”
Alvi hadn’t moved much beyond floating. She had one eye turned to stare fully at the giant, but otherwise seemed to have locked up, as she had before.
The giant, Tarlim, returned our greeting with a polite bow as he steadied himself on some overhead netting. “Good to meet you. Now, the reason I asked is this: I was imprisoned in a correctional facility before I was able to escape.” Escape
?! I exclaimed, in thought and in voice, “Y-You escaped??”
The giant tried to deceive us, but it couldn’t keep its condition a secret! I put myself between it and Alvi, “Get away from him! He’s dangerous!”
Maeve tried to be kind, “Valek if he’s here I would hardly think-”
But she didn’t know what that meant! We made a promise that we would teach each other about our people, even the bad parts. I had to warn her about it! “Correctional Facilities are where we put dangerous Venlil! People with Predator Disease who have shown themselves to be a threat to the Herd! We try to teach them how to live with the Herd, but if he escaped? He's gotta be dangerous if he had to break out!” I kept the threatening beast in my sight as I put myself between them and my herd.
The beast crouched threateningly, Fixing me with a predatory stare as its ears locked onto me, “Dangerous? Do you know what they put me through in there? The people running those places are monsters!”
“They help people!” I protested, amazed that someone could see their own care as harmful. “They treat people so they are safe around the herd!”
“Oh, HA!” The beast’s face cracked in an angry snarl, “You must feel so safe when we’re strapped into chairs and electrified! Or jammed into rooms where the only safe floor is too small for everyone! It must be soooo perfect to hear about that!”
“Th… That…” They WHAT?! No!
“No! Even if that were true, it would be to teach you to stick together! They… They wouldn’t do something like that if it didn’t work!” …right
A tiny voice spoke behind me, but the beast bore down on my senses, “Stick together! Suuuure!” It’s tail lashed behind it. It was going to pounce! “That’s why they tried to kill me for making sure more people could fit in the Circle! And obviously the electric chair was for proper fear response! That's why they commissioned a chair with enough voltage to fry me from the inside out
“Electric chair? You were in an electric chair?” That same tiny voice. Alvi’s words pulled me from my maelstrom and I reached for salvation. I needed Maeve.
“Yes!” The Giant had turned his attention to Alvi as I flew towards my human. “I have been put in that-”
“I saw you on the TV!”
I was wrapping myself around Maeve when Alvi said that. She… saw him? He was on TV? All of us had fallen silent to watch her, including the giant.
“Which part?” It asked with a heavy breath. “The final judgment? The election debates?” I heard a whimper coming from its throat. “When… when my father…?” Father? It had a father? Wait, why is that a surprise? They were born, so they must have had one.
Alvi spoke with what kindness she could, “I don’t remember much. I was still just a pup when the trial started, but I remember seeing your photo on the TV. My parents didn’t let me watch it after that. I started to research it after I moved out, that’s when I saw the Chair.”
I heard the giant growl. “That Brahking photo! They were so proud to hold me up even though I couldn’t!” Their attention swung back to me. “I don’t suppose, mister Valek
, that was also justified?”
I stood tall at the challenge. This… They would not get past me. “I…! I don’t know about any photo! My Family doesn't have a TV, just a radio.”
They flicked their ears dismissively, before bringing them back to Alvi. Was it… kinder? When it was addressing her? “So you saw the chair.” They sighed. “It was only shown after the trial was done. Then you had to have seen what that management did. Instead of letting the place be investigated, they drove all the inmates outside so they could cause chaos! And slipped away while everyone was trying to figure out what happened!” It whistled a derisive laugh, “What about the crimes revealed? Producing and testing drugs to sell on the streets? How the sessions were altered for higher voltage? Oh! And do I even need to mention what happened to the women there?”
Its eye never left me, and I shrunk beneath it while Alvi spoke behind me, “No. No you don’t. What happened there was terrible, there’s no grooming that!”
“Worthy of the Arxur!” It huffed again. “What a title for that place. And you know what the worst part is?” It pointed directly at me with its primary claw; the insult clear in its seething voice. Singling me out as outside of the Herd. “I was in there because of that! Not some test, not Predator Disease, just stupid people Scared. O-Of. My. Size!!”
The rage in its throat was broken by its sobs, as its eyes bubbled with gathered tears, unable to fall for lack of gravity. This thing was crying? It had family, and it cried from remembered pain
Maeve pushed off of her line, and drifted to the giant, her hand curling around their pointed claw and putting its paw back to their chest. Her words were quiet, a sharp contrast to the giant’s anguish. “I think that’s enough of that. I’m sorry that we had a rough start. We were in the wrong, and it wasn’t, and isn’t, ok for us to react like we did.” We weren’t wrong! Look at it! How can we be wrong to be careful around something that could eat us without a thought? I bet your dad thought the same thing.
The thought stopped my heart and flared my wool. When I saw it - No. Saw Him. - when I saw him I scratched and kicked, and I came out unscathed. He hadn’t so much as taken a single step toward us. Only talking. What happened? Why was I so afraid…
Maeve’s voice continued as my thoughts swirled, “We… are sorry for what happened, and want to make it right. I don’t want to intrude any more on your day with your partner, but can we treat you to something here? Valek tells me they have really good fried veg? I’ve never had Venlil Tempura before.” Why is this familiar? What about this fear… The Meetup.
It-He… Tarlim? Heaved and hacked against waning sobs, barely croaking, “Y-You…you can’t make it right,” the words were only a whisper; barely captured at this distance. “This, all this, just made you more afraid of me. E-Every moment would be forced and shamed. Not genuine.” This is the same fear I felt when I met Maeve. The same fear that was wrong
. Fundamentally and completely. This fear…
Maeve answered without pause, “I think we could surprise you. But I won’t press it. Before I let you go, I’d like to end on a good…noooote…” Maeve checked her empty pockets, as her voice grew a more boisterous timbre, “ah man, I left my pad in the locker. Anyway, you’re way fluffier than the average Venlil, aren’t you? Well, humans have recorded something else called Hypertrichosis; Jacob may know it as Werewolf Syndrome. It manifests in humans as rapid and thick hair growth over their entire body! Jacob can show you when you get back to your pads. ”
Tarlim’s tail thrashed in distrust, but it-NO! HIS! ears fluttered, giving away their conflict. Maeve turned away and pulled herself back down the corridor we came from, scooping up Alvi and I as she passed. But I pulled away from her hand, meeting the eye of the giant. Nothing about this fear is real. Who I am and what I do is MY CHOICE
, and I had the gall to forget that.
“I reacted to you the same way I reacted to seeing Maeve for the first time - well, her hair, anyway. I’ve tried to be better, but I mess up sometimes. I’m… I’m sorry I messed up with you.”
I pushed off down the hall, and met my herd before we continued on.
“Wait!” We found our anchors, and turned to meet the bellowed plea. Tarlim dried his tears on his wool, before looking back at us. “There's a food court near the arcade.” Barely a pause as Tarlim took another breath; the same one I take when I make a Choice. “If we see each other there maybe… maybe we can start over…”
My mouth cracked in a human smile, and my tail swayed at the invitation. “I think I’d like that.”
Tarlim returned our kindness as we floated back down the corridor.
I wanted to just get back to having fun. I had come here with Maeve and Alvi to get away from reactions like that! Not… Not Be
the reaction! This was- this was a vacation! Please just…
In. and Out. The Paw is not gone. We can make this work.
“Hey, Valek?” It was Maeve. My love, and my Choice. Her mask met my eye as I spun to meet her. “Are you OK?”
“I will be. I’m sorry for how I reacted.” I feigned a joyful flick and invited them to follow, “Come on! We can take another path and find something fun that way.” I floated ahead of my herd and led the way.
I checked behind me at the next turn and they were following a distance behind. Alvi showed her concern with her tail, while Maeve was unreadable through her mask. It was ok, we can put this behind us once we find something else to occupy us. Well that was a disaster.
The Maze was more of a problem then I expected it to be. The maze itself was easy enough, but the ‘puzzle rooms’ turned out to be all of the rooms, but they were randomly activated. Sometimes we would fly into a room and it would shift color, pulling the supports into the wall and starting to list the game rules. The last room before we got out kept shifting the gravity, so by the time we made it to the exit we were exhausted in mind and body. Well, Alvi and I were. I don’t believe I had seen Maeve so energized.
“Wanna go again?!” Her voice was bubbling with sarcasm, and she couldn't contain her mischievous cackle when Alvi and I met her mask and signaled an emphatic No! In unison.
She pulled Alvi against her and asked her to hold on, quickly doing the same to me. She pushed off from the Maze exit to the open air in the center. She did the same kick as back in the maze and we started to spin, at which Maeve let go of the two of us to slow our inertia. We spun there together, holding paws and hands, before I spoke into the space between us.
“I’m sorry that I ruined the day. I thought we could go back to having fun, but I spoiled the mood.”
Maeve spoke first, “It’s alright Valek,”
Then Alvi, “It may not have been the best start, but he offered to try again.”
Maeve squeezed my paw and met my eye, “And I look forward to it. That's all we can really do: move forward.” She pulled us back into a tight hug, “Thank you, both of you, for a wonderful day.”
An angry gurgle bubbled up from our embrace, and Maeve continued, “But I could really do with a proper meal. Valek, you mentioned something about fried veg?”
I pulled away and looked around at the various signage, pointing at the exit we had entered from. “The food court connects with the Visor Arcade, so we can go out the way we came in.”
“Alright! Alvi, you hold on, and Valek? Don’t.”
Maeve kicked her legs again and set us spinning quickly, before flinging me in the direction of the exit, and she and Alvi the opposite way. I may or may not have squealed in terror during my hasty flight.
I was able to catch a support line as I passed. I looked out to see that Maeve had done the same, and was just pushing off to come my direction; Alvi was completely wrapped around her torso, like she was caught out in Galetime.
My tail thrashed behind me in admonishment when Maeve was in ear-sense. “You evil woman! You could have killed me!”
I could hear her - no, Alvi! - giggling as they floated over! She was having the time of her life! Maeve defended herself breathlessly, “Oh, come on, that was barely a brisk walk. I knew you’d correct yourself, that’s why I threw you instead of Alvi.”
I hit the pad and opened the bulkhead as they met me, Maeve barely correcting against a passing line to float cleanly through the threshold. Alvi disengaged once we were all inside. “Also because I’m her favorite.”
I flattened my ears in playful anger while she stuck her tongue out at me, and Maeve spoke up from the button. “Now, now, children, I love you both equally. One is just a little more biblical than the other.”
A little more religious? What?
“But I think it is time to come back to earth.” her hand hovered over the button while Alvi and I found our supports.
A button pressed, a growing hum, and our feet met the floor … Eventually. We had forgotten to remember that the floor was White, so we all collapsed on the semi-soft ground head-first. Thank the Sun for padding!
“Okay!” I heard Alvi comment, “Seems we’ve been re-educated on where the ground is.” She stood, shaking her wool. “Wish it hadn’t been a crash course.”
Maeve cackled from the floor as I stood, “HaHa! Multilingual pun! I love it!”
She was still giggling when we walked over to help her up. We were just dusting ourselves and flattening errant tufts when the exit hatch opened, and we stepped outside.
Alvi was last to step over the bulkhead, nearly tripping as her paw caught its lip. Having recovered, she asked, “Anything else you would like to do before lunch Maeve?”
Maeve took a quiet breath as we all waved an excited goodbye to Shishi, cold can of Sprunk in paw. “Speaking from experience, if we wanna do VR, and I kinda do, eating before may be unwise.”
Having reached our locker, I waited for Maeve to don her burka, “The Visor Arcade is on the way, and I’d love to show you this quick sightseeing game. It’s pretty basic, but it will show a few other Federation Homeworlds too!”
Maeve’s voice lit up, and I regretted that her eyes were hidden, as I knew they were shining! “I can see More worlds?! Yes, please! Let’s do that!” Maeve bounded forward almost to around the corner. “Uh… Where is it?”
I flicked my tail teasingly, “It is where we are going. You shouldn’t go running off, you know how strangers are.”
Maeve stood at the corner with her good hand on her hip, “Well then be a good boy and lead the way!”
I could feel my snout quickly blooming.
Oh, that’s not fair.
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2023.05.28 21:04 Still_Performance_39 An Introduction to Terran Zoology – Chapter 13
Credit to u/SpacePaladin15
for the NOP Universe.
I was really looking forward to writing this and couldn’t help myself from getting stuck right back in after the last chapter. So, here it is, Dr MacEwan’s reaction to first contact with the Yotul and what he learns about Exterminators. [First] [Previous] Memory transcription subject: Dr Bernard MacEwan, Professor of Zoology
Date [standardised human time]: 22nd August 2136
Madness, utter madness! That was the only way any of what I was reading could be described. The last fifty minutes had passed me by at blinding speed as I poured through data packet after data packet, attempting to verify every piece of information my class had shared with me.
Much to my frustration, what little was available to me was proving to be woefully inadequate. While my status as a teacher in the exchange programme gave me greater access than most, the UN was still in the habit of heavily vetting what knowledge was free for public consumption. No doubt an overreaction in the wake of the initial press releases during first contact. I swear, the moment it got out that there were sapient eating genocidal reptiles in the galaxy, the number of doomsday prophets skyrocketed. Not to mention the fact that the rest of the galaxy fears us for our diet and eye position, that didn’t go down well. Speaking of the Federation…
Everything concerning first contact between the Federation and the Yotul had alarm bells ringing in my head. God, did none of these hundreds of civilisations create their own version of the Prime Directive? Fictional in our case perhaps, but still, none of them!?
Considering the war with the Arxur, and the rationale my class had provided me, I could see why the Federation viewed their actions as morally in the right. They discovered the Yotul, an herbivorous species that wasn’t technologically developed enough to defend itself from the existential threat of the Arxur, and they opted to defend them from said threat. If that had been all they had done then I wouldn’t be as concerned. The problem was they hadn’t stopped at identify, observe, and protect from a distance. Instead, they had apparently just waltzed right on down into the Yotul’s homes, replacing everything they deemed outdated without a second thought!
A wave of revulsion had washed over me as I drew parallels between the Federations actions and our own history of colonialism. Hearing my class speak about it had only made the disgust grow. It was as if they viewed these acts like they were a god given blessing upon wayward souls! There was a near reverence in some of their voices.
How many of the Yotul’s achievements were simply tossed aside and scrapped, deemed as obsolete and worthless? How many centuries of scientific advancement were discarded in an instant as primitive?
Primitive… a typically benign adjective twisted into an insult towards a species that had world shaking change forced upon them without consideration for what they could’ve gone on to do alone.
Were they even given a choice? I’d not heard the phrases, “They asked” or “It was requested by” or anything to that affect when my class had talked me through the history of first contact.
No… no all they’d said was, “The Federation did this” or “The Federation did that”.
How could an advanced group of species who prided themselves so highly on their collective empathy remain so blind to the paradoxical impact and fallout of their actions? Robbing a civilisation of the chance to ascend to the stars on their own power by doing it for them, only to then spit on them for not having done it themselves. Such cruel absurdity.
Perhaps I was being too hasty in my condemnation? This was all just my own speculation based off of a brief and extremely broad strokes discussion of the topic. My data searches hadn’t yielded any first hand accounts of the experience, just generic reports that recounted in bland detail what I’d already been told. My next report home will certainly include a scathing review of this damnable vetting process!
As for the class, they were all experts on planetary ecology, not historians or specialists in interstellar politics and events. Maybe they simply failed to include something in their overview of events? I could be viewing this in a far worse light than it actually was due to having an incomplete picture. Perhaps I was allowing humanities own history to unfairly smear the Federation?
I’ll need to gather more information. Was there a historian with our delegation? I should find out and contact them as soon as possible, ask them if any of the data packages they received can shed some light on this.
Oh! I should put in a request to meet with a Yotul! There have to be some on Venlil Prime. They might be open to giving me an account from their perspective.
This wasn’t my topic of expertise but I couldn’t do nothing while this cloud of unease hung in the air around me. I’ll make use of my free time to look into this. Hopefully this is all just a huge misunderstanding on my part. I sincerely hope that’s the case. … The other thing though… there was no way to misconstrue that.
When they’d first been brought up, I linked them to the hypotheses my colleagues and I had come up upon learning how the Venlil reacted to humans.
The Federation and its members, spurred on by fear and desperation, culled whatever they viewed as predatory wherever they went. We’d reasoned that this could only have been caused by their centuries of suffered trauma at the claws of the Arxur. Their desire to feel safe from predators outweighing rational thought, resulting in an overzealous drive to keep the numbers of such animals as low as possible.
We couldn’t have been further from the true, horrifying reality.
Unlike the UN, the Venlil government was much laxer in restricting what could and couldn’t be shared between species. It only took seconds to find what I was looking for. An overview of the Exterminators. Their purpose, responsibilities, history, notable actions and achievements, everything was on display and what a terrifying display it was.
For centuries, prior to contact with the Arxur, every species in the Federation had been engaging in the wholesale slaughter of any animal they perceived as predatory and the Exterminators were the frontline in this “Noble Crusade” against the evil taint of predation. Ripped that one straight from an introductory pamphlet.
Equipped with a veritable war chest of incendiary weapons that the Geneva Conventions would’ve banned on sight, Exterminators had a presence upon every planet the Federation laid claim to. They burned away anything they saw as a threat with reckless abandon, and they were proud of it. Such brutality…
Every piece of literature I came across contained some form of admiration of self-congratulatory gratification for the work they did. Hailed as a bulwark against the ever present threat of predators, they were lifted up as a symbol for citizens to aspire to.
To me, they seemed nought but monsters!
I found myself spiralling as the same questions I’d considered a little over a month ago began screaming in my mind once more.
How could this have happened? Why do hundreds of supposedly advanced species actively pursue the extinction of countless animal species because they eat meat? What damage could they have caused to their own worlds by removing predators from their ecosystems? … Is this why the biodiversity of Federation worlds is so low compared to Earth?
My heart dropped into my stomach as the realisation drenched me in a cold sweat. Trophic cascade… on a planetary level. Across hundreds of worlds.
I felt numb.
I needed more information. This can’t possibly be due to them being herbivores acting on an extreme protective instinct, can it? No that’s ludicrous, they’re not animals, they posses higher reasoning and thought process like humans. Their technological and social development shows that… But then why is their ecological understanding so backwards!? What happened to possess them with the need, no, the desire to exterminate meat eaters on the idea that they’re evil incarnate?
Much to my chagrin, I was once again hit with wall after wall of blank search results as I attempted to probe deeper into the ecological impact these actions had upon Venlil Prime.
There’s nothing! Not even a hint of recognition that removing part of the food chain can have dire consequences for an ecosystem. There must be someone I can ask, someone who could explain it to me, someone who- Oh! Bernard, you damn fool, of course there’s someone you can ask! There’s a whole room of experts at your fingertips.
For a moment my heart swelled with relief at the thought, but quick as it came on, hollow numbness once again brought me crashing down.
I could ask them to explain, but what answer would I get? A rationale, evidence based response that alleviates my concern or at least provides context to their actions that I’m missing? Or will I receive a disappointing, “Duh they’re predators, ergo they're bad”?
Considering their collective admiration for these barbaric pyromaniacs, and the work they do, I fear I will play audience to the latter. Commonly held belief is not so easy to separate yourself from when something new comes knocking. It doesn’t matter how much evidence you have, many will be reluctant to change their mind, sometimes to the point of aggression, perceiving the new way of thinking as a repudiation of themselves as individuals.
I imagine they will be quite happy to tell me everything I wish to know about their ecological sciences. However, if my aim is not only to teach them about Earths ecology, but also to coax them into re-examining their own understanding, then I’ll need to be cautious moving forward. If they really are similar to humans, then making them feel like I’m attacking the foundations of their science, as well as their very moral beliefs regarding predators, could turn nasty very quickly. I’m hardly Galileo defending the movement of the Earth around the Sun, but considering the people who may object to my teachings wield flamethrowers I might be at greater risk.
Gallows humour aside, I would have to take it slow. Perhaps the best option would be to continue introducing them to animals for now. Keep them with the herbivores and steadily move them towards the other end of the scale. It might be best to sprinkle in a few nods to the more unappealing truths regrading herbivores as well.
The idea that prey acted in harmonious collectivism while predators didn’t was something I’d have to contend with eventually. I may as well keep softening them up to the concept in the same way I introduced the Roe Deer and the Rabbits. Yes, yes this could work. It would be slow, but at the very least the Venlil in class seemed open to listening to what I had to say.
If I did this right, perhaps they could begin to see the world from my perspective, realise for themselves that their understanding and actions are flawed, maybe then they’d see past their predator and prey binary. Maybe they’d start to see us, see me, as a person first and not a predator.
A beep from my pad drew my attention, an alarm to inform me I had five minutes left of my break.
With a groaning sigh I stood from my desk and collected it, along with my mask and cane, straightening myself out before I returned to the classroom. I could already hear the chatter of my audience members as they seated themselves, ready for the second half of the day.
Were they excited? Curious? Amused?
Could any of them be here to treat me the same way the Federation had treated the Yotul? A “benevolent” hand reaching down to lift us to their way of thinking, only to ridicule us for being wrong in their eyes!? Slow down, don’t get heated. Breathe.
Shaking in frustration I took in a deep breath, holding it for a few seconds before letting it out in a shuddering yet cathartic exhale. Maybe. Maybe there are a few in the crowd who feel that way but not all. There’s proof of that for sure.
My mind drew me to my short but incredibly pleasant time with Rysel. The inquisitive Venlil had been enchanted with what he’d seen and, despite his outburst, had been open to looking at things from a different point of view to what he was comfortable with. There was no malicious arrogance there, not a drop of the dismissive bullheadedness I’d spent the last hour worrying about. Just a genuine curiosity and adoration for animals. Not to mention, aside from the scruffy tan young man who helped me after my accident, he was the only Venlil to not only approach me but talk with and get to know me. Every minute of our after dinner chat had been an absolute delight.
When he’d asked me to remove my mask I’d been terrified. Terrified that my new friend might bolt at the sight of my uncovered face. That my “predatory” eyes might scare him into a panic, as it had done with so many of the ill fortuned exchange partners. But to my joyous surprise, the most magical of things had happened instead. He hadn’t run, he hadn’t screamed, he wasn’t even slightly frazzled at the sight of me.
He’d made me laugh by acting as if he was greeting me for the first time. We’d both laughed in fact, his charming whistles of elation still ringing in my memory. And, he’d made me tear up. Who would’ve thought at my age that being accepted by someone would fill my heart so much.
As I stood in the doorway, waiting for the final moment before my return to tick by, I recalled one other line from the Exterminators introduction pamphlet.
“Many of the Venlil Prime Exterminators come from other worlds within the Federation in order to aid our planet in defending against predators. As well as promoting cross species collaboration, it is also an effort to better protect the Venlil, as they are one of the weaker races within the Federation.” “Weak”, “Primitive”. I’ll have to find a Federation dictionary and look up the word empathy. Make sure they haven’t replaced it with irony by mistake.
Preparing to enter the lecture theatre I secured my mask, comparing Rysel’s actions so far with that lacklustre depiction of the Venlil I’d grown fond of.
As the timer to my entrance ticked down, the red light having gone out seconds ago, I smirked under the mask and voiced my thoughts aloud.
“Weak my ass.”
The door opened.
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2023.05.28 17:52 Cheesypower Wings of Freedom - Part 12
Even almost a week later, Yegel was still soaring on the hope from that day. A weight on his eyes that he'd never even noticed had been lifted, leaving him more alert and awake, the whole world more vibrant and colorful.
Of course, the morning after had brought clarity- and an additional helping of stress. Having had the time to calm down and examine it, he was realizing that the fact he now saw humans as people was dangerous- especially with such an important and dangerous screening coming up. If he accidentally sympathized too much in one place, or had a reaction that he would never have had before...
...He still couldn't bring himself to regret it though. Even the fading of his emotional high hadn't erased what felt like an important revelation- that he no longer thought of humans as predators with interesting quirks, but as real, actual people, with true empathy and sapience. They were still predators, still alien in ways he couldn't understand- but now, that didn't feel like the same kind of impenetrable barrier that it used to be.
Still, now he had to be even more careful going forward- regardless of it being the truth, nobody else would believe him about a predator species being fully sapient and civilized. If anything, trying to convince anyone would get him institutionalized- and he was already fighting far too hard to keep himself out of those nightmare-makers for as long as he could manage. At least with humanity being extinct, the topic was unlikely to come up, but he hadn't made it this far in life without preparing for even the unlikely.
Caution was still warranted though, and so he'd been spending his time preparing and watching the manifests for incoming ships- so when he saw a group of scowling figures approaching him from behind at lunchtime, it was less of a shock and more the realization of inevitability. Exterminators. Just what he needed to deal with today.
Sighing quietly, he fought down the rising panic and instinctive urge to run, and instead pretended not to notice the approaching officers- running never did any good, and trying to fight back or protest would lead to... retaliation.
Their timing was just the worst though- he'd been looking forward to having lunch with his friends, and taking a chance to decompress and relax. He'd been meticulous so far this week at maintaining his stress- other than his newfound indulgence in forbidden predator media- so it wasn't like he was scrambling to calm down. However, he really could use every bit of patience and composure he could get.
The grasping hands roughly pulling him out of the lunch-line, however, clearly didn't care about that, immediately starting to goosestep him through the cafeteria, regardless of the whispers and stares now coming their way.
"Lieutenant Yegel," a vaguely-familiar voice barked harshly as he was shoved forward, "your presence is required immediately. You are coming with us."
A bit late to give him a warning, wasn't it? Especially since he wasn't resisting in the first place. It was just theater to them- reciting something because they were supposed to, despite the outcome having already been determined. It was better to just not antagonize them-
"You know," he couldn't stop himself from saying, "If you wanted a date, you could have just a-"
A massive fist slammed into him, burying itself beneath his ribcage. The words died in his throat as all his air was forcefully expelled, his talons leaving the ground as he bent double over the grey three-toed paw.
"Quiet, predator," the Takkan ground out, slowly removing his forelimb from where it had been buried in Yegel's gut. "you'll only talk if our boss deigns to let filth like you waste our air, got it?"
Wheezing in reply, Yegel fought to try and recover the air that had been forcefully driven out of him, the exterminators yanking him by his wings and dragging him onwards. Perhaps it was good that he hadn't eaten yet- nothing there to have upchucked other than the vile spittle now burning at his tongue.
Guess he must be a new transfer, Yegel thought offhandedly, glancing up to see them approaching a familiar eating area. That would be a useful distraction from the main threat. Fighting down the pain through bitter familiarity, Yegel did his best to relax his feathers and his mind- he'd need all of it for this next mental sparring match.
Ornate doors covered in intricate patterns were thoughtlessly slammed open as the Exterminators dragged him into the private eating area, the shift between industrial flooring and soft, luxurious padding making his dragging talons catch on the delicate textiles. Vibrantly detailed paintings hung amidst sprawling vines imported from Nishtal, cast in cool, fluorescent light that made their rich colorings shimmer as he was dragged by. Even the tables and chairs were carved in the old Krakotl fashions, padding clearly intended for nesting rather than the utilitarian perching of the seats in the mess-hall.
It wasn't perfect though- spots of dull gray industrial walls poked through gaps between the wood, and the carpet was peeling in places, revealing the dirty standard flooring beneath. Despite the valiant attempts, any further inspection made it clear that this was all inserted after this area had already been built- a veneer of elegance plastered over a crude, utilitarian base.
Unfortunately, he did not get the chance to indulge in the comfortable seating, instead receiving a sharp blow between his wings that pushed him to the ground, heavy feet planting themselves on his back and neck to pin him to the ground. Iron grips continued holding his wings, pulling them painfully above his back, where they felt moments away from getting dislocated. Dragging in a rasping breath, his eyes roved to the two exterminators now aiming their flamethrowers at him, a young krakotl female whose adult patterns hadn't even fully come in yet, and a grim-eyed Gojid with distinct scarring, who at least looked somewhat professional as opposed to his partner's obvious anger and twitching trigger.
"Oh, fer Intala's sake," a familiar wheezing voice groaned in exasperation. "Can't trust you Grucknut-heads with anything, can I?"
The Krakotl tottering into the room was puffing what rough, stringy feathers he had left in irritation, a walking cane thunking on the floor as he hobbled over to a table decorated in a carving of two krakotl in flight- though from this angle, it looked more like they were plummeting to the ground. The skin around the geezer's eyes was wrinkled and gathered into such heavy bags that he seemed to be squinting at all the world around him- though Yegel certainly didn't miss the cold, calculating glint buried deep within his eyes.
"Off!" He barked, clacking his way over to where Yegel was pinned, angrily thumping his cane against the very confused Exterminators pinning him down. "Off him, you nut-skulled lunks! Bad enough you can't remember simple instructions, now you make me correct your messes meself? Off I say!"
In the face of the irate elder, the befuddled Exterminator's grips on Yegel loosened, finally letting his wings fall slack enough to make his chest stop feeling like it was stuck in an industrial compressor. Gratefully sucking in air as his rapidly-bruising side twinged, he looked up to find the his crotchety savior kneeling next to him, one wing resting on his cane as he creakily settled into a crouch.
"Sorry about the fuss," he wheezed, flicking his tail angrily at the young krakotl who had been moving forward indignantly. "Ask them to invite somebody to mealtime, and they go and pull this." A shaking wing reached out, offering it's grip to Yegel. "Up you come, boy. I'll not have you eating off the floor like some animal."
Yegel eyed the shaking hand, before planting his wings on the ground, fighting through the pain until he'd pushed himself onto his talons through his own strength. A glimmer of something oily flashed behind the old man's squinting eyes as he watched the display, snorting in amusement when Yegel reached out and pulled the Elder to his feet instead.
"Wasn't much of a request," he commented, carefully ignoring the angry shuffling of the people he knew had flamethrowers trained on him. "I don't suppose you're just wanting to make another sales pitch, are you Geezil?"
"Hah!" the old man barked, toddling over to a cushioned seat, "Always so blunt, Yegel. Straight to business, every time!" The younger krakotl female stepped forward, gently helping the grumbling man into his seat, where he sighed and immediately settled back into the cushions. "Ah, don't worry, got more to say than the usual this time- but first, got a special something for our meal."
With a flick of his wing, he signaled several servers to quietly enter the room, carrying a wide array of dishes and platters that were quickly and efficiently distributed to the relevant tables- both for the old man and Yegel, and even for the other exterminators, who glanced warily between the food, Yegel, and the officer watching everything with a hawkish stare. None of them seemed brave enough to decide what to do- or to stop Yegel as he began moving forward.
Yegel carefully pulled out his own perch, keeping his own movements slow as he settled into the admittedly-luxurious seating. Commander Geezil, the one in charge of the base's Exterminators- and probably one of the oldest individuals still serving within that institution's ranks. He'd heard the rumors about this being an unofficial forced retirement- storing him someplace out of the way when they couldn't make him quit- but he'd come to know the old man too well to believe it. He'd chosen this post himself- and Yegel still couldn't figure out why.
"Sir," the young krakotl started, giving Yegel the stink-eye from across the table, "I must ask what you are doing- you are well aware that he's-"
"Accused, girl," the codger interrupted, frilling his feathers derisively, "by a bitter fleet commander with a record of incidents from his troops longer than his crew-lists- and a penchant for lashing out at those he thinks insulted him." Seeing her shrink back at his harsh tone, his tattered feathers smoothed back down, a shaking wing reaching out and gently patting her shoulder. "Ah, it's politics, grand-daughter- a vile game of inflated egos and pointless posturing. It's like a courtship dance with a Duerten- unpleasant, filled with angry words, with a result that's unpleasant regardless of success or failure- but if you try to skip out, you're liable to lose an eye or worse, hehe."
"Still," she insisted, though much more hesitantly now, her eyes not quite as harsh as they flicked over at him, "with a list of incidents this long, however justified, you must admit it is a clear sign of a violent, unstable nature. If he were to suddenly lash out..."
"I've personally reviewed each incident," the commander snorted, swirling an eating utensil through the bowl in front of him. "Didn't find a single one where he were in the wrong. Besides, were we really concerned about his mind, we got a perfectly good doctor right on-base." His gimlet eyes turned to Yegel, the corners of his beak turned up in a smirk. "You're familiar with her, of course?"
"Indeed," Yegel admitted, keeping his wings at his side despite the tightening of his stomach as the smells of the meal assaulted him. Everything the old man was saying was already known between them- and while it might be simply for the benefit of his new underling, Yegel knew better than to assume there wasn't a different, less obvious purpose. "I've been screened by her multiple times- just like the doctors back on Nishtal, got clear marks across the board."
Her expression was twisted, clearly unwilling to accept that but unable to think of an adequate rebuke for it. "All the same," she started, shifting her wings to roll the fuel tank for her flamethrower from side to side, "I'm uncomfortable with this- it's dangerous to be eating with a predator, especially alone. Just because we're in the room doesn't mean we'll be able to react in time."
The old man's features wrinkled as he scowled, beak half-open, when Yegel jumped on the opportunity. "Actually, I agree," he stated, taking a bit of mischievous glee in the way their expressions popped in shock. "I would feel much safer if someone was sitting with us, to keep me safe."
Beak dropping open, her gaping expression twisted between shock and indignation as she choked at such blatant disrespect- but whatever retribution she thought to unleash was cut short as the old krakotl burst into loud, wheezing laughter, his bony wings thumping against the table as he howled in glee, making the dishes rattle dangerously. His laughter echoed through the room, to the visible discomfort of every other exterminator, half of them sinking back down from where they'd half-risen from their seats.
"Cheeky to the last, you are!" he barked, clutching his chest as he giggled dry, crackling chortles. "Ah, you have a point- best you sit with us, my dear- get introduced with- with this handsome young fella. Yegel, this is Lialu, daughter of my firstborn, and as you can see, the unfortunate inheritor of the branch up his bum." Lialu squawked indignantly, raising a wing as if to smack his shoulder in retribution, but her eyes flicked to Yegel as she paused, slowly settling back into a tense at-ease stance. "You might be working together someday- and if things go well, maybe a little more than that, hehe!" The sour twisting of her cheeks showed exactly what she thought of that idea.
"I'm flattered," Yegel droned dryly, "but I think if she hasn't even gotten her adult patterns, then that's far too dangerous for me."
"As if I'd be interested in such a disgraceful troublemaker in the first place!" she snapped right back, wings half-raised in a gesture of disgust. "tarnishing my career so early would be pointless- and I have no interest in such distractions anyways!"
"Bah, you're fourteen already, better that you start looking for a partner now," the geezer griped, ignoring the way she rolled her eyes uncomfortably. "This work's dangerous, girl- you can't plan for the future as if it's guaranteed, or else you'll find you've missed out." His eyes went a bit glassy and unfocused, staring off into the walls in an melancholic reminiscence. "Regret's a heavy thing to bear, and the years are never kind..."
The two younger krakotl shifted uncomfortably as silence fell, glancing between each other uncomfortably as he lapsed into old memories only he could see. Yegel was silently thankful for the break- these gaps in the old man's train of thought were the only thing that made these conversations manageable.
Unfortunately, Yegel's stomach decided to interject by gurgling it's frustration at being empty, snapping the greying elder out of his thoughts as his gaze snapped across the table. Yegel fought back the urge to flinch, if only barely- and even that was enough for the old man's eye to sparkle with something that made Yegel's skin crawl beneath his feathers.
"Ah, I've been distracting you with my yammering, haven't I?" the Head Exterminator apologized, gesturing grandly towards the array of filled dishes. "Go on, eat up boy- you've got a busy day ahead of you after all!" His wrinkled wing-hand receded from gesturing, and patted the young female on the shoulder. "You too, grand-daughter- gotta keep your calorie intake up to maintain those muscles- gear's heavy, and always getting heavier!"
Whatever his tone and attitude might have suggested, Yegel already knew that it wasn't a request. Gritting his beak, he delicately scooped up a bowl of thick, viscous algae, and methodically poured some into his beak.
Silty and clinging to his tongue, Yegel knew intellectually that this was a high-quality blend- that the consistency and density of the meal spoke of great care taken in the growing, filtering, and preparation of this dish- completely unlike the usual clumpy, soil-tainted slop served in the cafeteria. It was the sort of dish that must be incredibly expensive, even ignoring how far they were from anywhere of any importance- a culinary treat most on the base would have fought fiercely for a chance to try.
Yet as he consciously swallowed it down and discreetly clinked the bowl down on the table, all his tongue could taste was ash and flamethrower-fuel.
"Good, isn't it?" Geezil prompted as his grand-daughter also set her own bowl back down. "Straight from Nishtal, that is, grown properly in the pools, instead of them techno-vats they got on this here base. Reminds me of when I met Laila, you know- or rather, when I first worked up the gumption to ask for her time..." The old man chuckled to himself, his eyes staring off into the distance once again. "Stars, she was beautiful- and me a strapping young lad, straight from academy- big-headed from training, yet a fumbling mess with the other sex. Took me far too long to even make a pass, and longer still to make it official- kept finding excuses, when I really was just scared she'd say no!"
Yegel suppressed the urge to sigh, and found himself sharing a commiserating look with the exterminator who clearly had been through this rambling story almost as often as he had. Maybe he'd entertain the idea of bonding with her over it, if only he wasn't painfully aware of how strongly she and her friends wanted to reduce him to a pile of charred carbon. At least he wasn't suffering alone.
"You know, we got some side-eyes because of our difference in age- I was a fresh recruit, and she had been in the service for twelve years," Geezil confided absentmindedly, a dreamy expression on his face even as his granddaughter blanched and leaned away. "Ah, but we made it fine, found our happiness- and you should too!" he shifted, refocusing on his two unwilling guests. "Ten years made no difference, and you've a difference of what, five years? Not even that!"
Yegel inhaled deeply, letting his chest fully expand as he held back the surge of emotion that would certainly have worn through the elder's patience if let loose. Releasing the air in a deep sigh, he wrangled himself back into a restrained, controlled frame of mind. "Is trying to play matchmaker with your grand-daughter the only reason you arranged this meeting, sir? Because I stand by my utter lack of interest in her."
"Ah, you know it's not, you stiffneck," the old man grumbled, shifting around in his seat as he picked through his own spread of food. "You're a perfect fit for the corps, and we both know it. You got enough fire in you to want to fix the rot in society when you see it, and a good head on your neck as well- just gotta give you the training to aim it right, if you know what I'm saying." His cane reached out and tapped Yegel on the side jovially- and Yegel winced as his bruised ribs ignited in fiery pain, unable to stop a strained hiss from escaping his beak as he bent in place from the automatic tightening of his muscles.
Immediately, the entire room fell deathly still. Where once the silence had been uncomfortable but tolerable and interspersed with the inane sounds of clinking dishes, now it was an oppressive, choking claw squeezing around everyone's neck, unbroken by even a single breath of air.
"Barum." Geezil's flat, quiet statement whipped out through the stillness, a single cracking note that made the Takkan flinch in his seat. There was no waver in the old bird's voice now, only a cold, hard surety that made Yegel's feathers itch. "I was very explicit in my instructions. Was I not?"
"The- the predator resisted!" Barum tried to protest- though the waver in his voice clearly made it more of a plea. "With how dangerous he's proved to be, I had to-"
"Dangerous?" the drawled interruption made the hulking, thick-skinned exterminator flinch back from the dull-feathered bird barely half his size. "I see no injuries on any of you. There has never been an injury from officers bringing him in to me. I... was quite clear about wanting him brought here unharrassed." A single beady eye bored into the towering gray alien, making him shrink into himself under it's heat. "Do I lie?"
"S-sir please!" Sweat glistened on the Takkan's thick grey hide as he cowered back, his seat clattering to the floor as he stumbled. "It- I apologize, I swear I thought it was necessary! It won't happen again, sir! Please!"
Yegel knew what was coming next- the tightening of Geezil's beak and raising of the feathers on his back were a sure sign of how furious the old man was. All he had to do was sit back quietly and let it play out, and it would be both a distraction that bought him time, and retribution for the unnecessary blow he had taken- and was probably going to need to see the doctor for after this- if he was in a position to visit her, of course. Geezil's eyes were hard and cold, focused on his subordinate- getting between him and the subject of his ire would only earn him trouble... and yet, as Geezil's beak opened, he simply couldn't stop himself.
"While this is all quite engaging," Yegel interjected, refusing to flinch back as every eye in the room snapped towards him, Kalina's expression one of open shock while Geezil's screwed up in barely-contained fury, "but you said there was more to this meeting than making another recruitment pitch to me, yet all you've actually given besides that was an attempt to get me to go out with your grand-daughter." His confidence faltered as wrinkled eyes tightened, glaring holes into him, but he rallied himself and carefully considered his next words. "While your... repeated offers are actually quite flattering, I am quite happy with what I have managed to make for myself, without accepting favors or handouts- from anyone."
Geezil hummed to himself, maintaining his glare as the silent room held it's breath, before his jaw twitched upwards into a satisfied smirk, his eyes glinting as the granite in them faded into a smug satisfaction of having found what he was looking for. The entire room relaxed as he leaned backwards in his perch, Barum falling to the floor and trying to muffle the sounds of his heaving for breath. The gentle clinking of dishes and silverware once more filled the room in a very deliberate attempt at making noise, covering up the previous tension with artificial ease. Kalina was giving Yegel a look- not the pure disgust from earlier, but something confused, as if he were a particularly perplexing puzzle-game, or a problem that had suddenly reached an unexpected solution.
"You really can't help yourself, can you," Geezil noted approvingly, glancing over at his grand-daughter's reaction before nodding at Yegel- and making a jerking motion at Barum, who gulped and pulled himself off the floor, quietly hurrying his way out of the room. "So, I uh..." the light in his eyes faded, his beak clacking shut as he rapped his talons against his perch. "I, uh, huh... hmmm. There was, actually something else... Bother me, where were we? I can't remember..."
"I believe," Yegel commented dryly, fighting to keep his own breathing even, "That I was once again saying how content I am with my current position, and that even this doctor being imported just for me isn't enough for me to leave everything behind and run into the Exterminator Corps."
"Ah, right, right," he nodded, snagging on to the lead Yegel had thrown him, before pausing and looking out over the room. "I do respect what you've managed on your own," he finally admitted, setting his bowl to the side, "But this time... this doctor, he's not exactly playing fair. This is politics, the nasty sort- where he's going to do everything he can to make you disappear. Unless, of course..." reaching into his own pouch, he shakily produces a holopad that he slides over to Yegel, displaying a series of documents- and a prominent line for signatures. "You take an alternative. Sign up, and it'll be our own docs who do your eval- and you'll clear their tests just fine, I think. Might not be your ideal career path- but I'm loathe to let such a promising young man get screwed by Old-Molts with thin egos and sharp talons."
Yegel's first instinct was to push the pad away, to reject it like he usually did- but now, he paused, expression screwed up in conflict. A part of him was tempted- severely tempted- to accept- the part of him that was still terrified of the looming threat, that wanted to run somewhere-anywhere- and hide until this whole twisted situation just went away.
Was he being selfish, rejecting an offer like this? Wouldn't the right thing to do be to accept and guarantee he stayed alive, like Jelliba and Kallik so desperately wanted? Why take the risk, when safety was right here, just a signature away- something that would guarantee him the chance to see what Jelliba's final design would look like, to see Kallik climb through the ranks like Yegel knew he someday would? Was it pride that stayed his talons, or was he simply afraid of change?
"Seriously?!" his granddaughter hissed, clearly taken aback, unaware of Yegel's silent internal debate as she rounded on her grandfather angrily. "That's why he's here? So we can just ignore his entire history of warning signs, just because you like him? With a record like his-"
"-He'd fit right in," he finished for her, eyes narrowed in a disappointed glare that had her beak snapping closed as she shrunk back into her perch. "I know you ain't seen most of it, Lialu, but most of our recruits aren't exactly got glistening feathers. Heck, lots of our older recruits got worse on their record! It's half the point of the training regimen, to file down the burrs in their talons, make something useful from them."
File down the burrs... Was he really willing to accept what that entailed? What parts of himself would he need to sacrifice, if he went down this road? What would he become, on the other side of whatever training they had in store for him?
Would he still be Yegel?
Inhaling deeply through his beak, Yegel grasped the pad, which felt far heavier than it should... and gently slid it back over to Geezil.
"If I accepted now, that would practically be an admission of being sick," Yegel breathed, his heart pounding heavily within his chest. "I... am going to see this through- I will pass this evaluation, no matter what he throws at me- and then!" Finally, he looked Geezil in the eye, firming his own resolve as he squared his shoulders. "Then, and only then, will I consider your offer."
Geezil watched on, the burning tongues of some dark flame flickering behind his ancient eyes. When Yegel stood strong, his feathers crinkled into an amused display, even as he shook his head in mock disappointment. "Ah, you really are a fine young lad," he sighed mournfully, rapping his cane against the table. "Are you sure? The doctor arrived only an hour ago in port- this is your last chance, before we have to take you to your evaluation. And without anyone having requested the extra security of one of my officers, why, this might be the last time we see each other!"
Ah. So that was the old geezer's game. Yegel pushed down the rising surge of fear, quivering in his perch as he forced himself to meet the elder's gaze. "Then I'll go ahead and invite you myself- I'm more than happy to have an audience to me proving my innocence."
The old bird's beak twisted into an ugly grin. "I am sure you do. Lialu, go ahead- consider this a learning experience for the future, hmn? Now, I won't waste any more of your time- so off you go!"
The scraping of seats being pushed out was all the warning Yegel got before he was grabbed and pulled from his seat. "Hey, hey, gentle with him, you hard-headed brutes!" Scoffing, Geezil pushed himself back in his seat, glaring at his Exterminators as Yegel was unceremoniously dropped.
"So, you planned this all out in advance, didn't you?" Yegel guessed, pushing himself to his feet- and wincing as his side twinged in pain, reminding him of the rapidly-swelling bruise.
"Dunno what you mean," Geezil denied in faux apology, as his granddaughter gaped between the two of them, clearly lost on what was happening. "Figured you needed a chance to make the right choice- or failing that, a decent last meal." Waving his wing in disappointment, he gestured towards the door- which Yegel found himself getting rapidly pushed towards. "Good luck, lad- I hope to see you again someday!"
"Don't worry, sir," Yegel snapped back, shouldering away from his escorts and refusing to look back. "I'll be back sooner than you think."
The doors slammed shut behind his escorts, reflecting the young female's confused, conflicted gaze as she strode alongside him- Yegel felt a moment of pity for the young girl, who the geezer had clearly thrown into the deep end on purpose. Hopefully she caught onto the game soon, otherwise she'd end up as somebody's tool- though maybe it was already too late for that.
Stomach roiling at the thought of what lay ahead, Yegel couldn't help the feeling of regret for not taking the escape offered to him- sure it wouldn't be ideal, but he owed it to the people most important to him to make sure he stuck around a little longer. Why he'd rejected it... he couldn't quite put it into words, only a feeling that it would have been... wrong, somehow.
The cafeteria murmured again as he was led through the mealtime crowd, catching the panicked gazes of his friends across the room. Kallik was halfway out of his seat before Yegel carefully gestured back, tapping his wing against his throat- and watching his friend slowly settle back down, Kallik's eyes growing focused as he turned and strode towards a different exit, vanishing into the distance as Yegel was dragged through a set of doors out into a cold, grey hallway.
Clenching his gullet, he carefully felt out around Kallik's gift- safely stored within his throat. The creeping tendrils of terror within his mind were growing stronger, but he chose to have faith in his friend- and resolved to make sure his efforts were not wasted.
He'd find a way through- he just had to keep moving forward.
/// one week earlier...
Once he'd had the chance to compose himself, Yegel returned to his viewing- he wanted to see what happened next, after such a massive shift in the struggle now that Eren had actually earned them a victory.
Despite that, Armin's narration pointed out that too many lives had been lost for any celebrations to be in order- a sentiment that Yegel understood, but... well, he wasn't as surprised to to see it from the humans anymore. Imagine, it wasn't long ago that he'd have been expecting them to revel in the carnage like other predators, uncaring of the toll in lives- yet here they were, deeply affected by the loss of so many friends and comrades, and instead of being baffled by it, Yegel completely understood their response.
Oh, and they'd taken advantage of their unique situation to even capture two of the smaller titans, presumably for study- which, given Eren's sudden new powers, was probably something that needed more study than initially presumed. Thankfully the restraints seems pretty extensive, so hopefully they could keep the monsters contained- but still, imagine being the poor soul tasked with keeping them locked down! Hopefully it wouldn't take long for them to get what they needed and dispose of the creatures.
Of course, with victory came the morbid task of cleaning up the aftermath- and not in the way anyone else in the Federation would believe if he told them. Gathering up bodies as respectfully as they could, instead of devouring them on the spot? He'd be hard-pressed to convince anyone he was telling the truth!
When did Marco die?! Yegel thought he'd gotten away after saving Jean! Maybe it was in the push to get Eren to the gate? Geez, and Jean was the one to find him- Marco had been so supportive of him, despite Jean's fear and self-doubts, always willing to give a word of encouragement and affirm Jean's place as leader... and now he was gone, with Jean being forced to help the cleanup crew's by giving Marco's details...
The female doctor brought up something Yegel hadn't considered- that the reason for the urgency of their cleanup was because of the risk of an epidemic breaking out. The dead had been left too long, and now there was a risk of a secondary disaster if the humans didn't hurry. Yegel had never really considered something like that- meat was meat to predators, wasn't it? The Arxur never seemed to mind eating bodies they stumbled across, so he'd somehow assumed that diseases like that weren't a concern for predators.
Just another area where the humans proved their difference from the greys, he supposed.
Thankfully, the camera hadn't focused on Marco's corpse for too long, so Yegel was able to contain his urge to gag, focusing in on Jean and his emotional response- and how expressive human faces were, even when covered by face-masks to protect themselves from germs and contamination. Of course that was when the scene shifted to Sasha and Connie, helping to clean up a massive ball of... flesh... that apparently titans upchuck when they're too full, since they don't actually have a digestive track... and a closeup showed a human mouth inside, still opened in a silent scream...
Yes, hello wastebin, been a moment since we last met, how have you been? Don't mind me, just emptying my stomach again!
...Yegel didn't like Sasha- she was clearly the most "predatory" of the humans- but at least here, the disgust and horror on her face showed that there were lines even she wouldn't cross.
Even Annie, the stoic female who never seemed to show emotion, was shaken- standing over a body, apologizing over and over again, before Reiner pointed out that contrition did the dead no good, and that they needed a proper burial. So the humans buried their dead? That was kind of similar to Gojid traditions for honoring the dead, burying them in vast family crypts.
But, why did the scene shift to a fire burning? What were they-
So that's what those grey flakes that had been falling everywhere were. Yegel had kind of been wondering about that.
So, they didn't even have time to give proper burials to everyone.
Yegel forced himself to take a deep breath, rubbing the sides of his head as he exhaled. He'd say it was similar to Krakotl death rites, purifying the body to drift through the divine winds of Nishtal, to be carried away to Intala's realm, but... in this context, it clearly must have been desperation and urgency rather than a matter of respect. ...Intala, please watch over them.
...Thankfully, the perspective then shifted back to Eren- who was now locked up in a cell deep underground, and chained to a bed. Understandable precautions- his powers were clearly still volatile, and the last thing the humans needed to deal with was a rogue titan wandering around.
Commander Erwin and Captain Levi were outside his cell, watching him. Erwin asked if he had any questions- which, well, Yegel obviously had several, but Eren was still disoriented from waking up. Which made sense, given how much using his power seemed to take out of him- he must have been exhausted after carrying that boulder for so long.
Erwin proceeded to ask about the key that had held such importance- and the secret that was apparently hidden beneath Eren's house. Eren confirmed, and Levi scoffed about how it must suck to have your dad and your memories MIA at the same time- unless it was just a cover story. Which- was a reasonable concern, but... was that what Yegel sounded like to other people?
At least Erwin confirmed that they knew Eren had no reason to lie- and proceeded to ask Eren what he wanted- what his intentions were. After all, to reach the cellar, they'd need to seal the breach in the other wall like they'd done in Trost- which required Eren's special power. Apparently they'd even conjectured that the Colossal and Armored titan must be like Eren- titans piloted by people?! Which did make sense- the Bad Humans probably had an easier time developing and using titan powers, since they weren't trying to fight or resist their predator instincts. That also would explain their motive- killing all the good humans would mean the bad humans would win, and be able to rule as dominant predators like the Arxur did.
...Was there a group of good Arxur once, that lost their own fight with the Arxur Yegel knew?
NO. No, that was impossible- there was no way the greys had ever had anything good within them- they were monsters through and through! Good Arxur? Ridiculous- just because humans were an insane enigma that broke every rule as if they were intentionally trying to didn't mean the same applied to other predators!
Unless of course, the good Arxur had all been killed-
No. NO. Yegel was not going down that path of madness! He was not!
...Erwin expanded on his statement, saying that was why he asked Eren's intentions- because Eren could save "us," presumably meaning the good humans. Eren initially said he didn't know- but then his past, his memories, all flooded through his head- his inner voice angrily declaring that he would stop this with his bare hands! When Levi pressed for an answer, Eren looked up with a downright deranged grin- and declared that he wanted to kill all the titans- every last one.
So that's how Eren turned out different- he'd aimed his instincts towards the monsters, and become obsessed with wiping out the titans, instead of wanting to consume humans like every other titan did. That said something about Eren's mental fortitude- and why he still had difficulties with his power. Actively twisting your instincts like that must cross a few wires, leaving him needing to actively learn things instead of simply doing what came naturally.
Levi seemed to like that answer, a gleam entering his eyes as he approached Eren's cell and announced that he'd take responsibility for him. Not that he implicitly trusted him, but that he trusted his abilities to kill Eren if necessary. He offered Eren congratulations, officially welcoming him as a new member of the Scouting Corps- and told Erwin to let the higher-ups know.
And then announced that, despite this meeting, Eren wasn't out of the woods yet- as he was going to stand trial, where they'd need to argue against him simply being killed.
Because of course it couldn't be that simple.
submitted by Cheesypower
to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 15:25 IAmTheOutsider Bird of Prey Ch. 16 - A NoP fanfic
The origins of the SCRUNCH gravity mine utilised by the forces of the seventeenth expeditionary fleet lie in an evolution of the common field expedient practice of overcharging and purposefully misaligning a naval vessel’s artificial gravity (AG) generation systems to assist in repelling boarders. The major difference between the two though, other than the obvious portability and self-containment modifications, is the uni-directional cavorite plate surmounted to a baseplate of pre-famulated amulite to protect the battery and mine internals from the device’s own gravimetric forces. Therefore whereas a standard overpowered AG plate will drag a target towards the plate surface at a maximum of up to five or six ‘Gs’ – which is injurious and debilitating but insufficiently lethal for infiltration purposes and often damaging to the plate itself – a SCRUNCH mine draws its unfortunate activator to a point below
the plate, thus enabling an AG plate rated for a maximum 5G output to achieve an effective 20Gs of force without compromising its own integrity.
This kills the target instantly and in complete silence save for the small, distinctive, yet unlikely to be recognised noise the target makes on activating the mine, from which the device gets it’s common name.
Unfortunately, the SCRUNCH mine is not without flaw. The unidirectional nature of the AG plate means that should the mine be improperly placed, or somehow flipped over during the course of combat, the target will instead be launched skyward in a just as lethal but far more noticeable display of force.
Which is exactly what happened to Cadet Genrik. The encroaching Kadavians who laid the trap cringed in anticipation the moment the fool had lifted the mine to inspect it. Their sergeant sent a desperate message to the rest of the operation to prepare to have their cover blown but by the time anyone received the transmission it was too late for meaningful action.
In an instant the hammer blow of gravitic force reduced Genrik to a feathery skin-sock filled with mince-water and sent her shattered corpse ragdolling across the sky. The night watch may have been exhausted, the day shift may have been barely awake, but watching one of your scouts bonelessly bouncy-castle out from under a not insignificant tree-line and arc towards you in a trail of feathers has a miraculous ability to wake one up a little. Genrik’s remains soared limply through the air, narrowly missing a pair of cadets on the wall and plummeted into the compound behind. The pair peered fearfully into the hole in the mists below the corpse had cleared. The shock of Genrik’s final passing had stunned them speechless, one coughing and wheezing to try and croak a warning, the other simply emptying the contents of its crop over the side of the wall.
Both died. Unfortunately the instructor next to them had enough wits to not only duck but put two and two together as more muffled electronic coughs issued out of the prison yard below.
“THE ACTIVISTS ARE ESCAPING!”
The first sign that something had gone wrong was when the humans tensed and started jamming the bags over her people’s heads. Some started to protest only to be cut off by hood-enforced calm and shoved into hut 600. Jlana started to say something but Kaital cut her off.
“Ten seconds!” Kaital had his blaster shouldered and was scanning the walls like he expected a hail of fire at any moment. Jlana wisely decided to take cover by the steps up to the hut, ready to put her bag on the moment the last of them entered. Unfortunately, the last bird had other ideas. Cirric’s pride was incensed and he marched up to Kaital, face like a roiling thunderhead, to chew the other tercel out. He was halfway across the open ground between hut 600 and Kaital’s position, growing more and more puffed with rage with every step and heedless of the fact they were in the middle of a delicate escape attempt, when some sort of mass rocketed over the walls and burst apart like a rotten aubergine just short of where Cirric was standing. Whatever it was it had coated Cirric in a fine layer of blood and thrown the idiot tercel onto his back. Jlana’s heart leapt into her crop and Kaital visibly, though not audibly, cursed.
Both Krakotl rushed towards Cirric’s prone form and two of the humans, the pale, colourful furred one and the one in bulky armour, drew suppressed pistols and started plinking away at the cadets and instructors on the walls. Jlana grabbed her idiot friend’s left wing and Kaital grabbed his self-declared nemesis’ right. Together they dragged Cirric into cover by the hut entrance. From within came hurried whispers of the already inside activists to hurry up. To just send them already.
“Cirric, Cirric are you hurt?” Jlana shook the dazed tercel, who groaned incoherently at the motion. Kaital slapped her wings away, supporting the pink-slimed Cirric on his thigh and scraping away at the mess.
“He’s fine, it’s not his blood. Look.” Kaital pulled something that was disturbingly similar to a beak from a mass of sludge stuck to Cirric’s chest. Magenta-ish paté oozed out of the back of it, but it couldn’t have been that,
Jlana told herself, after all the beak was one of the hardest parts of a Krakotl’s body and what Kaital held was crumbling like ancient parchment. “Bag took the hi- aw shit!” Kaital’s exclamation drew Jlana back to the present. The hole that he stuck a feather through was only small, but from his reaction it was a major fucking problem. “Vadym! Got a holed bag here. Fuck.”
Jlana nervously took her bag off from around her neck “What does that mean?”
“It means one of you is here for duration. Bird, can you shoot?” Jlana barely stifled a scream when the stocky human slid into their cover with them as if from nowhere. Cirric tried to sit up but all it took was a firm primary from Kaital to nudge him back down. Jlana visibly pulled herself together. She had gotten through the Central North riots hadn’t she? An actual firefight might actually be safer, she told herself, after all this time she’d actually be able to shoot back.
“Point and pull, right? But…” A cry from atop the walls and the wail of alarms she’d never heard before cut her short.
“No time!” Vadym snatched the bag from Jlana’s wings, jammed it over Cirric’s head and bodily hurled the dazed tercel deep into the hut. A series of ominous creaks and groans emanated from the huts around them loud enough to be heard over the sound of suppressed gunfire. “Translate!” The masked Ukranian screamed into his comm-link, the creaking of pipework transitioning to the hissing spray of IncinerEx fluid. “Translate now!”
There was a crack, a flash, and a blazing roar as blood-magenta flames blew out the barred and reinforced windows of each and every hut. Jlana screamed as much in despair as in fear, Vadym rolling over her and Kaital both to protect them from the fireball and flying glass with his body.
By now what little cover they had was ablaze and it was inevitable that the now wide-awake reinforcements would come at them from all sides. But it didn’t matter. They’d failed. Whatever techno-magic bullshit the humans had planned to pull had come too late to save the last of the people she cared about. She was sure of it.
“Kadavar! Intrusion uplink! All units, go loud!” Vadym roared into his comm-link, loud enough to be heard over the screaming inferno next to them.
Across the base, in one of the many concrete watchtowers, Avaline watched with dispassion the sudden inferno engulfing the prison camp through a green-glass window. A tide of half-prepared exterminators boiled out of their barracks and sentry guns began to swivel in their rooftop cradles; all were hunting for targets. The fog meant that there was little to shoot at, something that the watchtowers were bitching heartily about. Well. Most of them. The former occupants of her tower hung from the ceiling like a brace of maturing pheasants, a gristly ploy to make it seem that the tower was still occupied if a little quiet.
It was only when Vadym’s order came that Avaline became truly alive. A dark, unlovely grin slashed across her face as she pushed the intrusion device deeper into the alien computer’s access port. Toaster Pinocchio was a brazen, over-sexed irritant, but she’d be damned if he wasn’t useful. Avaline sighted her elongated heirloom weapon with ease borne of years of practice using it in confined spaces and picked out her first victim.
“I’m in.” Kaital could taste Djinni’s joy when he heard the words, though he didn’t get what was inevitably a reference when the man exaggerated pushing his visor-shades into the bridge of his nose.
“Aaaand done.” Djinni pushed his visor up onto his forehead, revealing eyes bright with flowing information. “Full control. Security, comms, access, you name it.” Djinni ran a disbelieving hand down his face, pushing the small rebreather he wore to hide his mouth out of the way. “Sweet robot Asimov, Kaital. Have your people not heard of a firewall?”
“No clue. Doubt it.” Kaital curtly called back. He dragged Jlana deeper into what little cover remained while the hail of plasma spattered into the dirt around them and pressed a feather to his headset. “Baseplate this is Epsilon-5, sitrep on evacuee status.”
The cool, even voice of Major Spears crackled to life over his comms. “Epsilon-5 this is Baseplate. Ten successful evacs in second wave. We’re one short.”
“Oh thank the Creator.” He gasped, relief washing the sickly tightness in his stomach away. Jlana opened a teary eye and looked up at him with heartbreaking hope. “Her bag got holed. Final rescue is coming with us.”
There was a pause, then Spears came back on. “Understood Epsilon-5. Maintain comms discipline.”
“Acknowledged.” A smile began to crack Kaital’s beak. “Epsilon-5 out.”
He laughed. Long and loud and with more than a hint of relived mania to it. “Jlana, they’re safe! They ma-”
“KAITAL!” Jlana screamed in fear at something approaching from behind their cover. The tercel rolled over, trying to bring his blaster to bear as the silhouetted outline of an exterminator in a heavy firesuit loomed out of the smoke and fog. It was moving deliberately slowly. It had to be. The figure raised its blaster just seconds before Kaital managed to get his own aimed on.
But the killing blast never came. Instead the exterminator’s innards were turned to outtards, the horrible metallic ‘shglorp’ ringing out a millisecond later.
“Eyes up val Hisui!” Crackled Avaline over the comms. “This is combat, distraction will get you killed.”
“Aye ma’am!” Any other time Kaital would have cringed at his inadvertent regression to his navy squab upbringing. Instead, for the first time in his life, it felt appropriate.
“Khalaz, you’ve got at least fifty hostiles inbound to your rear. You’re about to be boxed in.”
A beefy snort came through the radio, bracketed by grunts of effort. “On my signal, primary weapons free.”
Before Kaital could even wonder what that signal would be from deep in the remains of the prison camp came a deep and carrying roar. It was a whooping, bugling, howling, braying cacophony that chilled hearts and slackened bowels. It was a miracle that Jlana didn’t soil herself and from the way the outlines in the smoke started to move the cadets hadn’t been so brave. Some dived for cover alongside their instructors, some froze in primal terror and a few broke and tried to make a run for it. Those that stayed in the open didn’t stay there for long.
Kaital opened fire in their general direction, driving the semi-organised mob behind walls and into divots with a wide arc of bolts so thick it was as if he was spraying them with a hosepipe. Behind him the sound of suppressed pistol fire was replaced with the roar of Vadym’s monstrous scattergun, the chatter of Djinni’s carbine, and the deafening ululating electronic shriek of Aiden’s machine gun. Where the pistol fire had been mitigated by the exterminators’ heavier armours, taking two to three shots before reliably putting a target down, the full-calibre automatic fire scythed straight through the toughest ceramic plating and whatever the hell Vadym had loaded his shotgun with turned whole knots of exterminators into screaming masses on the floor at range or just straight up converted a single unfortunate to a cloud of meat-flecked pillow stuffing should they get too close. And amongst it all officers would suddenly invert and the smoke and fog of battle would light up from within as Avaline turned flamethrower troopers into screaming infernos.
It wasn’t enough. Kaital’s blaster couldn’t pierce even medium armour without focused fire to drill through the heat-resistant material. For all their power and skill-at-arms, three humans, one sniper, and an angry thingamajig was not nearly enough to even fight their way clear of nearly four hundred exterminators.
This wasn’t the vids. This wasn’t a simulation. The only reason they were still alive was because Djinni had turned off the automated defences. A dying exterminator flung its sidearm into the dirt next to Kaital as it flailed around trying futilely to extinguish the flames that were slowly cooking it inside its firesuit. He kicked it over to Jlana and was pleased to see her pick it up and begin to plink back at their attackers. Hesitantly at first, but then with growing vigour and enthusiasm. It felt good, Kaital decided, to watch your oppressors finally start to die screaming. To know that they popped and sizzled just as much as anyone else. Savage pride flared bright in Kaital’s breast as another cadet collapsed into a smoking heap before him.
He barely realised that he had started to sing. It was a grinding dirge, an ancient war-chant learned at his grandfather’s knee as the shaman-elder wove myths of epic primordial battles and of the hillfolk tribes’ eventual defeat when their prowess and spirit forced the tendrils of malevolent star-gods to come to their mountainous minions’ direct aid.
Paradoxically, the song distracted him enough to focus. His fury had held him and Jlana to their original position when they should have been holding closer to the rest of his team. Kaital coolly radioed that he was coming back into formation and the rest of the squad moved to cover them as he shoved Jlana along in front of him, keeping himself between her and the most likely direction of incoming plasma.
“You two okay?” Aiden asked as the pair slid into the cover of a ruined hut beside him.
“I’m good, I’m good.”
Jlana’s self-reassuring response was common amongst irregulars tasting real, open combat for the first time. Kaital’s was more worrying. It wasn’t a smile that crossed his beak, more of a satisfied grimace as the krakotl continued to belt out an alien hymn at top volume while spraying bolts at anything that looked like a target.
A particularly bold cadet was caught short when the wind shifted and left her exposed in the open. Her armour was enough to keep the resulting green hail from turning her to swiss cheese. Unfortunately the standard exterminator helmet left the beak exposed, resulting in her rolling in agony when a bolt neatly pared it back.
Kaital didn’t complain when Aiden turned and finished the poor bird on the ground, but the look in his eye betrayed his irritation. Something that both Aiden and Jlana noted in their own ways. Instead he turned his fire and ire on the remaining exterminators who were now so densely packed it was genuinely hard to miss them.
“Looks like we’ve started quite the party. Kaital, this most of them?” Djinni quipped from the extreme corner of Kaital’s vision.
“Feels like it.” He called back, flinching as another flamethrower tank detonated in the fog.
“Khalaz has another group tied up by the gate. The Kadavians are at the walls.” Vadym cried over the comms. “Brace for breaching!”
Aiden dropped his gun to let it hang by its harness and pulled both Jlana and Kaital down into what little stubs of scorched cover remained by their scruffs.
Atop the walls more and more exterminators fired blindly down into the smoke and fog shrouded mess that was the remains of the prison camp. It was inevitable that there would be some friendly fire in such a clusterfuck of a cross-fire, but that was why only cadets had been sent in to hold the enemy in place. The officers and instructors purposely held back and let their charges blaze away into the swirling smog. If a few died then so be it, the thought that they might’ve wasted a fellow cadet would hopefully get some of the piss and vinegar out of the survivors.
They were all so distracted by the chaos within their walls that they failed to notice the approaching chaos without. The first sign that anything was wrong was when an entire section of wall was soaked by streams of clearish, sticky gel that arced up and over from the other side. The torrent of blaster fire from the walls all but stopped in confusion, cadets and instructors alike pausing to wipe off the substance that only seemed to work itself deeper into their feathers.
Then confusion turned to panic.
While the gel seemed to be mostly harmless at first the chemical stench of dissolving clothes and melting feathers soon filled the air alongside screams of pain as corrosive motes burned their way through armour to meet tender flesh beneath. It was a terrifying way to die; lightly armoured cadets flailed wildly and tore at their feathers to try and slow the substance’s progress with many falling from the walls in the process and their better equipped superiors desperately tried to strip out of their suits before whatever they’d been doused with ate its way through.
Those that did so realised their mistake the instant the scent of petrochemicals burned their nostrils. It was fuel. They’d been doused in fuel and all it needed was something to light it. Few were quick enough to appreciate the irony before gouts of flame arced up from below and turned the battlements into a fireball.
submitted by IAmTheOutsider
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2023.05.26 23:58 FruitBackground Benophie Research help needed..
If you have read Benedict and Sophie's story in the An Offer from a Gentleman or other books which may have additional snippets, can you please help me with the details on other Bridgerton siblings and spouses reactions.
When did they know? Were they supportive? neutral? concerned? What actions did they take if any (host a ball, help Benedict or Sophie in something? etc)
- Daphne and Simon
- Kate and Anthony
- Penelope (Or Lady Whistledown, even though Penelope and Colin are not married until 1824)
This will help me with a Fanfic Plot I have in mind. Not drafted yet.
I know. I know.. I should just read the book myself. But I just have this idea and I need quick answers on sibling and their spouses. I'll be grateful for the help. https://preview.redd.it/0y4n0fxt092b1.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=3809c44e6d18b70a145f94ab7bd1186a7c200833
submitted by FruitBackground
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2023.05.26 20:21 VeryUnluckyDice Playing By Ear - Ch11 (NoP Fanfic)
- Memory transcription subject: Mezil, Venlil Music Student (First Year) White Hill University Date [standardized human time]: September 6, 2136
Brad’s choice of words would’ve no doubt been flagged by the predatory language bot but I found that such a description was painfully accurate. It had been a couple of Human days since I had last communicated with him but I'd finally landed myself back in a video call with my favorite predator. Unfortunately, I forwent some much-needed sleep to do so. My transcription of the piece that I’d tentatively decided to refer to as Hidden Constellation
had taken most of my attention for the last however many claws. I'd lost track of the time and, as such, had to rush through my assignments without any regard for rest.
Still, I was hellbent on making time to speak with Brad again.
“Yeah, uh. I've just been busy.”
“Been there. Make sure to take care of yourself though. I don't know much about Venlil hygiene but I don't think I've seen any of you look that…scraggly.”
I hardly had the energy for a witty response. I just gave my attempt at a Human nod and rifled through my schoolwork, double-checking to make sure everything was done for upcoming deadlines.
At least I could take solace in the fact that I didn't have a negative reaction to Brad’s visage. Not even a flinch. I supposed that the consecutive shocks and recent discovery had shaken me out of any preconceived notions about predators. Granted, maybe it was just because I was used to him specifically.
Wasn't worth worrying about it really.
After a few moments of silence, Brad decided to fill the gap.
“Look, dude. I know we've only known each other for a few days and I might not be completely confident in Venlil body-language. But, I’d wager that something is bothering you. You look like you did the first time we did a video call when…Well, you remember.”
Brad was right, of course. I was confident that I wouldn't break down sniveling and panicked like that first call. I felt a lot less pressure confiding in him this time. Actually, he’s one of the only people I feel confident talking to about this.
“After you sent me those notes, I was surprised by the extent of information you had on hand. It was incredible just how far back your recorded musical history goes.”
Brad’s eyes circled around in a motion I didn't recognize.
“Look, I know we’re predators and all that but it doesn't mean we record our history any less than a prey species. Honestly, I thought that was well established at this point.” He thinks I'm surprised that they're capable?
“N-no, that's not what I meant. Our records don't go back nearly that far. Honestly, I didn't think anything of it until seeing your notes. But, now that I'm looking at it, your records are much more in-depth.”
“Oh. Sorry, I shouldn't have assumed your implications. I've been online too much. It just seems like Venlil expectations for our cultural values are…insultingly low.” Are they? Hell, I guess mine were low too. It would make sense since most of the public aren't part of the program.
“That's predator-shit. I mean…uh…shit I guess? Not sure what to use in place of that.”
“We usually say bullshit.”
“Big, bovine prey species.”
“Why bullshit, specifically?”
“Hell if I know.”
I’d come to expect that kind of answer from the Human. Nothing about their culture was as homogenous as ours. Whereas Venlil could trace just about anything back to the predatoprey dynamic, Humans were all over the place. I wonder if it would have been the same with us if the Federation didn’t tamper with history.
“It's bullshit then. Humans are just as socially developed, if not more.”
Brad eyed me with suspicion.
“You seem awfully defensive about Humans today. I can’t complain about you being supportive but I have to ask, did something happen recently?”
To say something had happened would be a hell of an understatement. It had only been a few paws since undertaking this project and I felt like a different person. Everything I'd known as fact about the world and the Federation was being challenged. Now that I'm thinking of it, this has gotten pretty out of hand for a music assignment.
“I went looking for Venlil records as old as what you sent me relative to the time period. I could barely find anything. The most worrying part was that it seemed like there were records at one point but historical documents had been directly removed or destroyed.”
“Destroyed? By who?”
“According to the librarian, it was likely the Federation during first contact.”
Brad’s eyes turned off to the side, seemingly lost in thought.
“I could maybe understand there being some corrections for starkly objective misunderstandings like academic assumptions that could be proven false but cultural works? Those have no good reason to be touched. Even some of the most problematic Human works tend to be kept as historical examples. Erasure is usually a sign of indoctrination.”
My claws were clinched, hidden under the desk.
“That’s what I was thinking too. It feels like I don’t know anything. One day predators are brutal, savage devils and the next I can hold a conversation with one and I think the government that has protected my planet for my whole life erased massive swaths of our history for unknown reasons.”
Brad stayed silent. It seemed that he didn’t know what to make of it either. Honestly, I couldn’t expect anyone to have advice for a situation like this.
“It sounds pretty rotten. But, there's not much you can do about it,” he finally replied with a sigh. “If it’s lost or it’s been destroyed, you can only salvage whatever is left.”
At last, a chance to feel optimistic about something.
“That’s what I’ve been doing,” I stated as I rummaged through my papers again. “We have a really old library. Pre-Federation. I noticed something in the architecture. It was laid out a little strangely, but I realized there was music notation designed into the ceiling.”
Brad’s eyes went wide.
“Dude, that’s fucking cool.”
“Right? And, most importantly, it’s not something I found in any of our texts. So, it’s likely something that was hidden during any removal efforts.”
“Well shit, man, let’s take a look.”
I propped the pad up so the camera pointed down onto the desk and laid out the sheets beneath it, making sure to get it all in the shot.
“It’s not perfect. Since it was in a spiral, I had to use intuition to decide which part came first. On top of that, there’s some elements that were distinctly missing since it was built into the structure. Things like tempo markings and dynamics are completely absent.”
“So, that’s what Venlil music notation looks like,” Brad contemplated the work in front of him.
“Oh! That’s right. I never actually showed you. I guess I could give a quick breakdown. As you can see, it’s all divided into a continuous grid of boxes. The boxes have different markings in them that specify different tones. You can tell where it lands depending on if it’s in the center or corner of the box. Different corners are for different tones as well. The ‘octaves’ as you call them are notated by these little ticks next to the initial marks.”
Brad took it all in, reading over the script.
“And those ticks on the outside of the grid. Are those denoting note length?”
“Wow. That seems like it’d be cluttered to read.”
“That’s what other Federation species usually say. But, it’s compact and efficient in my opinion.”
Brad nodded in tentative agreement before responding.
“I feel like Venlil music puts a lot of trust in the musician. Between the glide system and your compact notation, sight reading must be a huge challenge. It’s impressive.”
I wagged my tail slightly at Brad’s praise but my ears drooped as I considered how incomplete the piece was. Really, this was missing plenty of elements.
“I just wish we had an original copy. This one handles…kind of weirdly as I’ve played it thus far.”
“What’s weird about it?”
“Well, I guess it’s not that weird. Rather it just uses some odd progressions or lack thereof. I’m not really sure what to make of it. It has recognizable elements but it's not exactly conventional.
Brad flashed me a toothy happy snarl. Smile. Not snarl.
“It’s probably going to sound strange if it’s so detached from known history that you had to pull it out of the ceiling of an old-ass building. Why don’t you play it for me? Maybe it’s something we can work with.”
“You want to hear me play?”
“Sure, dude. Take a crack at it. Sounds fun.”
“Suppose I’ll use a plehr then. I don't think I've introduced you to it yet.”
“Kila described it to me, actually. She said she used to play it as well. I haven't seen one yet, though.”
I'd nearly forgotten that Kila had some experience with the instrument. It wasn't surprising that she'd already mentioned it to Brad.
I stood from my desk and walked to the corner of my room where the plehr stood leaning against the wall. It wasn't very professional but I didn't have a stand for it and I used it often enough to not want to have to repeatedly take it in and out of the case.
I worked the mechanism at the bottom of the body, plucking strings in between each adjustment to make sure it was relatively in tune.
Satisfied with my efforts, I moved back to the desk, moving the camera to once again face me in my seat. I held the plehr at a diagonal, making sure my paws had full range of motion.
“Ah, so that's what it looks like,” Brad spoke, binocular eyes searching up and down the instrument in a way that would probably make some Venlil uncomfortable. “The stand below the body is a little longer than I expected. The body itself sits pretty high.”
“You seem awfully surprised about a small detail like that. Is there a similar Human instrument you were basing your expectations on?”
“Yeah, there's several actually. I have a guitar here. Let me grab it.” Typical that they have several variations on the design. Seems to be common for Humans to subdivide everything over and over again.
Brad had moved out of the frame but after a few moments he returned with a stringed instrument of his own.
“I already gave Kila a breakdown of this,” he began. “But I suppose you're still out of the loop. This is an electric guitar. Typically, I'd hook it up to an amp but for now I'll just leave it as is.”
He propped the instrument up at a slightly shallower angle than mine and strummed across the six strings while his other hand pressed down along the neck. A simple chord emanated outward in response.
The guitar sounded very warm and rich. The plehr sounded brighter by comparison. I placed my own paws along the instrument and attempted to match his tone, though I only had five strings to work with in comparison to his six.
“Damn, that sounds nice,” Brad remarked. “It reminds me of another Human instrument but I can't think of which one. Honestly though, I don’t think we have anything that sounds exactly like that. The carvings along the body are especially interesting. It looks like it's only partly hollow?”
“That's right,” I replied. “The carvings are very meticulously done to create some particular acoustic properties. Yours doesn't seem hollow at all.”
“Yeah, electrics often aren't. There are acoustic guitars that are hollowed out pretty considerably. Sometimes it's hybridized like the plehr. Did I pronounce that right?”
“Probably about as well as I'm pronouncing guitar.”
“Can't be too bad then. Let's hear your mystery tune. Maybe it'll summon an ancient evil spirit or something.”
“Do Humans think that way?”
Brad laughed. “Nah, it's just a joke. I guess it's kind of a trope in media that ancient knowledge can summon dangerous things beyond our comprehension. It's a ‘that was sealed away for a reason’ kind of thing.”
“Yeah, usually the protagonists tamper with something they don't have knowledge of and it ends poorly for them.”
“We'll, now you're making me nervous!”
“Relax, dude. They're just stories. Come on, I wanna hear.”
Shaking the thoughts of a giant beast manifesting out of thin air and ripping me apart, I readied myself to play. Looking at the music, I tried to release myself from the expectations of common convention. This was probably meant to be destroyed. It won't sound like what you're used to.
My claws found purchase upon the neck and I slid the shapes around while plucking each string at the body below. It didn't sound bad but I felt like something was…missing. No. Not missing. Lacking. Like everything was there but it just wasn't working right. The chord progressions were simple. Almost too simple. It all seemed dreadfully, terribly… Boring.
The circumstances surrounding the tune had set the bar rather high for something that seemed almost mediocre by comparison. For all of music’s subjectivity, there are elements that set great pieces apart from the rest. They need to have direction, something this song seemed to lack. Maybe our ancestors were just shitty musicians. It'd be embarrassing if the Federation erased all our traditional music because it just sucked.
The piece had a tendency to drift between simple repeating tones. There wasn't much motion and even fewer glides. It just seemed repetitive.
However, Brad seemed oddly intrigued. Perhaps even more so than he was during his initial stint with Venlil music. Did he notice something I didn't?
As I continued to play, I saw a small smile for mom across his lips.
“Bump that tempo up, dude. Trust me.”
I did as he asked, playing faster than the average tempo I'd elected to use since I couldn't discern one from the markings in the ceiling. Still, it felt lacking.
“Faster than that. Hell, fast as you can manage it.”
Was he crazy? I had told him before that high tempo portrayed anxiety in our music. But, then again, that was just one more belief being challenged. Was it really true? Had it always been that way?
My claws moved with as much speed as I could muster. Venlil claws weren't so dexterous at high speeds but the simplistic nature of the piece worked in my favor. I pressed the tempo higher and higher. My heart rate rose along with it. I could feel the chase. It's too fast. This is too fast. The fear instincts…
I'd done well to bury my instincts when interacting with Brad, but the music was bringing them out. I could feel my anxieties taking over. It's just music. Why do I feel so scared? Fuck, am I shaking?
“Listen to me, Mezil,” Brad’s voice broke through my internal struggle, anchoring me in his deep bass tones. “You're not being chased. You're not doing the chasing. The thrill, the speed…none of it has anything on you. Don't shrink under it. Own it. Move with the speed, not against it.”
My breathing slowed bit by bit. I focused only on playing. It's fine. You're not in control but that's alright. It's like Naima. You need to be alright with the discomfort. Work through it and it'll go away. Treat the piece like Brad. It’s only shocking at first.
As my heart rate decreased and my muscles relaxed, my playing actually became faster. Finally I landed at the peak of my ability. By this point I was blazing through the excerpt rather quickly, having to repeatedly jump back to the beginning of the excerpt.
“Dude, that's perfect. Keep going. I'm gonna try something.”
I saw him exit the frame once again and heard something heavy being set down outside of the camera’s vision. When he returned to the screen, a cable was leaving his guitar, dropping down where I could no longer see it.
He quietly plucked a few notes and I heard a difference in the sound or, rather, an addition. Something else was mirroring his playing off-screen but it had a different timbre. Was that the amp he'd mentioned?
“I'm going to regret this later but screw it.”
He was carefully adjusting the knobs at the end of the neck, tuning the strings. I realized that he was tuning it to match the plehr.
“I'm not sure how well this will work,” he continued. “This guitar only has twelve tones to the octave. But, I think I've got the gist of the piece.”
As I wrapped back to the beginning of the piece again, Brad joined in. This time, at full volume. The guitar almost seemed to sing. He weaved his part in through mine, occasionally landing on an awkward interval where he'd shake his head, punctuate it with whispered cursing, and trudge onwards.
After a couple passes he seemed to find his footing. The two parts complimented each other as we wound through the chords at breakneck speed.
“Oh yeah, dude. This shreds.”
“Like, it rocks!”
“What about rocks?”
Brad laughed at my response but I just felt lost in a daze. The reality of the situation was, the piece sounded good
. It was exhilarating in a way that, while nerve-wracking, felt…empowering?
“I don't think it was supposed to be played as a rock song like this but it goes hard as hell!”
“You keep saying that. What do you mean by rock?”
Brad shook his head while smiling and stopped playing. After a moment I followed suit, letting my paws relax. He placed the guitar down out of sight and turned back to the camera.
“Mezil, soon I'm gonna show you rock and roll and it's going to blow your mind.”
“Figure of speech! Sorry! I mean it's going to surprise you. Look, point is that fast music doesn't have to be scary. It can be empowering too.”
“Would that be considered…a predatory desire?”
“I don't know. Maybe? I'm not a psychologist. But, I know for a fact that the piece you found was made to be played fast. It sounded almost celebratory, right? Lots of restful chords. High register. Definitely bright by nature.”
Brad was right. It sounded pleasant even at that speed. It wasn't filled with the dark, anxiety-inducing sounds that typically accompanied such high tempos.
“Yeah,” was all I managed to say, my mind still racing.
I looked down at the plehr in my hands, in disbelief at what I'd just played. Was that why they purged all of that music? Was it too intense? I guess that could affect other prey species negatively but it's not much of a reason for erasure. I got over it pretty quickly. Maybe I'm diseased?
Snapping out of my thoughts, I turned my eye squarely to the screen.
“Brad, is rock a type of music? If it is, I wanna hear it.”
Brad pumped a fist quickly into the air, making me jump slightly. An apologetic look flashed across his face.
“Sorry! Didn’t mean to startle you. That's just something Humans sometimes do to celebrate.”
“Punch the air?”
“Yeah, I know. Predatory or whatever.”
“I think I'm beyond the point of caring about that. It just surprised me.”
“Good because rock and roll might be a tad bit intense for you. Like more than what we just played. That was like…baby’s first rock song. If you can even call it that. No drums or anything.”
Brad was projecting a much more bombastic energy than his baseline. It wasn't malicious but it was still worrying as I wasn't sure I could match it.
“It isn’t going to leave me hyperventilating on the floor is it?”
“I doubt that. Not after what you just played. I'll tell you what. I'll start you off easy. We’ll do some old-fashioned early rock. This is back when it was still branching off from the blues.”
“Another topic for another day.”
Once again Brad alluded to another style of music I'd yet to hear. I'm never getting through all of the Humans’ musical history. It just goes on and on.
Brad paused as he was setting up the music. A frown suddenly formed on his face.
“I don't know how this is going to work with the translator though. It's a lyrical piece. It’ll ruin the rhyme scheme if it's translated directly. But, if you turn the translator off, it'll just be gibberish with no meaning.”
“I can set it to subtitle mode. Our translators are brain implants so we can project translated words to our vision instead of doing straight audio translation.”
“Seriously? That's cool as hell. Yeah, do that. It'll be perfect.”
I complied with his request, turning a switch at the controller in my ear.
“Say something as a test.”
His words sounded completely foreign to me but I could visualize their meaning. I hadn't realized just how unusual Human speech sounded. Their odd mouth structures made for some interesting syllables.
I nodded my head in confirmation that it was working. He took note of it and hovered a hand over what I assumed was the off-screen play button.
“This one is a real classic. You ready? Last chance to back out.”
“Ready as I'm going to get, I guess.”
“Alright. This one is called Johnny B. Goode
As he hit play, the guitar burst forth in full force, slamming itself right to the front of the piece. Shortly after, the rest of the band joined in with rugged vocals in tow. Deep down in Louisiana close to New Orleans Way back up in the woods among the evergreens There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode Who never ever learned to read or write so well But he could play a guitar just like a-ringin' a bell Go, go Go Johnny, go, go Go Johnny, go, go Go Johnny, go, go Go Johnny, go, go Johnny B. Goode
The percussion kept the racing tempo consistent behind the pair as what I recognized as a piano joined the fray. However, it made the piano part in Naima
seem tame by comparison. All the parts were wild and energetic, feeding off of each others’ intensity. He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack Go sit beneath the tree by the railroad track Oh, the engineers would see him sitting in the shade Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made The people passing by they would stop and say "Oh my what that little country boy could play" Go, go Go Johnny, go, go Go Johnny, go, go Go Johnny, go, go Go Johnny, go, go Johnny B. Goode
It took me a moment to notice it but there was another part hidden there too. A deep, plucked sound was supporting the arrangement. It sounded like another string instrument. Perhaps a lower counterpart to the guitar?
What I noticed more than anything was that, beyond my analytical thoughts, I found my claw tapping out the beat on the desk in front of me as I bobbed up and down with it in my chair. Brad, what in the Stars are you doing to me?
The guitar tore into the riff from the opening, barreling into a short solo. The energy was as high as it could get. It was having an effect on me but I couldn't pin down what it was. It was overwhelming but positive. Those two things were historically in opposition of each other. Yet, the Human song seemed to have them working together seamlessly.
I decided to myself, if this was predatory, they might as well throw me in a facility. His mother told him "someday you will be a man And you will be the leader of a big old band Many people coming from miles around To hear you play your music when the sun go down Maybe someday your name will be in lights Saying "Johnny B. Goode tonight" Go, go Go Johnny, go Go, go, go Johnny, go Go, go, go Johnny, go Go, go, go Johnny, go Go Johnny B. Goode
And with a few more punctuations from the band, the song was over just like that.
“Well, what do you think?” Oh, it's fine. You just challenged a major musical concept that I've been taught all my life.
“What the hell was that?!”
“You don't like it?”
“I do like it! That's why it's confusing! It's just like Naima
! Everything makes sense but it's just so…unconventional. There are hundreds of Federation species and yet all of them have certain common practices. Human music disregards these entirely. Yet, despite that fact, it all just works
Brad ran a hand through the hair on his face.
“I don’t think any of these songs were made specifically to defy convention. Any new musical styles were created just to form a sound the artist wanted.”
That answer was something I'd already assumed but still couldn't bring myself to believe.
“Weren't these people afraid? Afraid that it'd be too far from normal? What if everyone just shunned them? What if they lost all their credibility? What if they got tossed in a facility?”
“I suppose that did happen. Some musicians were only truly recognized after a lot of time passed. Don't think anyone was detained just for their stylistic choices though. If they were, it was for other reasons.”
“How could anyone innovate under that threat? Weren't they scared of being ostracized for that?” Weren't they afraid of being thought of as predatory?
It was the thought that I didn't say. Humans were predators. I'd only just recently learned that it didn't make them evil. And, I'd seen what being controlled by fear did to our history. Torn pages. Empty shelves.
I already knew the answer but Brad brought it home with his own question.
“Weren't you scared when you entered this program?”
“But you did it anyway.”
“I had to.”
Brad shook his head.
“But now? You asked to hear intense music knowing that it would challenge you. You've grown on account of curiosity and passion.”
“That’s what drives people to face their fears. Passion and courage.”
“We've never been encouraged to face our fears. It's always been ‘stick to the herd’...‘avoid danger’...”
Brad’s eyes pierced right through me. But, I found that they grounded me.
“Mezil, be honest. Why did you want to study music?”
The reason? It had been many claws since I'd truly considered it. The short answer was simple: I liked music. I liked to play it. I liked to hear it. But, why did I want to create it? There was tons of music to listen to from all over the Federation. I'd never manage to get through it all. Why did I want to make more?
That's right. It was my most selfish, most predatory desire.
“I wanted to do something great. I wanted to write music that would inspire people. I wanted to be recognized for it and remembered.” I wanted to do something new. It was the deep desire I'd tried to suppress.
Brad’s smile returned.
“Then do it.”
“It doesn't matter what the rest of the galaxy says. Humans will listen. To hell with the conventions. You have your own sauce. You just gotta find it!”
My confusion was mounting but I understood his optimism. Could I really do that? It felt like the world was changing. Maybe this was an opportunity.
“No matter what,” Brad continued. “Don't let fear of failure prevent you from following your dreams. Everyone fails but it's not the end of the world. You just gotta get back up and keep going. Remember what I told you about perseverance. That's the Human way.” The Human way.
I thought back to the first video call, scrambling on the floor but determined to face the predatory visage again and again.
I thought back to Kila, encouraging me to push my limits and battle my fear.
I thought back to Haeli and Lanyd as they were surprised but excited to hear about my progress.
I thought about home. It'd been so hard to leave. But, it would have been harder if I'd stayed.
I didn't even realize the tears forming in my eyes until my vision was blurred.
“Damn it. I can't get through one conversation with you without crying,” I chuckled lightly. “You must be doing this on purpose you asshole. But, thank you, Brad. How is it you always know just what to tell me?”
“I have experience helping people with anxiety. It's alright.”
Under most cases, I would have left it at that. But, something tugged at my mind. Do I even know anything about Brad really?
“Could you…tell me about it?”
The request took him by surprise. I'd never really asked about his own struggles. I'd been afraid of what a predator’s life might entail. But, that wasn't fair. Brad was my friend and I needed to know.
“Hmm? Yeah, sure, but it's not a very pleasant story. See, I had a cousin that grew up in an abusive home. The UN wouldn't want me telling you this but Humans can definitely be straight up evil.”
That wasn't so surprising to me. I knew the UN wanted the Human record to look spotless for the sake of convincing us that they weren't inherently monstrous. But, every species had dangerous individuals.
“There are Venlil that do terrible things, too. We usually say they have predator disease. But, that descriptor seems pretty lousy now that I'm speaking to you.”
Brad nodded along.
“Her father was absent. Her mother was as kind as a witch. Berated my cousin for everything. Couldn't be a single slip-up or it was yelling and beating. It was heartless and cruel. One day, the mother died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Maybe it's wrong to say this, but I was glad when I got the news. Everyone knew what was happening but social services couldn't get enough dirt to get my cousin under different custody. When her mother died, she was finally free of that. My parents offered to take her in when we were both just teenagers. I guess we were the best-equipped out of all the family.”
I thought back to my own cousin that stayed with us back home, having lost his parents to an Arxur raid. He hadn't been abused. Rather, he’d lost his family. It felt like commonplace for prey like us. Would it be worse to have family and lose it or to never have true family to begin with?
Brad paused for a moment, eyes still trained on nothing. I didn't need to know Human body language to know what he was feeling.
He sighed before continuing.
“She was always pretty jumpy. Kind of like a Venlil in that regard. She kept it together pretty well but I could tell that she was never truly relaxed, even back then. I remember one day, she accidentally dropped a glass bowl and it broke. It was no big deal, really. We had like ten of them. But, she broke down on the spot, apologizing up and down, begging us not to beat her.”
My eyes were wide in horror. What kind of cruelty had caused someone to act that way?
“It took us a week to convince her that it was alright,” Brad continued. “It took even longer for her to start to trust us for real. She had deep-seated trauma. But, despite it all, she grew up to be a capable person and a good friend. Now she’s got a partner. And, even though that trauma will always stay with her, she learned how to cope with it and manage it. That's why no matter how scared you might be, I know you can get through it. I've seen the worst of fear and I've seen it beaten.”
The silence hung in the air for a few moments. I took in Brad’s story with awe. How can such a bad experience create such a hopeful outlook?
“How did you
handle it all?” I asked. “You were just a teenager, right?”
For the first time, I saw anger flash in Brad’s eyes. It sent chills down my spine.
“I was fucking pissed! How can someone torture their own daughter? How could her mom be such a heartless bitch?! I'm still mad about it to this day!”
His expression softened.
“But that's why I feel joy every time I see someone conquer their fear. It's like a jab to every sick bastard that ever used it to control someone.” Anger…as inspiration?
“I don't usually think of spite as being a positive thing.”
“You should try it sometime. It's a hell of a motivator.”
“I don't think I have any naysayers right now.”
“If you really want to make music that's different, you’ll have some in due time. But I know you’ll handle it. You're getting more confident every day.”
I wagged my tail at his compliment. He's right. It's only been a few paws but I'm not the cowardly Venlil that first started this program. I've had a lot thrown at me but I've taken it in stride.
“I'm glad you think so highly of me. Without you and Kila, I'd have given up already.”
“I'll encourage you however much you'd like, dude. You're my friend.”
I flicked my ears in agreement. I'm gonna finish this damned assignment. Whatever it takes.
Looking at Brad, I felt for the first time that I truly understood him. I hadn't really thought of it before but subconsciously I’d wondered why he went so far for me. And, most of all, I was beginning to understand the essence of a Human.
For him, understanding was a necessity. It was his own form of perseverance, being patient for those that needed it.
Strength in kindness; the antithesis of Federation teaching. Do prey truly need to be weak to be good-natured?
I felt that I already knew the answer.
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to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]
2023.05.26 13:29 Liberty-Prime76 Letter of Marque - A NoP Fanfic 8
As always, thank you to u/SpacePaladin15
for the wonderful universe that is NoP
Thank you to u/cruisingNW
for proof reading! First Prev. Next
--- Memory Transcription Subject: Taisa, Venlil Starship Mechanic, Venlil-Human Exchange Participant
Date [Standardized Human Time]: August 24th, 2136.
Humans are strange. I wasn’t really sure that there was another way to put it. These big, goofy predators simultaneously made very little sense to me; but had moments where they couldn’t be more relatable. Sometimes what Chris said was so alien I found myself drowning in my confusion just trying to determine what he was telling me, yet at others it felt like I was just talking with a bigger Venlil from another province; a similar life with but a few small differences.
Like their passions, for instance. The degree to which they could become engrossed with a topic was strikingly familiar. Chris had informed me, adamantly, that he had no formal education beyond what was normally required in his country, and yet he was a wealth of information on so many subjects he had developed a passion for throughout his life.
The history of Humanities voyages on the sea, and to some degree into the stars, the vessels they used, the cultures that built them and how they differed in purpose and design. The history of the music developed in his country and the instruments used; there were so many of them! So many categories, so many sub types and variations, each one to make just a slightly different but yet necessary sound!
It was astounding to see the glimmer in his eyes, the movement of his hands and the excitement in his voice as he recounted his favorite stories of success, of failure, and of trial and error to me. Everything from ships hewn from towering trees by hand to gargantuan monsters of iron built to take on the worst Earth’s oceans had to offer.
That same amazement was part of what motivated my reaction when he told me the type of ships he worked on.
“There’s actually a lot of different types of merchant ships in use today! Bulk freighters that haul massive amounts of cargo containers on set routes from one major port to another, Ore haulers and Oil tankers that carry raw materials from harvesting to processing ports, Reefer ships which haul perishable goods, RO/RO ships haul cars and trucks between ports and, what all three of the ships I worked on were, [Translator Error: Use of Human slang for excess sexual activity] Freighters which don’t hav-”
I spit my juice across the cafeteria table before he could manage to finish his explanation. “You worked on a WHAT?!” I bleated, louder than I probably should have. A pawful of pairs around the cafeteria took notice, though most were still engrossed in their own conversations.
“A [ERROR: Use of Human slang for excessive sexual activity] freighter? I mean, it’s not the most dignified of ships, but there are worse ways to make a living.” He responded, tilting his head to one side, seemingly confused by my outburst.
“OK… So, the translator is flagging an error for Human slang, something about ‘excessive sexual activity’? Did you uh…” I faltered, a light bloom coming to the surface, trying to think of the best way to put the thoughts in my head into words. Luckily he seemed to catch on before I had to go any further.
“Oh… OH! No! Uh, no…That’s pretty old slang, I’m surprised it’s flagging it like that. A uh… The type of ships I worked on uh… were not that.
It’s a term used for ships that have no regular schedule, so we could get hired to ferry cargo from one port to any other no matter what, usually more expensive but if you need something moved on short notice, it’s your best bet.” He clarified, fumbling through his answer as his face turned a light red. Huh, I guess Humans can bloom too, how adorable.
He gave a rough cough before abruptly moving on, his eyes still wide. “Anyhow! Like I was saying, there are a lot of different types of ships we use, and used, over the years! Do the, uhh… Venlil have ships?” I couldn’t help but whistle a short laugh at how he was reacting.
“Not really, at least not for moving cargo, a lot of the towns near bigger bodies of water might have pleasure craft or vessels for hydro farming but most of our shipping is done by transit trains or transports.” I thought for a moment, a question coming forward. “How come humans still use ships? I remember the data dump said your species have been doing some degree of manned space travel for [175 solar years]! I would think by this point using a shuttle would be more efficient.”
“Well, you’re not wrong, we have been doing manned space flights for a while now but the scope needed to move heavy cargo is still kind of beyond us, at least to the scale that would replace freighters. It’s more so a problem of efficiency, our transitional craft still aren’t all that big or efficient so trying to move cargo with them is less than ideal.” He responded, sipping on his juice before taking a bite out of his First Meal fruits.
“Wait, did Humans not start with transitional craft? How did you first get to space?” I asked, my ears raised in question.
“Oh, well that’s actually a really fun story. I think so, at least. A big driver in our space flight development was the ‘space race’ between the two major powers of the day: the U.S., where I’m from, and the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. The two countries were enemies, primarily based on their politics and economics, starting what we called a ‘cold war’ where neither side actually fought each other directly, mostly doing espionage, and building a lot
of nuclear weapons.”
I didn’t like the sound of that, if these two countries had been mass producing nuclear weapons I could see how the federation had decided the Humans had wiped themselves out.
“In building these weapons we needed delivery systems, it started out with planes carrying them to a target, but that was slow and vulnerable. So we decided to build massive missiles that would enter low orbit and come back down half way around the world.”
He had a slight smile on his face, and a hint of humor in his voice. “We sent men to space on pillars of fire originally designed to flatten cities, reaching to the stars with anything that could get us into orbit.”
“The first space flights were satellites and capsules mounted to these rockets in place of a warhead. The very first human space object was a metal sphere, Sputnik, about 2 feet in diameter that just… beeped over the radio, sending the message to the world that it was up there. The two countries started racing to be the first to do one thing or the other in space, building better and more specialized rockets for the tasks. First man in space, first multi-crew mission, first orbital rendezvous… finally culminating in the first man on our moon.”
“After that we still kept trying, progressing and reaching further, eventually some private sector companies stepped up to the plate and took their own shot at pushing the envelope. It took quite some time but we eventually managed to make some good progress! The level of organization from the U.N. that came about after the satellite wars really helped… to…” A look of concern crossed his face as he started looking behind me. I realized that the cafeteria around us had become as quiet as the night. I looked over my shoulder, following his eye-line to see one of the large screens mounted to the wall displaying a message: Update: Research Outpost 1 attacked by Arxur bombing run. Station sustained no damage. Human craft were successful in destroying the invaders. Defending craft suffered massive casualties.
Followed by an extensive list of names; each one a human. Not a singular Venlil accounted for in the death toll. I turned back, looking at Chris. He was still, his face a blank canvas while his mouth hung open slightly. A few pairs rushed out of the room, Humans ushering confused Venlil out of the canteen, but much of the room was still. Humans continued to gather in front of the screens, some talking, some just staring.
Angry shouts started sprouting across the cafeteria, jeers and slurs toward the Arxur, calls to action, demands to ‘bomb them into the stone age’. Most of the Venlil in the room bolted, getting themselves out of the situation as fast as their legs could carry them. One of the Humans by the screen turned and walked out of the room, determined purpose in their stride
. Another sat at his table, staring at the list, his body shaking as a tear rolled down his cheek.
The look on his face contorted, anger spilling over as he slammed the table. He turned on the nearest Venlil and began screaming, nearly incoherent in his rage. He blamed us for what the Arxur had done, calling us weak and spineless, screaming that we let his brother die with our cowardice with our ineptitude. I hated
it, hearing that same vitriol that was thrown at us from the Federation coming from the mouth of a Human hurt; far more than it did from any Farsul, Gojid or Krakotl.
Then he pulled his arm back, preparing to strike at the Venlil in front of him. I could see the panic set in, that momentary instinctual fight between freezing and bolting. The fist swung out, right for the Venlil’s head. And hit something, no, someone, else? Out of the corner of my vision I realized Chris was no longer sitting across from me, he was standing between the Human and the Venlil, a hard look on his face as he stared down at the enraged man.
“If you’re gonna take out your anger, put it into someone your own size. They,
” He motioned down to the Venlil behind him. “didn’t do anything.” His eyes, filled with a fury I had never seen before, bore down on the man as the crowd around them gained a wild angry energy and the jeers against the Arxur grew.
“THEY GOT HIM KILLED! WE WOULDN’T EVEN BE OUT HERE IF NOT FOR THESE ALIENS, AND YOU’RE DEFENDING THEM?!
” The man screamed, his voice nearly feral as he shifted the focus of his aggression, pulling back for another punch for Chris’ chest.
Chris did nothing to stop him, simply standing there between the man and the Venlil, a few others that hadn’t bolted moved behind him, nervous ears and scared tails, seeking some form of shelter to weather the storm, searching for an exit. The man hit him again. And again. And again. And again. Pounding his fists against my friend, screaming and crying as he did, blaming everything and everyone he could for his loss.
I found myself on my paws, running towards Chris and the Venlil behind him. Why am I running towards angry predators?
The thought flashed through my mind like a rupturing drive, I wasn’t sure, but I knew I had to do something to help. Something to get people out of harm's way.
I scrambled up behind Chris, the angered man still raining punches on him in anguished rage. I addressed the Venlil behind him. “We need to go, this isn’t safe.” I beckoned with my tail, before turning to run out of the nearest door, the herd following closely behind; luckily not quite a stampede. I guided a few more through the door as I turned around to make sure Chris was ok.
“What did I do? Why did Phillipe snap like that?! He wasn’t like this this morning!” The targeted Venlil exclaimed, tears soaking into his wool, tail thrashing erratically as he bolted down the hall.
A group of Humans in uniform ran past me through the door followed by a series of bellowed orders.
“AT EASE, ENSIGN BEAUDELAIRE! THAT’S AN ORDER!
Chris was still standing there, the man getting one last attack before security personnel restrained him, screaming and wailing as they dragged him off. I rushed over, needing to check on my friend. I had
to make sure he was ok. A pair of Venlil still cowered behind him, their ears pinned in fear as he turned to check on them, stooping down to try and seem smaller.
In the softest voice I’d heard from him he sighed, “I’m sorry you two had to see that. It’s alright now. If you’d like, me and my friend here can esco-” Before he could finish they bolted out the door. A look of disappointment crossed his face before he dropped down to sit, leaning against the wall. “I suppose not… You alright, Taisa?”
“Yea, that was… scary. Are you alright?” I responded, my ears back in worry, tail swaying slightly with concern.
“I’m good…” He groaned, nursing his bruising cheek, “Guy had a mean left hook, but it’s nothing a few days rest and some ice can’t fix. Hopefully they get him sorted out, guy needs some professional help.” He replied, pressing a finger against his cheek and wincing slightly.
I paused for a moment, wondering how Humans dealt with predator disease. I should ask Chris later what he thinks they’ll do with him. I shudder to imagine what they do with defective Humans
I noticed another Human and a Venlil speaking with the security guard who had been shouting orders, the guard pointed towards us before the pair saluted him and started walking toward us.
“Excuse me, would the two of you be willing to answer a few questions for my associate and I?” The Human asked, a data-pad in one hand, stylus in the other.
“Uhm, sure.” Chris responded, brushing himself off a little before standing up. “What all do you guys wanna know?”
“Why don’t we start with a rundown of what happened, Mr…?” The guard trailed off, tapping at his pad, presumably trying to identify us for his report.
“Dewey. Christopher Dewey. And I’d be happy to help, but I don’t suppose I could get an ice pack?”
“Certainly, Mr. Dewey. Jaisle, do you mind?” The guard said as his Venlil partner tapped something into his pad and moved off to get some ice from the cafeteria staff. “Now, why don’t you begin, and I’ll fill in with any questions I have along the way?”
“Well, Taisa and I were sittin’ at our table in the corner there when I noticed the alert on the screen. I knew someone was gonna be rightly upset about it so I was on the lookout for trouble before Ensign, uh,” He trailed off, looking up to the guard for help.
“Ensign Beaudelaire '' Chris nodded in thanks, a fairly versatile gesture apparently. “started shouting. I was well and all fine to let him shout his heart out and calm down but I saw him turn on that Venlil and had to do somethin’.
I don’t wanna see someone hurt for somethin’ they had no part in.” Chris explained as the guard nodded along, listening and typing on his pad.
“And why was it that you allowed Ensign Beaudelaire to assault you without retaliation?” The guard queried, raising an eyebrow.
“I didn’t think it particularly worthwhile to beat a man goin’ thr-.” The Venlil guard came back, midway through his explanation, handing Chris the ice pack which he promptly pressed to the side of his face, wincing slightly. “Thank you, sir. As I was saying, I’d rather not beat someone clearly goin’ through a mental breakdown.”
“Do you wish to press charges against Ensign Beaudelaire?”
“No Sir, I figure he needs some help though. If that could be arranged, I’d be grateful.”
“I see, I’ll include your request in my report. Did you have any prior interaction with Ensign Beaudelaire or the Victim, Mr. Ralten, before the incident?”“No Sir.”
The guards asked Chris and I a few more questions, gathering information on the specifics of the incident as well as the response of the crowd to the news.“Well Mr. Dewey, Ms. Taisa, I think that’s about all we need. Keep in mind that you may be contacted to verify any information provided at a later date. Mr. Dewey, do try not to get punched in the head more; would rather you didn’t need to go to the infirmary.” The guard finished, nodding his head before turning to leave with his partner.
Chris let out a long low groan before running a hand through his hair, “God, I need a hot shower after that one.”
“I couldn’t agree more.” I responded, signaling exasperation with my tail.
--- First Prev. Next
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2023.05.26 08:05 Oxwithaknife The Outsiders Iceberg(Incomplete)
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2023.05.26 06:49 Fit-Assistant5499 Best Real or Fanfic reaction from Mike?
I can’t remember which book it is but there’s a moment where Mike learns that a fanfic guess was actually real and he yells “GET THE F- WAIT WHAT!?”. Would appreciate anyone who knows what book or episode it was off the top of their head
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to 372pages [link] [comments]
2023.05.26 06:06 Leafcaller Why are some girls comfortable (and at times even weirdly insistent at) being non-binary, while guys I know are disgusted at any bit of non-masculinity in themselves?
(Sorry if the wording is a little clunky here, if you have any questions please let me know. I'm not very experienced in knowledge of gender, sexuality and LGBTQ+, so please educate me.)
Girls I (15F) know and am friends with can be very comfortable in their own skin, some openly loving and accepting their femininity. A lot of others don't, and cringe at the slightest mention of them being gendered. Maybe they're LGBTQ+ and identify as not being a girl, but it's so weird to me how they even seemingly put down some things associated with femininity to themselves.
For example, I read reader-insert fanfiction, and in writing there are lots of point of views. First person is generally not recommend for reader-insert, but second (the best pov for this genre) and third (if done correctly) are pretty much fine. However, even if the fanfic is amazingly written, if the main character is identified as female in a third person point of view and mention elements such as lipstick marks, the girls get extremely disgusted and flat out refuse to read. If the self-insert character's pronouns are he/they, they can thoroughly enjoy every other element and details in the fic. I won't force them to read because everyone has their own cup of tea, but I feel that their reaction to it is kind of weird.
Rejecting feminine clothes (even ones such as those tight female shirts made to show off the wearer's curves or something but honestly I gotta agree on that one) and any association of femininity to them, some outright changing their names wherever possible. Are these signs of them being comfortable in their own skin and transgender? Or is it internalized misogyny?
Onto guys, maybe it's because we're mostly on Discord and interact with its servers, but guys I know are transphobic, sending text memes shaming and looking down on men by associating them with femininity (think like looking down on characters such as Astolfo from Fate, or associations with things such as cute "feminine" clothes and submission, mostly through an explicit context.) They're also scared and refuse to acknowledge any sign of femininity or queerness associated with them, because they think they're signs of weakness. I understand that internalized homophobia and misogyny is rooted deep in everyone, but is this the same case as the examples of the girls I mentioned above?
Praising masculinity ("be a man", yet with heavy expectations placed on a man to be able to look after and provide for his family/community without any help, pressure to not show emotion at all costs), and looking down on femininity (seeing it as being submissive and weak, with pressure to look for a spouse before you "turn old and undesirable", expectations to always be in a perfect mold to serve others) - I live in a SEA country, so they're common in our society. I'm a little disappointed that they are. Maybe it's because I consume more Western media (which is still full of these problems, albeit lighter than Eastern countries') with than go outside and observe.
Everyone here, male or female, young and old, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, please educate me and help me learn and understand the world.
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to teenagers [link] [comments]
2023.05.26 05:29 UncleCeiling Writing on the Wall, Chapter 15
First Chapter Here
Previous Chapter Here
My other story, Going Native Here
Here's a little chapterino to keep things moving along!
The water was pleasantly cool and would be soothing, if not for the company. Meechie worked soap into her fur with a methodical efficiency designed less to get her clean and more to get her done with the task as quickly as possible.
“I guess we’ll know who to blame when they have to get the plumber out here again,” one of her coworkers, Na’eta, complained. The Shil’s voice was canted to carry in the locker room, making sure everyone during the shift change could hear the complaint. Meechie tried to ignore the woman as she began rinsing off, taking a moment to hiss out a quiet retort to herself.
“What was that? Does the little animal have something to say?” Na’eta was clearly trying to provoke a reaction. Why couldn’t people just leave her alone? Meechie hated confrontation, but she also despised that cowardly part of herself. She felt so inadequate. So unlike the heroes of her stories.
What would Faye say if he knew how pathetic Meechie was?
Pulling at the ragged tatters of her courage and using it to cover her anxiety, she turned to face the Shil woman. Meechie wasn’t about to let her prince down. “I said,” she retorted, her voice as flat and calm as she could make it while still letting it carry across the locker room, “if the various disgusting discharges from your disease-riddled cunt haven’t clogged the drain, I doubt a little fur will make a difference.”
The Shil’s face turned a dark blue, full of rage and surprise. For a moment, Meechie thought the woman was going to close the distance and throw a punch, but Meechie was in the shower section, still wet, while the purple giant was dressed and dry. When the rest of the room burst into peals of laughter, that seemed to settle it. The woman lowered head and turned away. Meechie pushed down a smile as the Shil stomped off.
The Rakiri finished her shower with alacrity. There was plenty of time before the bus showed up, but Meechie still felt small and vulnerable. Being naked in a room full of people always gave her that feeling. She practically sprinted to her assigned locker and began throwing on the clothes she had spent most of last night picking out.
The meaty thud of a Shil hand on her back nearly had Meechie jumping out of her fur, but she managed to corral the instinct to turn and claw her attacker. Her fur bristled under the too-stiff fabric of new clothing.
“Nice one,” Meechie’s new attacker remarked as she walked past.
A few more thuds fell on her as Meechie belatedly realized that she was being patted on the back by her coworkers. Congratulations for standing up for herself, or for pissing off a Shil nobody really liked? Were she not the girl she was, Meechie probably would have preened at the attention.
Instead, she just bent forward to give the impression she was looking for something in her bag and waited for it to be over.
Faye hardly recognized the bus Rakiri when she spotted her. Meechie was standing farther forward than she usually did, closer to where Faye tried to eke out a place and far less hidden than she normally tried to be.
The Rakiri’s brown fur, the color of dark chocolate, had a healthy sheen that made it seem two shades lighter. It also laid differently, smooth and unmarked by smears of grease. Meechie was wearing dark slacks and a light blue shirt that accentuated an ample chest that Faye hadn’t realized the young woman had. A fluffy tail, mixed browns and blacks, swept behind her. Did she normally keep the tail tucked into her coveralls? Faye couldn’t remember ever seeing it.
The entire ensemble was unusual enough that Faye was pulled up short. It was like the grubby greasemonkey of a cat-dog-alien had been replaced by some sort of pod person. Maybe it was an office day for her? In and out of meetings instead of turning wrenches?
With a small start, Faye realized that she was perhaps being a little rude by checking her bus friend out so openly. She blushed slightly and approached Meechie, who for her part was staring at Faye’s face. Staring and frowning.
“Oh!” Faye reached into her purse and pulled out a glasses case, offering it to Meechie. “Thank you for loaning these to me. And good morning.”
“Good morning.” Meechie blinked, then looked down at the case. “You didn’t have to-”
“I appreciate you loaning me your spare
glasses,” Faye interrupted, hoping the Rakiri understood the extra emphasis she added to the word. “They really saved me yesterday. I wouldn’t have been able to get through without them.” She pressed the glasses case forward until Meechie had to either take them or accept that Faye was going to stuff them into the Rakiri’s shirt.
“You… you’re welcome.” Meechie took the case and slipped it into a pocket. “Your new sunglasses suit you better anyway.”
“But they won’t help if I need to weld something.” Faye reached up and ran a finger along the arm of her new glasses. The frames were in a cat’s eye style, vibrant red plastic, and as she touched the controls on the side the lens tint blinked from darker to lighter. “They don’t get nearly dark enough for that. They can change color though.” Another gentle motion with her fingertrip and the frames went from candy apple red to the color of a noonday sky. They had been an expensive purchase, but her dad always said that if you had to spend money, it should go between either you and the ground (things like beds, shoes, and tires) or between your face and the world. That second part had been an addendum added when Faye was twelve or so and he came home from a jobsite with half his face in bandages. He really did like to shake hands with danger.
“If you need something welded, perhaps…” The Rakiri’s fur bristled and she seemed to shrink slightly as her posture showed something between nervousness and outright terror. “Perhaps you can call on me?”
Faye looked the woman up and down. Meechie seemed young, maybe a human early twenties, but it was hard to tell with other species. She was certain that she was missing something, but Faye really couldn’t pin down what societal cue she was cue-less about. Perhaps it was best to just be direct.
“Meechie, are you asking for my number? Or offering to give me yours?”
The Rakiri’s posture slumped further and her eyes lowered as she gave a tiny nod.
Well, that was an easy enough conundrum to remedy. Faye pulled out her pad and gave the screen a few quick taps before flicking her contact info over. A beep sounded from Meechie’s pocket and the Rakiri perked right up.
Despite getting off on the wrong foot (wrong nose?) early on, Faye felt like maybe she was getting a read on Meechie. She was shy to the point of being antisocial but still seemed nice. Harmless in her own way.
And Faye seemed to be collecting strange friends.
“Well, that was a bust.”
Teran De’darbi jerked his head up from his pad, attention completely derailed. He had been reviewing a pretty solid brief his team had been putting together; it was pretty boring in principle, dealing with the way road construction companies were earning their contracts, but the way reality had to slam back into place just proved that the story would be a good one. He drew his attention to Miz'ra Qendal where she loomed over him. The huge woman really seemed to love doing that.
She grinned, clearly pleased that she managed to startle Teran, before continuing. “That Wera Yendil girl, the one you asked me to talk with. Not a whole lot there.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, unless your story is about how girls being girls can get out of hand, there’s nothing worth following up on.” The large reporter shrugged. “That girl needs a therapist more than anything. She spent most of our talk blubbering about how sorry she was and how she ruined her life.”
“Huh.” Teran wasn’t sure how to respond to that. ‘Girls being girls’ was a pretty good topic, maybe as a multi-part feature. Following up on girls who took things a bit too far and the results. Things had been shifting in the last decade or so, with more calls for accountability and less toxic femininity. Maybe Faye-
“Huh?” Teran jerked to attention.
“I was asking if you had any luck on your end, or if this whole thing was just an excuse so you could get yourself some of that Human pussy.” The broad-shouldered Shil leaned forward, decimating Teran’s personal space with a single motion. “Unless you already managed to hit it and quit it. You did seem pretty perky this morning.”
“I did no such thing,” Teran raised one hand and gently pushed on Miz’s forehead, moving the woman back out of his comfort zone. He noticed idly that he would need a fresh manicure soon. Definitely before his next newscast.
“Ah, so one of your infamous one-night projects.” She smirked. “Let me guess, someone who just happens to be in the same social circle as the Human? A coworker maybe?”
Teran felt his face heat up. He lowered his eyes back towards his work, trying to hide the shame. The big woman’s hand patting him on the shouldn’t wasn’t reassuring in the least.
“Well, at least one of us got something out of this. After all, if you can’t find a story you can always make one. You’re good at that.”
Teran tapped on his pad with one finger, letting his fingernail do the talking with a pair of loud clicks. Miz got the idea, rolling her eyes before lumbering off to go ruin someone else’s life or whatever she was working on right now. He watched her leave, attention focused, trying not to think about anything at all. When she finally turned the corner out of the room, he began to count.
At ten, Teran calmly stood up, tucked in his chair, and strolled over to his private bathroom. He kept his posture neat, his stride even, and managed to get himself settled without drawing any attention.
It wouldn’t do for anyone to see him cry. He was a professional, after all.
– “Sanity returns, in most cases, when the book is closed.”
Tevor really hoped that was true. The book Faye had recommended, The Left Hand of Darkness
, seemed to have done something to his mind. He had thought the recommendation a casual one, just Faye being nice, but then something went horribly wrong.
He got home, drew a bath, and found the book pretty much impossible to locate on the ‘net. A quick message to Faye and she sent him the original English edition as well as one from “The Hugo & Nebula Project”, some group on Earth that translated old science fiction into Shil while trying to preserve the meaning and artistry of the original text. He decided to go with that, and as the tub began to fill Tev started flicking through the introduction.
Two hours later, he was still clothed and his bath was cold. Everything was forgotten, and Tevor was truly captivated. It was like the book was written for him. How had Faye known? Had she known at all, or was it just a fluke? Perhaps the Goddesses were playing a prank on him. It wouldn’t be the first time.
The problem with Shil literature, Tevor had decided years ago when he was just a little kid, was that it was written by Shil’vati. With almost eighty-nine percent of the population being thirsty women, the media catered largely to womanly tastes. It was a cavalcade of sex and violence, or tame stuff written to help keep men in their place.
Human stuff, by and large, was much better. In those stories, men were actually doing things, were fully developed characters with thoughts and motivations of their own. And if the women weren’t as well written, it wasn’t nearly as one-sided. Men in Shil’vati fiction were often little more than objects to drive the story along, with no value except their service to the plot.
Still, there were problems. Motivations were always the same in any culture, it seemed. Sex and violence. Tevor thought he understood it. Women wanted to fuck men, men (in theory) wanted to fuck women, and the plot was sort of the bread you wrapped around that core to make a story sandwich.
Then Faye went and fucked it all up. He could kiss her, if the idea of smooshing lips together and getting someone else’s spit in his mouth didn’t give Tevor the heebie jeebies. She had given him a crisis wrapped in a story.
On the planet of Winter, men didn’t have to worry about women wanting to have sex with them. Boys didn’t walk the streets in fear that they would end up in some girl’s pleasure dungeon, drugged and raped until their mind was gone. They didn’t have to worry about any of that, and not because it was a perfect utopia. It certainly wasn’t.
On Winter, there simply weren't any women at all.
That was an oversimplification, really. Le Guin had created a complex world and populated it with people who, while strange, felt like real characters. The only difference was that, for most of the year, sex and gender simply didn’t exist for the Humans on Winter.
Yet that one difference changed everything.
The story was brilliant too, but that really wasn’t the thing that had captivated Tevor. It was the setting, the world where sexuality, the need to procreate, wasn’t central in everyone’s mind. That central tenet of Shil’vati culture was gone, and in its place were people who went about their lives free of the weird urges and gross consequences.
Why did Faye do this to him? Sure, Tevor wasn’t happy, but as far as he knew nobody was actually happy. He just stayed in his lane, let Sade act as a buffer for him, and figured that some day, eventually, he’d either figure out what was wrong with him or give in to the inevitable and be unhappy with a family instead. Even if he didn’t want sex, he could physically do it. Probably. Maybe.
Tevor sighed as he ambled around the kid’s section in the library. Second shift generally did a good job keeping things clean and mornings were always slow this time of the year. He looked around at the way everything was laid out, the big pillow-filled pit for the more rambunctious kids to read in, the smaller raised area for little boys who didn’t want to have to deal with the crush of girls. Even here, before puberty turned everyone into a monster, he could see the effects. He had always seen them, but they were easier to ignore before Tevor spent seven hours straight reading that damn book.
Next week, the flood gates would open and University City would be filled to the brim with students from preschool to post-graduate specialization. There wouldn’t be any more of these empty mornings and Tevor would find himself with a lot less free time. If he was going to figure out what was happening to him he needed to do it quickly.
Tomorrow. Game night with Sade, Faye, and Mahnti was tomorrow. That was the time to strike. Tevor would talk to the Human and see if he could figure out exactly what was wrong with him, what he could do to fix it, and if Faye had any more recommendations on something to read.
Even if it had fucked up his whole life, The Left Hand of Darkness
really was a great book.
This is a fanfic that takes place in the “Between Worlds” universe (aka Sexy Space Babes), created and owned by u/BlueFishcake
. No ownership of the settings or core concepts is expressed or implied by myself.
This is for fun. Can’t you just have fun?
submitted by UncleCeiling
to Sexyspacebabes [link] [comments]
2023.05.26 00:16 Nisirisis Looking for PRT backlash
Hey, after reading tons of fanfics, I know there is certain trend about PRT not taking down gangs, but when MC or someone other who upsets status quo by taking down some gang, the PRT suddently get heated up and send reinformencents to that city to catch this MC.
In short, they let gangs slowly kill and torture population, fearing open and swift action against them to take them down, and yes, I know about Boston games, but at the same time, I think if PRT truly tried, they could stop anything like this happening. (Yes, I know, Cauldron mainly to blame for it.)
In short, im looking for fic where population at large, goverment or other's GET aware of such blatant actions, as rather than TRY to get rid of gangs, they try to strong arm or catch the person who took out the gangs.
Im looking for fic where the PRT isnt bashed but get looked on more throughtly by the goverment on people's demand, where their REACTION rather than ACTION stance is being called out, as they serve as band aid rather than cure.
submitted by Nisirisis
to WormFanfic [link] [comments]
2023.05.25 22:44 Rusted-1 Stronger Together 10
Hello everyone, It's Chapter ten, double digits. Wow, never thought i'd make it here. I mean I did but still, it's wild. I truly hoped that you enjoyed the last chapter. That you can now look deeper into your own life and think on a deeper level. WHELP THAT'S THAT! (Or is it?) Here comes more shenanigans. Hope you all enjoy it! This fanfic is based off the fanfic The isolationists, by Seeyouon_otherside
. Constructive criticism is appreciated. I have gotten approval from Demon_Deity
to add a reference to their series Married Migration into this chapter. I have also gotten permission from Acceptable_Egg5560
to add a reference to his series The Nature of a Giant.
(Also got the cover art working!) Memory Transcript Subject: Sergeant first class Anax, Zeyzell rebellion navy.
I am never, never, letting that crazy lady convince me to drink coffee again. Oh boy. \
Throwing up over a toilet, what a great way to spend my fourth week in the rebellion.
“I’m so so sorry that you had this bad of a reaction to coffee, at the same time this is hilarious.” I heard Captain Leiejaa say behind me.
ohhhhhh*, are not sorry, *\
ugh**, in the slightest. Oh no.” \
“Eh just a little bit, you almost finished?”
“Does it look……\
“Uh that was a big one, you…done?” Asked Leiejaa, with actual worry in her voice.
“Yeah…I think…I think I’m done. Oh man I’m so glad that, oh man, that that’s out of my system.”
I just sat there breathing heavily as air once more entered my lungs. Oh…ah the SMELL.
“I’m going to…clean…everything now.” I groaned as I got up.
“By the balancer am I the only Zeyzell that can handle coffee?”
I wandered over to the sink and turned it on. “Didn’t Evenglade try some too?”
She started to snicker at this.
“OH yeah, yeah he did. I have zero idea what it did to him but oh…it was HYSTERICAL! It made him super loopy and started to say stuff like…” She started to walk around in circles and pretend to stumble around. “Do bugs take fall damage? My hungry ass couldn’t be a surgeon. Rats are the capri sun of the vampire world.”
She then stopped and started to cry and laugh “Ahaha! I don’t even know what a vampire is. Pretty sure it’s something from human culture. Oh man, I just remembered another one, haha! This is my favorite. Not my circus, not my monkeys. But the clowns definitely know me.”
She regained her composure, before losing it again.
“Then, oh my darkness, Alvaro walked into the room, Evenglade walked directly up to him, stoned out his gourd as Alvaro put it, and said this as he pointed at the poor dude, "The universe will not end in a massive explosion, but a deafening silence.”
She just started to laugh uncontrollably, I just sighed and stuck my entire head in the now full sink and just screamed into the water. It worked surprisingly well getting the remaining vomit out of my mouth and nose.
By the time I stuck my head up from the water Leiejaa had finished laughing and FINALLY finished.
“Poor Evenglade then screamed at the top of his lungs and ran full sprint between Alvaro’s legs and knocked himself out when he slipped on the wax floor.”
I just shook my tail in disappointment.
“Did you report that?”
“Oh yeah definitely, you know you’re the only one I feel comfortable exposing my true self too right? That I’m not that stickler for the rule’s military girl. Thanks.”
I honestly have no idea if that was a compliment or a threat.
Suddenly the ship's intercom beeps to life.
“Captain Leiejaa, Sergeant first class Anax, get up to the bridge now.”
We both put on our military caps and ran up to the bridge, I didn’t even have time to dry my face off. Suddenly the alarms for all hands to your stations came on. I saw Aurora run by us carrying Skit to her room, there was a metal pipe in the littles one's mouth that nearly took me out. We ran to the elevator and got to the bridge. Walking out of it we saw Alvaro, Lieutenant Colonel Leminarc, and two other officers standing by the comms station.
I got a funny look from Alvaro from my wet appearance but that was all the reaction I got.
“What’s the situation sir?” I snapped to attention. As did Leiejaa.
“At ease both of you.” came Lemons' reply, that nickname is really starting to stick, “We just found a small fleet of ships, numbering about one hundred and seven ships, mostly light destroyers, frigates, cruisers, and supply ships. However they do have the Shredder as their capital ship.”
“The Shredder? Isn’t that ship loyalist?” Came a surprised Leiejaas voice.
The Shredder, I remember that ship. It’s the polar opposite of the Oro bus Veictora, light armor and shields for a capital ship, a glass cannon is what Alvaro calls it, it makes up for that in speed, weapons, and pure destructive power. Although older than the Oro’ it still was not to be taken lightly. Her captain was an odd one though. Never knew what he or she would do. Or who it was if the rumors about the death rate were true.
“Yes, that's what we’re worried about. We’re only one ship, we could take most of them and win, but we won’t come out unscathed.” Lemon replied worriedly.
Suddenly the comms chirped to life “This is the Shredder, come in Oro bus Veictora, please.”
Please? This raised more than a few eyebrows.
Lemon grabbed the microphone. “This is the Oro bus Veictora, Are you ice queen or Loyalist?”
“Am I, what, queen?” A very confused voice over the speaker said.
Lemon just shook his head. “Alvaro I swear hanging out with you is bad for my career.”
Alvaro just laughed at this.
Lemon got back on the Microphone. “Sorry about that, a Nickname the humans gave High Captain Ferlinn. Are you with her?”
“No, but neither are we loyalists.”
Neither? The entire bridge looked at each other in confusion, is that even possible
“Say that again?” Was Leminarc reply.
“We are neither, frankly we don’t want to be affiliated with either side. We are…loners looking for a home, none of us want to fight our own people.”
“Sir!” Our scanners technician whispered. “I’m picking up…about twelve ships in the middle of that fleet.”
This raised even more eyebrows.
“Shredder come in, we are picking up twelve cloaked ships in the middle of your formation. Confirm.” Leminarc sternly said.
The silence that followed for the second afterwards was deafening. Suddenly the ship's de-cloaked. They were…civilian transports, long distance ones, small ones, about sixty to seventy people in each, the scans told me.
“Again.” The Voice of the captain of the Shredder came over the speakers. “We are with no side, we do not wish to fight our own people.”
Leminarc seemed to consider this for a moment. “Please hold, I need to discuss this with my crew.” He put down the mic and looked back at us. “Alright, what are your thoughts?
Leiejaa went first. “This is a very interesting proposal, I myself am tired of all the death and destruction wrought by this galactic war, the federation fighting the humans, Arxur, and the Zeyzell, from the latest reports the Arxur are fighting the humans, federation, the loyalist and rebel Zeyzell, the Zeyzell are fighting each other. The Arxur also has a civil war starring right under their feet, An entire sivkit herd vanished without a trace, that does not just happen at all, then you have that really disturbing report form that federation outpost on the edge of the known galaxy that said something about a giant predator chaos god, before they went dark then the entire fleet that was sent to deal with it never came back so that place is quarantined!”
She started to breathe heavily.
“You…had a lot on your mind huh?” Alvaro said, patting her back.
“Wait? What was that last part about a…chaos god?” I questioned worryingly.
“Oh no I’m not finished, we initiated protocol p-37 so now we’re just killing innocent civilians, the Arxur eat children and anyone else that isn’t predatory, the federation burns and tortures anything that LOOKS predatory! I noticed Alvaro wince at that last statement. Look at this!” She threw down a report with a picture of a VERY tall Venlil, or Venbig it should probably be called as it was tall with some sort of blue braces on either leg. “They saw him as a menace, a predator, someone who would kill for pleasure just because he was TALL! TALL! The only tall people I know are nothing but kind and protective! Just look at Alvaro! He’s the most kindest, honest, caring person I’ve ever met and would live and die for any of us!
A big fat smile washed over Alvaro and he blushed bright red.
“Our OWN government,” she continued “sent a kill squad to kill awesome Alvaro over here just because he was a xeno, AND to kidnap innocent kits! KITS! all of this is not even mentioning the other absolutely INSANE reports, actions, and other anomalies that are going on right now!”
She stopped and just breathed in and out.
Alvaro stepped up behind her and started to pat her on her shoulder wich he had to bend down to do. “Hey it’s ok, in and out, in, and out…” Alvaro was trying to comfort her.
Leiejaa breathed in deeply, closed her eyes, and exhaled. Then her gaze fell upon Lemon. “With all due respect Leminarc, I want to get all of us, kits, human, crew, friends, everyone, all of us far away from this absolute fuck nuts loon bin of a galaxy right now.”
She just stopped and looked down. She really did have a lot on her mind huh? I then looked around the bridge and saw that everyone was looking at her.
“Lieutenant Colonel Leminarc, I agree with Captain Leiejaa.” We all looked over to see one one of the officers swishing her tail in agreement.
“I’m on board with her too sir.” The other officer agreed with her too.
What followed was a chorus of “I too sir.” And “I’m with the captain on this one.” All of them standing up to emphasize their commitment to their choice. A very stoic moment. All that remained was Alvaro’s and Leminarcs say so. We all turned to look at them. Alvaro was deep in thought while Leminarc was contemplating something.
“So what you're saying…” Alvaro began, “is that we’ll be in space for who knows how long, traveling the galaxy to find a new home or place to live safely?”
“That’s the gist of it, yeah?” A confused but curious Leminarc told him.
A ear to ear pure joy of a grin covered Alvaro’s face. “This is gonna be GREAT! Aw man it’s going to be just like a road trip! No! A space trip! \
GASP!** just like the ones my parents and I went on! Aw man, we can have snacks and watch movies! Wait!” He pulled out his data pad and started to look through it. “YES! All 567 of my movies and TV shows are still downloaded, oooo! Some of my video games too!!” He then waved his hand in an arcing motion. “I’m going to get all of you hooked on Swat Kats, Star Wars, Voltron, Lord of the rings, Fallout, Skyrim, Pizza tower, Minecraft! Oh man this is going to be a-may-zing!” He turned to leave when, “That’s a yes for joining the club of this wandering party!” With that he ran full sprint out of the bridge giggling like a kit.
We all just stood there for a moment before bursting out laughing. Man, I am glad Alvaro is here. We all turned to look at Leminarc and for his decision.
He looked around at everyone and sighed a breath of relief. “In all honesty I was hoping we would leave this place. Now we can do it with friends.” Leminarc turned on the mic again. “Alright, we’ll join you.”
A joyful voice came from the microphone. “That’s great! Glad to have you on the team! Fall in behind us for now. We’ll figure out the ship's armament and place later.”
A chorus of cheers came from all around the bridge. Then we all started to leave back to our stations when I pulled Leiejaa to the side. “You OK now?”
She nodded. “Yeah I needed that. It’s just what they planned to do to Alvaro, how the federation actively targeted civilians, the Arxur who eat basically everyone, it’s all a lot to take in.
I smiled “You know you could have talked to me?”
She looked at me a bit surprised. “I thought I annoyed the shit, or vomit rather, out of you?”
I chuckled at that. “You know you’re the only one I feel comfortable exposing my true self too right? That I’m not that stickler for the rule’s military girl?” I said in my best Leiejaa impression.
She was surprised for a moment “You…really think of me as a friend?” A simile appeared on her face and her tail swished happily.
I opened my arms and hugged her, and she hugged me back. “Best of friends.” We both stood there a little more, then let go of one another and continued on our way, knowing just a little more about each other.
submitted by Rusted-1
to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]
2023.05.25 21:27 Canisventus May's "Truce" Contest Results!
Okay here they are Ladies and Gentlemen! Before i want to get into the results, I must say i really appreciate everyone entering and giving their best shot. This was my first time judging and there were 5 entries! I am so happy that happened. Thank you all for entering! You don't know how much it matters to me!
Thanks to Shenron for being the co-judge and giving me the advice i needed, I'm very thankfull!
Anyways lets get to it! 5th place: "Confession of The Guilty" Mind by u/i_lackwater The notes of Canis:
I really like when people write about the feelings, thoughts and stuff from the point of view of the characters that are not very often used(at least I haven’t read stories from pure Ben perspective). I find those kinds of things interesting. You portrayed Ben’s feelings about the situations well and every time you did, they were the strongest points of your story.
I don’t mind if the story follows the actual script a bit, but I think this time it was a bit too much. There were some minor changes, but I don’t think they were enough.
When you follow the script this much, there must be something that keeps people engaged, otherwise it feels like you are reading the text version of the game. This is where your strong point, the way you described Ben’s feelings, and his thoughts would come in to play. You should have used that strongpoint more and given us glimpse into that empty head of Ben further.
The way you changed the story fits to the truce theme well. Ben saving Kenny and them getting on better terms, it was nice.
About changing things. Its better to change stuff that matters for the benefit of what you try to accomplish, just like what you did with Ben saving Kenny. For example, Vernon dying while trying to save Brie had literally zero effect to the overall story. The story would not feel any different if he died or not. It kind of felt unnecessary and it was like you tried to see a way to change the story even a little bit, which is alright in a sense, but it felt forced, because it didn’t really give me much emotion in addition of it not changing the story in anyway.
You are good at writing how Ben feels. Rather than Vernon dying for Brie, you could have replaced the whole Vernon thing and add more Ben to it. “Hesitation hits me, should I follow them? Not all of them hate me, but what about Kenny? There is also the possibility I'll make another mistake.” more of this please and think deeper. That would have been great, and you really have potential in that regard!
I think if you continue making improvements and stuff, you could have great stories ahead. I think you have a lingering skill to get in the characters head, to empathize with them and tell us how they feel, you just need to hone it for a bit.
You had the theme right as well; this is the kind of thing I had in mind with the theme “truce”. Ben and Kenny fits to the theme well. Points
: 2/10 The notes of Shenron
So we’ve got a simple story of Ben confessing about his hand in the death of Kenny’s family. Given the theme, it is a promising premise on its own. But giving this story the good twist of Ben being the one to save Kenny was a nice touch.
Unfortunately, this story isn’t without its flaws. Putting aside the abundance of in-game dialogue, I question the purpose of Vernon’s death, one of the few variations from the source material. While it is acknowledged it could put Omid’s survival into question, the story quietly brushes it off and ends without an answer for his fate in favor of the Kenny/Ben conflict. Focus is a sensible choice in such a short story, but it only further highlights my question: why did you kill Vernon for? This narrative choice ultimately served no purpose other than adding onto Ben’s guilt.
And then, there’s the Kenny/Ben conflict itself. Beyond the-frightened-of-walkers boy deciding to argue with Kenny despite the deaths it just caused, I found the resolution… a bit too easy? Given he just learned about his family’s death at this point, I think Kenny would be too angry to listen to the boy’s somewhat self-pitying speech, let alone apologize to him.
I realize it is harsh given it’s your first time… but I have to give it a 3/10 with the hope you will enter more often in the future. Points
: 3/10 Overall score
: "Negotiator" by u/Contentine The notes of Canis
This kind of humour is straight up my alley and the way you strike home the fact that Ben is a huge screw up is just so hilarious. “And, as a sign of a good will, we give you Ben.”. That was funny as hell, it was like Ben is a common item to be traded with to someone lol. Poor Ben.
The way Lee gives Ben to them. Ben coming home all defeated, knowing he is a shit Midas and Lee just being so sure about it, like it’s a course of nature that this would happen. It was awesome.
Although don’t use caps like that. For example: “Ben is a GREAT worker. He will be a big HELP. He is VERY RESPONSIBLE you can COUNT ON HIM” I think it felt a bit forced and didn’t add into humour for me. The “He-he” is in the same territory.
It was way too short as well. After that you kind of wish there should have been more. Well if there is something good about it being short its that it didn’t feel like it was dragging and I didn’t feel bored or anything. lol
The thing is, this could have been just some random funny post or reply in the TWDG sub. If you actually would put more effort to make longer stories like this with the same kind humour, I would love to read them. This is why the points are a bit low from me, even though I really liked it. I feel like you really have potential to become great at comedy kind of stories.
I’m not gonna go into detail about if the characters felt natural or anything like that. There isn’t much to go on and in the comedy fics its not really that important I think.
Anyway, thanks for the laughs, I Enjoyed it. I really wish I would give you more points, but this felt it could have been way more to go around. Apply yourself! Points
The notes of Shenron: Yet another tongue-in-cheek entry signed Contentine. Well, we certainly can't take that away from you: it’s quite an unique entry. I do have to admit I spent the whole time just waiting for that stupid, dumb fun ending. And then it came and got a chuckle out of me. That counts for something.
It’s just a shame it was preceded by a somewhat boring and heavy-handed narrative. Given how sudden and urgent the situation was, it feels less like Lee was living the events and more like YOU were the one describing the events. Just… why?! Why the hell did you feel the need to take a whole-ass paragraph to explain the situation Lee was in?! We all played the damn game, for crying out loud! You could’ve made the entry funnier by making the narration itself ridiculously funny. Or better yet, by contrasting the panicked reactions of the serious situation with the dumb situation set up Lee’s almost suicidal confidence and the even dumber ending! Just… anything other than what we got, cause if it wasn’t for the comedic twist, it’s really just retelling the game scene to a T.
I quite honestly can’t give it anything more than a 2/10. Points
2/10 Overall score
: "Live to suffer" by u/NazbazOG The notes of Canis:
Okay well that was a ride. This story was nice in a sense that there were so much plot twists and I mean...there were HUGE amount of plot twists. I think I have never read, watched or played anything that had this many, it was crazy.
it was nice to see the plot and what Aj was doing unfolding. I gotta say you did well with Marlon’s manipulation thingie, how he did that to Aj. You described how Aj and Clem acted well in that scene, but I think Marlon was a bit overly villainish, it didn’t feel right, but its not a big deal I think.
The first thing what bothered me was that, why on earth would Aj tell his live story to James to all people. James was a pacifist, a man of peace(and stupidity) when he first met him. Surely Aj wouldn’t just tell him all of this after 8 years of contemplating the plan. Man I was so frustrated when James turned out to be a scum lol.
I must say I really like the chaos in this fanfic, its batshit crazy in a sense, in a good way.
The odds of Molly and Lee finding Aj on that tree were astronomical and I actually had to read that twice that it was actually happening, I think it was a bit…too much. Then again Lilly found Clem in the middle of the woods, so I wouldn’t think that much about it? It felt kind of too nuts to happen not gonna lie.
When AJ was exposed and they took him and Lee to the stage, I have to say you made it tense and I was on my toes, what would happen. The way the axe just suddenly stop mid wing was hilarious. Imagine if he wouldn’t have stopped it in time. Molly took some risks for sure. Axe, a rather average in size wont just stop when its in full swing…okay im nitpicking, im sorry.
Anyway, you kept the suspense well and I have to always second guess what was gonna happen. the twists and sudden deathblows were coming left and right lmao. It was great.
I don’t see much problems with your dialogues. I mean there are times that things were not natural, like Marlon and maybe in some small parts when Aj talked. It was weird to see James so talkative and inquisitive, but I think it makes sense considering he is a changed man and was working for Delta.
I have to say though, that you tend to explain the plot twists a bit too much. Its good to explain the twists so people don’t misunderstand and stuff, but there were so many and it was sometimes non stop. It kind of felt like those among us games where you explain your GOAT strategies and how they work etc. But in here I don’t think it did much favors. It dragged too much and if there is something I hate in fanfics its when they drag. Otherwise when there were not too much of that the Story was nice.
I loved how Lee was like a mentor to AJ now and AJ must have now understood why Clem talked about Lee so much to him. Lee was like an old wiseman from the east, it felt like he was so wise…and old, its hard to explain, that was awesome how you wrote that.
The last conversation between Lee and AJ was just perfect…I mean it was so great. For example: “And you’d think Clem would be proud of you killing?” Lee tests him. “Wouldn't you say it’s better that for once, you listen to her way?”. That was such a nice dialogue thing and really got to me. You are not bad in dialogue mate, its just those little things I told you that makes it stick out, I think you could with practice hone those up.
Also “do it” reminds me of star wars. Molly is the Palpatine lol.
Anyway it was a good story, but I must admit I got bored in some parts, but at the same time some parts were good.
Sometimes less is more, when you did twists etc it really got me engaged to the story, the way you explained everything so much about stuff, not so much. Points
5/10 The notes of Shenron
And now, we finally reach the big man’s entry. And what’s this? A teenager AJ, 8 years after The Final Season, set after a what-If Lilly won? Boy, I can’t remember the last time we’ve had such a departure from the game. Especially one centered around a character the writer is infamous for disliking! But does the risk pay off?
Taking the concept of Clem and AJ’s different values on human life from The Final Season and going one step further to give AJ an arc of being less lethal is a good idea.. While part of it does come from making Clementine pacifistic to the extreme, it is possible to play her this way in the game.
The execution of said concept, though? It has its ups and downs, starting with the huge elephant of the room… the dialogue. Oh, boy, the goddamn dialogue. I don’t I’m exaggerating when I say the story is 80% of dialogue. And don’t get me wrong, it can work if you make it. But as you could tell yourself… it’s a case where it doesn’t. Leaving aside your usual issue with natural dialogue, about half of your dialogue is about explaining the plot instead of showing it. What could have been some of your best twists instead proved to be a challenge to remain invested in simply because most of the tension is lost, especially when your characters take the time to explain the plot again to others. Goddammit, man, have you ever heard of “subtlety”?
Beyond my engagement with the plot, is AJ’s character. I know he can be a brat sometimes, but letting himself get talked into pointing a gun at Clementine just to get him to listen to him? Bullet or not, bullet, it’s a way too much to swallow. Also, in the proximity of a Delta territory, AJ has gotten kind enough to let James know everything he knows about the plan so we could know the story too. Such a nice kid. Guess getting tricked into letting Marlon murder his only caretaker didn’t dampen his trust in people. Shame this naivety damages both the credibility and relevance of Lee’s faith speech.
Brother, trust me. I wanted to like this story. Give it a fair chance. But it just doesn’t work for me. Giving this more than a 4/10 would be too dishonest about my feelings about it. Points
: 4/10 Overall points
: 9/20 2nd place
: "We move on" by u/_-Jules-__ The notes of Canis
You paced this story very well, there were no points where I felt bored. It was a very chill read, since there weren’t any tense moments. Okay I was a bit worried about the balcony not withstanding Ben.
I have to applaud how well you wrote how the characters talk. I can feel they were truly Kenny and Ben from the games. The dialogue felt natural and you described their body language well for example “Kenny looked down and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to keep his temper.”. You painted the scenery in my brain very well and I got to immerse in the story very well.
It was wholesome to read about their scavenging journey, how Kenny encouraged him about the jump. It’s a very rare thing to begin with to see and read about somebody encouraging Ben and the man being Kenny who did that just gave it much more oomf, adding to the wholesomeness.
Also you get to wonder and speculate what is it that Kenny wants to talk about to Ben It kept me interested.
Man, im trying hard to find something bad about this. Maybe you could have thought about something more impactful to the very end where it says “It was a step in the right direction. For both their sakes.”. This is merely a nitpick though.
I think this was a solid entry and I did enjoy it a lot. I would want to read more about Kenny and Ben like this (start a series about it! I would 100% read it). You nailed this thing.
Oh one thing that was meh. I wanted more of this wholesomeness, maybe you could have had some more scenes in it. Like you could have made their scavenging thing a little longer. I wanted more in the end, it was good. Maybe add one action scene where they try to survive it together. It isn’t a must though, since you did it otherwise so well. Points:
7/10 The notes of Shenron
Well, what do we have here? A made-in-Jules story?! I’ve rarely, if ever, been disappointed by Jules’ stories before… and let me break the suspense right now: it’s not the story that will break this streak.
Sure, I could complain about the fact it’s pretty short, safe or simple… and I suppose it is a fair criticism. But if that is the worst I can say about a one-shot? It might be pretty good.
This character-driven work is an intimate conversation that feels very true for both Kenny and Ben’s character all the while exposing the former’s complex feelings about the boy: He tries to be patient with him when he’s taking waaaaaaaaaaay too long to jump. Hell, he even apologizes. What I criticized the other story for works… actually works here because it is presented as a major character moment… and given the context of the apology here (happens after the canonical argument between the two), it actually feels earned.
And then, there’s the ending, which is simply great. He can’t forgive him for getting his family killed, and the mere suggestion he has is enough to rile him up. But he’s actively forcing himself to remember that holding a grudge against Ben won’t solve anything, and they have to keep it together, for both Clem and Lee’s sake. If anything, this story’s length kind of works in its favor: the ending leaves the outcome of this duo incertain. Will this truce prevail and become a genuine friendship? Will it fall apart if Ben messes up again? Can Kenny really look past his resentment of the boy? Or will he ultimately kick his skinny little ass later? These are all the questions I’m left with when I look at their bond, and it’s frustrating that I won’t ever get the answer! A good kind of frustration, but still!
I give this one a solid 7/10. Jules' story was short, but the little it had was solid all around Points:
7/10 Overall score
: 14/20 1st place
: "Shattered worlds" by u/Ranvijay_Sidhu
The notes of Canis: Okay…I gotta say this is the one that got me the most. I mean wow. Ranvi, you really know how to make dramatic scenes don’t you? I have a lot to say about this.
The way Clementine died and how you described it. I actually didn’t think she would die and when she did it really impacted me. The way she was in pain and how you described how she probably wouldn’t even hear what Kenny was saying due to all the suffering. Then having a laboured breathing on top of that, before the breathing finally stopped. That was so painful for me to read. Seeing the Clem we all love go through that and dying. It kind of made me depressed lmao, but it just means you wrote that so well, I got immersed to it so well, I almost wish I didn’t. Kenny assuming that its going to be okay, after the shrieks of pain etc toned down, the way you wrote how it wasn’t going to be okay and the reactions that followed from Kenny it was done so well. I am not really a fan of too depressing stuff. Clementine dying for instance and it really hurt to read that, but it was so well done I must give kudos for that.
The way Kenny talked afterwards; you could feel his anger and pain. It was like Kenny was in connection between the reader and him, channelling the pure rage he must have felt. It felt like I was Kenny in a sense who wanted retribution.
Overall, the way you described Kenny, how he talked and how you wrote his body language that was so well done. For instance, the way he threatened Luke and how Kenny didn’t want to hear it, what Luke had to say at some points. The cursing, the way Kenny reacted and had doubts. It felt natural and I liked that a lot.
I think Luke was the opposite though. I don’t think he felt like Luke. He was downplaying the death of Clementine way too much and was too passive about stuff. One would think he would be as devastated as Kenny in a sense and how he fucked up. He was very sad about Bonnie that was an icecube in the water, but it was like he didn’t care much about Clem. Also, in the state Kenny was in I doubt he would have given any empathy towards Luke, when he talked about Bonnie, but I’m not sure.
Luke overall was too much of a pussy, the way he talked and submitted like an abused dog. I don’t know it didn’t feel right.
The fighting scenes, they were probably the most understandable(and I mean understandable as in you knew exactly what was going on) and they were tense. I think you are really good at writing fight scenes. I have to admit though that Mike coming out of nowhere like a flash, when the walkers attacked the truck was kind of ehh… Where the fuck did he just suddenly come from…Anyway a small nitpick.
The scene at the house, where walkers were coming in, it was tense. The way Kenny killed Mike…that was….satisfying and the way you destroyed that Ruskie, Kudos man. The readers wanted retribution and you provided with amble supply, I like that.
The fight between Kenny and Luke, it was great because of the reasons I said above. When he slashed Kenny, I though he was done for but no, the fight goes on, I loved it.
The ending was kind of meh in a sense. I doubt Luke would do good with Aj alone, I would have preferred that Kenny and Luke somehow team up. It was too dangerous for them both go alone with Aj, going together would have been better I think.
The way you connected the start, the conversation with Lee was nice. “Exactly, the kids… they tether us to the better halves of ourselves. Without them around, it’s easier to give in to the instincts.” It went well with Kenny just going by his instincts, wanting a revenge. You wrapped it up with the story well.
I might be dumb(which I am) but isn’t it strange that Clementine was shot, if she actually was going to go with them and leave Kenny? I wonder why Arvo just shot her, if she was cooperating or perhaps Clementine confronted them and was about to, but the commie piece of shit had an itch trigger finger.
The story in no part was boring, it got me engaged all the way. Something interesting was happening all the time.
The way you ended it: “I’m glad I have met you, Clementine” as Kenny buried her. I almost cried; I think I got teary. I actually got shivers as I wrote this, I’m not gonna lie. Now this is how you end the story. You described how Kenny had to bury Clementine and then you ended it with the most powerful sentence you could have used. That was great!
I really loved this and I didn’t see it being rushed that much either.
Okay cringe warning: “Im glad you entered the contest, Ranvi” Lmao. You may place your palms on to your faces now.
Okay I’ll stop, this was awesome to read. Points
: 9/10 The notes of Shenron
Ladies and gentleman, we have finally reached Ranvi’s story! This man, who hasn’t entered since he tasted victory for the first time in the history of the whole sub… finally comes back to get some more from me! And you know what?
He. Just. Might!
We start off with Kenny being an entitled dickhead to Lee. Then, when he discovers the concept of putting himself in other people’s shoes… he actually chills out! What a wholesome moment… followed immediately by a not-so-wholesome moment of Kenny futilely trying to save Clementine from the hands of death and coping with AJ’s kidnapping at the hands of Mike and Arvo. That might damn well be the strongest beginning out of all entries. If you intended to hook me in with that abrupt, brutal dark scene contrasting and straight up shattering (see what I did there?) the lighthearted reconciliation scene… well, count me in!
The wonders certainly don’t cease either. The dynamic between Kenny and Luke is about exactly what I expect from an actual truce: messy, distrustful, tense as hell bonds made of glass… for they could shatter just as fast. Throughout the entirety of the work, you could tell Luke was walking onto some mighty thin ice, progressively melting as Kenny approaches his boiling point. [21:42] And deer boy, was I not disappointed. While it’s certainly not the first beast mode Kenny revenge plot against Mike and Arvo, this one might actually have the most satisfying ending of them: after watching Kenny break the deal he had with Mike and Arvo, in particular giving the latter an incredibly brutal death, Luke actually tries to kill Kenny to protect AJ. Quite ironic, given their argument about pacifism. Not only that, you actually dared using one, if not the most rarely picked choice in the whole season (seriously, who actually wanted to follow Mike and co?!)... as a plot point to make Kenny come to his senses and spare Luke in a pretty similar fashion to a certain infamous game.
You know, for a rushed fanfic (as you say), the pacing is pretty good and everything just seems to tie together quite neatly. From the conversation in the past at the beginning all the way down to the funeral scene… it never failed to keep me engaged.
Take another 9/10, and hopefully another victory. Points
9/10 Overall score
Congratulations on your win Ranvi
and again thanks for everyone that took part of the contest!
submitted by Canisventus
to TWDGFanFic [link] [comments]
2023.05.25 18:13 Still_Performance_39 An Introduction to Terran Zoology – Chapter 12
Credit to u/SpacePaladin15
for the NOP Universe.
My two part Q&A will instead be extended to a third part because I got really into writing this chapter that focuses on everyone’s favourite marsupial aliens, the Yotul. Bit bland admittedly compared to other hot takes across fics but I hope you enjoy it regardless.
Also, apologises for the delay in getting this out, last week has been hectic. [First] [Previous] [Next] Memory transcription subject: Rysel, Venlil Environmental Researcher
Date [standardised human time]: 22nd August 2136
“What is a Yotul and what do you mean when you say it looks like a Kangaroo?” asked the doctor, responding to a Venlil in the back rows. Did I mishear, or did his voice take on a deeper, harsher pitch at that last word?
Clearly not expecting their question to be answered by a question, the Venlil stuttered slightly as they answered. “I-I uh… a Yotul is another Federation species. They were just the first one I thought of but I noticed quite a few of the animals you’ve shown us resemble known sapient species as well. I suppose it was less a question and more of a confused statement, sorry.” Their ears pulled back in embarrassment as they sank back into their seat. Even from this distance it was clear to see a light bloom on their snout.
“No need to apologise. But my, that is surprising indeed! There are physical similarities between Earth’s wildlife and species in the wider galaxy you say?” The doctor’s astonishment was evident as his voice brightened in curiosity and his hand extended towards the Venlil, eagerly gesturing for him to continue. The change in tone must’ve just been my imagination.
“It looks that way yes. The elephants and rabbits held some resemblance to species called the Mazic and Sivkits respectively. There were a couple of others as well.” After a moments silence, he asked another question of the doctor. “Did you not know of these species? I thought humans had been informed of them?”
A brief pause followed the question as the doctor glanced down at his feet, his free hand fidgeting by tapping the top of his cane.
“We were yes; however, I may have been so excited at meeting and teaching yourselves that I… well, let’s just say I didn’t do my homework on the wider galaxy and leave it at that.” A sheepish laugh escaped the doctor as he explained his lack of awareness of the rest of the Federations members.
I had to stifle a chuckle at the doctor’s admission. Personally, I found it quite funny. The idea that the doctor had developed tunnel vision regarding the Venlil and what he would share in these classes, to the point that he’d completely blown past learning about other species within the galaxy was pretty comical itself. The fact that this resulted in us all seeing an unintentional parade of lookalikes was just an amusing bonus.
The confession seemed to have tickled a several others in the audience as well, given the collective snickering I could hear buzzing around me.
Obviously eager to move on, the doctor forced a throaty cough to settle the room, “Anyway, it is certainly fascinating to hear about. I will endeavour to look into it outside of class so I’m not caught unawares again. That said, as interesting as this is it also raises some points of concern in my mind.”
Concern? What could he be concerned about?
“Now I don’t know much about your cultures, what is and isn’t acceptable for instances, but in human culture drawing comparisons between a person and an animal is a minefield. In some cases, comparing an animal to a human can be positive. Strong as an Ox or brave as a lion are great examples of complimentary metaphors. However, I’m saddened to say that there are many examples where such comparisons have been used to degrade and discriminate against groups of humans throughout our history. I won’t go into detail just now; it is a topic best discussed with someone vastly more qualified than myself. The point is, if you do make friends with humans on a personal level be mindful of such things. The majority of humans today are thankfully unwilling to take such discrimination lightly.” The doctors’ words enforced a pensive silence on the room as they hung in the air.
The idea of demeaning someone by comparing them to a non-sapient animal wasn’t an alien concept. It wasn’t as bad as calling someone predatory or comparing them to an Arxur but it certainly wasn’t flattering. Broader discrimination and speciesism weren’t unfamiliar either. Most species inevitably ended up with one or two well-known stereotypes attributed to them. My parents had always tried to instil the idea of fairness into me as I grew up. Teaching me to judge others based on their character rather than on what they were. I wonder, would they feel the same about humans? Or would they be like me when I first arrived and to some degree, still am? Would they be disappointed in me for my prejudice or would they understand? … Maybe not the best thing to dwell on right now.
Shaking myself from the uncomfortable thoughts, I returned my focus to the doctors’ words. It was certainly interesting to hear and, while this was clearly prejudice talking again, a little surprising. Common sense would hold that due to being predators, humans couldn’t help but revel in such practices to subjugate those they saw as weaker than themselves. While the doctor had alluded to this happening in the past, he’d been very clear that this was no longer tolerable in human culture. That said, I wasn’t naive enough to believe that it didn’t happen, you’ll always get a few brahkasses here and there. Speaking of which.
Within the murmurs of curious and surprised discussion brought on by the doctor’s explanation, a hushed voice in the row behind me caught my attention, a smug mocking tone lacing their every word.
“Don’t worry human. If anyone comments on those primitives it isn’t going to be due to their appearance.”
“What was that?” The abrupt boom of the doctor’s voice caught everyone off guard. A few startled bleats rang out in response to his sudden exclamation, but what swiftly shocked the audience back to silence was the fact that he’d snapped his head around to directly face his quarry, doing away with simply turning an ear towards the person he was speaking to. If he wasn’t still wearing the mask, his eyes would’ve been visible and focused intensely onto the Venlil sitting behind me.
When I’d seen him without his mask last paw, I hadn’t felt scared or threatened, but right now I could feel the wool on the back of my neck puff out involuntarily. The sharp movement of his head accompanied by the icy shift in tone sent a chill down my spine. In that moment I realised, the deep pitch I’d heard in his voice earlier hadn’t been my imagination.
Coaxing the speh head behind me to repeat what he’d said, the doctor asked again, “Go on, what did you just say?”
I couldn’t see him, but I could hear the person behind me stutter through his reply, his breathing becoming rapid and staggered with fright, “I-I-I uh… I s-said, i-if anyone c-comments on t-t-those primi-primitives it wouldn’t b-b-be d-due to their appearance?” He rounded out his response with a questioning inflection, like he was searching for an explanation of why what he’d said had riled the doctor so much. Like he didn’t just tell you, you idiot!
“I see.” He inhaled deeply, looking down to the floor for a moment before loudly exhaling, returning his attention to the still panicked Venlil behind me. “When I explained that I do not take kindly to discrimination, did you mishear me by chance?”
Still stuttering, the Venlil replied, “N-no.”
“Then did you misunderstand? Our cultures are different after all, does discrimination mean something different in your language?”
Again, all he could respond with was, “No.”
“So, you didn’t mishear or misunderstand me, but still decided to say what you said immediately after I informed you all of my stance on such derogatory statements? Please, enlighten me, what do you mean when you call them primitive?”
The doctor’s gravely voice had only grown harsher as he spoke, almost verging on a growl at points. Taking a quick glance to my sides, I noticed that both Kailo and Sandi were not responding well to this new side of the doctor. They didn’t seem like they were about to bolt, but Sandi’s ears were pinned back across her head. Her eyes bulging in shock as her tail swished erratically in worry. Kailo was similarly shaken, though he was trying to disguise his true feelings. Thanks to his shorn wool, I could just make out the muscles at the base of his ears straining to keep them in a position that displayed calm. No doubt fighting his instincts to pin them to his head in fright.
All I could hear from the Venlil behind me at this point were soft whimpers accompanied by the occasional sniffle. The rest of the room wasn’t in a great state either. Like Kailo, Sandi and myself, the doctor’s sudden mood swing had left his audience in various states of distress, ranging from expressions of mild concern to one teary eyed individual who had hidden behind their chair to escape the doctor’s sight.
Noticing how his behaviour was affecting his audience, the doctor let out a sigh, appearing to shrink in on himself as he did so. It was as if all his energy had been expended in that brief rush of aggression. Aggression, is that the right word? He was stern definitely, but he didn’t seem overly aggressive, not even particularly angry, just… agitated.
Taking a moment to collect himself the doctor leaned against his podium, staring down at it as he addressed the room with a markedly solemner timbre in his voice, “It is quite obvious that I have startled you all, I apologise for that. I was taught as a child not to stand idly by when I encounter stereotypes and prejudice. Just because I am amongst another culture does not mean I will stop doing that… though perhaps I should’ve been more tactful in my approach.”
The reluctance in his voice didn’t escape my notice. Poorly disguised behind his otherwise apologetic tone, it clung to his words as he spoke. Clearly the doctor had a zero tolerance approach to anything he perceived as discriminatory. Perhaps back home, he would’ve continued to drill down upon his quarry without restraint when challenging them on their prejudice. Here however, he’d likely have to sanitise his approach in the same way his teaching material had been censored. Continuing to make considerations for how our reactions, our fear, could damage relations between Humans and Venlil.
On one paw it was encouraging to see another example of human empathy. Seeing just how far he was willing to go to make us comfortable around him. On the other, it was disheartening to think that he saw us as weak, in need of a gentle touch approach at every turn. Just like the rest of the galaxy. Yet here he is, speaking about how he hates prejudice. Ironic right? That’s not fair. From where he’s standing, we’ve provided plenty of reasons for humans to view Venlil as weak. Jumping and hiding behind chairs just because he raised his voice a bit, what are we? Pups getting told off by our parents for taking sweets form the treat jar? It’s pathetic! … Just pathetic…
“So.” The doctors voice pulled me back into the room, he sounded calmer. “How about we take a moment so that I can learn a bit about the wider galaxy from yourselves. Please, tell me a bit about the Yotul. I promise not to snap at you again.”
I would’ve loved to be able to teach the doctor something new. However, aside from the aforementioned stereotypes, I didn’t know a whole lot about them outside of the basics. I didn’t want to risk leaving a bad impression by saying the wrong thing, especially since the doctor might still be agitated. As much as I love them, maybe I should set down the wildlife journals for a bit and look at some general knowledge encyclopaedias in the future.
It took a moment before anyone gathered the courage to speak, but eventually, a number of paws and tails rose from the crowd to offer an explanation. Picking through them one at a time, returning to his habit of just turning an ear in the direction of the person he was speaking to, the doctor was given a brief overview of the Yotul.
A little over twenty Terran years ago the Federation came across the Yotul homeworld which had reached a level of societal and technologic level that could be compared to the industrial era of coal fired steam engines that all civilisations had gone through at some point in their history. The Federation proceeded to make first contact with the Yotul, leading to their eventual uplift into the rest of galactic society. The Federation reasoned that the Yotul would be safer from the Arxur if they were brought into the herd.
As part of their integration to the galaxy, the Yotul’s outdated technology was replaced by the superior products of the Federation. Cobblestone roads and pathways were replaced with more advanced materials, like stampede resistant asphalt. Old fashioned modes of transportation such as sail powered ships and steam trains transitioned to shuttles and maglev trains in a flash. The Federation were even kind enough to help the Yotul by scrapping all these obsolete machines so they could integrate faster into the Federation standard.
The Federation went even further in their efforts to aid the Yotul by sending vast numbers of Exterminators to help eliminate all the dangerous predatory life that still existed across their world. The Yotul might’ve been the dominant species of their home planet, but they still had a way to go in truly getting a handle on overcoming the threat of predators. The Yotul even kept some as pets, if you believe some of the rumours that is.
The few Venlil talking to the doctor concluded their brief history of the Yotul’s integration by explaining that, due to their level of technological development upon discovery along with their ongoing integration to Federation standard, many people saw the Yotul as primitive by comparison to themselves, giving life to the word being used as a derogatory term aimed at them.
Most of the audience had been looking at the speakers throughout their explanation, but I’d been keeping an eye on the doctor at all times. I was curious to see how he’d react to the influx of information about a species other than the Venlil. His emotive face was obscured as always thanks to his mask, so I could only guess how he felt from what little I could glean from his body language.
At first, he appeared relaxed as the moment of discovery of the Yotul was described, but I quickly noticed a head tilt that I would’ve called quizzical in a Venlil as he was told about the Federation making first contact. I swore I saw his had tighten around his cane at the mention of the Federations integration efforts, though it wasn’t enough for me to discern how he might be feeling in the moment. When he was told about the actions of the Exterminators, I noticed that his chest was rising and falling much quicker than usual. It wasn’t surprising that being told there are people trained to kill predators would make a human anxious. Finally, as he was given context for why people called the Yotul primitive, I saw the hand holding his cane loosen, a light tremble coursing through his fingers as he listened. If he hadn’t relaxed his grip, I would’ve assumed he was once again agitated at the derogatory use of the word. Human body language is so difficult to read. We need a new translator for that alone.
With the discussion concluded, we all sat in silence watching the doctor. Leaning against the podium, the doctor stroked his chin with a free hand. Having seen this last paw, I knew he was likely in deep thought over everything he’d just heard.
After taking his moment to think, the doctor straightened his posture while addressing the room. “Thank you for providing me with a bit of a background on the Yotul and their contact with the Federation. It was… enlightening.”
There it was again, a genuinely appreciative response acting as a coat of paint to cover up another emotion in his voice. Was it nervousness, irritation? Fear? Why couldn’t humans just have tails and moveable ears? It’d be so much easier to understand them.
“Now then, let us continue with the rest of the Q&A. I’m sure a lot of you have many more questions you’d li-“
A gentle bell tolled through the room’s speakers, cutting off the doctor mid-sentence. The sudden unexplained sound gripped the room with tension, the interruption of last paw still fresh in everyone’s mind.
“Ah of course, I almost forgot, look at the time.” The doctors remark appeared to calm the room as they noted his relaxed manner. “We’re already halfway through the day. It’s lunch time! We didn’t get this far yesterday due to that dreadful scare.”
Checking my pad I noticed that it was indeed the end of 2nd claw. The time had completely flown by without me even realising it. As if on cue, my stomach began to grumble at the thought of the second meal of the day and my legs began to ache from being stationary for so long. Stars, why does your body do this all at once!? It’s like someone telling you that your tongue’s on the roof of your mouth or you’re now breathing on manual! So annoying.
The murmur of voices caused by the disruption had quickly swelled to full chattering at the mention of refreshments and a break. Many expressing a desire to stretch their legs while others discussed what they were going to eat, a slight giddiness in their voices.
“Ok, ok, I imagine you are all eager to get a way for a bit but please remember that this is still a classroom for the time being.” The doctor stated, though he chuckled merrily throughout his attempt at scolding.
Relenting under the pressure of two dozen excited Venlil the doctor chortled again before letting us loose.
“Oh very well, off you go. Take an hour for lunch and be back sharp for the rest of the lecture. Ah, that’s a quarter of a claw in your parlance. I will see you shortly.” With that, the doctor picked up his pad and swiftly strode out of the classroom through his usual door.
With the doctor gone, the room quickly became a hustle and bustle of movement as we streamed out of the lecture theatre towards the canteen, eager to sate our hungry stomachs and get a rest from a classroom environment. As much as I loved this topic, being cooped up in a lecture hall for the majority of a claw was a taxing on the mind, not to mention my back, stars those chairs are uncomfortable.
Still though, I was looking forward to getting back to it once I’d had a rest period. I still needed to ask my question about Beavers after all.
submitted by Still_Performance_39
to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]
2023.05.25 01:29 SquintonPlaysRoblox Fanfic Reccomendation
Hello! I’ve come here for a single purpose - to recommend a fanfic. I have never gone out of my way to recommend a single fan work before, but this one is good enough to deserve it.
The fanfics name is Shadows over Hell, by Ernor.
Ao3 summary: “In Hell, everything has a price.
Octavia Goetia struggles under the weight of her mother's expectations and the consequences of her father's infidelity. Loona contends with being the lowest demon in Hell's food chain, a dead end job, and too many solitary nights. Two fathers bring together two lonely daughters. Hell won't have it. But you find friends in strange places. And they will all need each other, because Hell is slowly growing stranger by the day.
It starts with the paintings and sketches piling up in Octavia's bedroom and the awful nightmares that inspire them. It deepens with too many disturbing and profitable jobs for IMP. It darkens with suggestions of horrors too vile for any demon and conflicts that will change the landscape of Hell. As friendships grow and the year blackens, a rag-tag group of demons band together to answer one question; What price would you pay to save your family?”
As I stated previously, I don’t often recommend fan works to others. So, why this one?
- It has very well written characters. Every character that shows up more than once is complex. I especially noticed this with Stella - she’s very well written. It’s also faithful to the personality’s for (most) of the characters, as their reactions and thoughts are what one would expect from them.
- It has good world building. The fic expands on what we see in Helluva Boss with a more fleshed out system of governance, if it can be called that, and a consistently good representation of magical power.
- The fic manages its tone wonderfully.
- I like searching for hidden references, even though I’m not very good at it and this fic has A LOT.
Some warnings: the fic, like a lot of HB fics, is generous with violence. It also has a bit of sexual content, although nothing overly explicit (it straddles that odd line between an M and E rating) and can occasionally be a little scary. It is also incomplete, although it may be done by the time your up to the current chapter, as it’s on the longer side and presumably almost done.
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2023.05.24 17:38 uktabi Foxholes [ch. 7] - NOP fanfic
credit to u/SpacePaladin15
for the world of NOP
the original draft of this chapter was getting way overlong, so i decided to split it into two chapters. shorter chapter this time, but this means that the next one should be finished sooner than usual! firstprevnext
------------------------ Memory transcription subject: Kazeth, Arxur defector Date [standardized human time]: September 29, 2136 (two days after the invasion of the Gojid Cradle)
I was loath to admit my hunger to the humans. To state it would be to put in their heads unconscious connections. They would not be able to help but think of my people’s usual diet. No, I would not bring this up to them willingly, and risk our budding collaboration. And besides, even though I had not starved in many years, the feeling was hardly foreign to me. A small part of me even wondered if the humans would deign to give me any food at all, given a possibility that I had overestimated my position amongst them. Certainly Priya did not like me. Or perhaps they even had none to give, being omnivores. But in the end, my worries were laid to rest as they took it upon themselves to include me in their mealtime.
Teach returned to the room, burdened with armfuls of ration packets and water bottles, looking pleased with himself. He dumped them over Rich, who tried (and mostly failed) to catch them all. “Got something I think you two might go for.”
From the pile, Rich lifted a package with an image of some human food. “Barbecue pulled-pork sandwich. Meal ready to eat.” He looked over at me and contorted his face into an expression that I found completely incomprehensible. I started to wonder if I should be worried. “Lab-grown meat with BBQ seasonings and smoky flavor. Various sides. Stable for up to --”
“Wait, lab-grown?” I interrupted.
“Yeah, the meat. I mean, It’s a ration, they’re not going to use the real stuff. It’s not like it’s-- Kazeth? You there?”
I had frozen up, the implications of readily-available lab-grown meat threatening my understanding of the world.
“Beep boop, processing,” the human said in a robotic affect, moving his arms around stiffly. “Did you not know we did that?” He asked, his tone normal again.
“I had heard that humans had this technology, but… you are using it in military rations?”
“It isn’t just a novelty for the extremely wealthy?”
“Nah,” Teach interjected, chuckling. “Just the opposite, actually. Very little livestock raised for meat around any more, that’s all stuff for very high-end, fine dining type places. The claim is that the flavor has more depth and complexity when it’s from a real animal, but that sounds like a load of shit to me. Lab-grown, you can make it exactly how you want it.”
I did not respond, still reeling from this revelation.
“You guys can’t… you don’t do lab-grown meat at all?” Teach pressed.
“We… have made attempts. But every time, the cost or scalability has been untenable. We…” I trailed off, failing to finish my thought.
“Huh. Is Arxur tech way behind, or something? Find that kind of hard to believe. By all rights, you should be well ahead of us.”
“Perhaps. Our scientific developments are mostly focused on military applications. And communications technology.”
“Ah. Military bloat and Information control, that tracks.”
“What do you mean?” I snapped, more aggressively than I meant.
“I just mean that those are pretty much textbook patterns of authoritarian regimes,” Teach said, holding up his hands placatingly. “Over-emphasize military strength, and control the flow of information to preserve the party line. We’ve seen it a lot in our own history.”
Rich grunted out his assent through the package that he was attempting to open with his teeth.
“Except… lab-grown meat would change everything.”
“Well, maybe your, what-did-you-call-it, Betterment, doesn’t really want things to change.”
I stared ahead, but otherwise did not respond. The implications were too large, too chilling… and too believable. Would Betterment really --
“FUCK!” Rich barked, breaking my line of thinking, as the package split open catastrophically and launched its contents out onto the ground.
Teach cackled. “Looks like that one’s yours, mate.”
Rich scooped up the pieces, muttering something about ‘individually wrapped.’ I peered curiously at scattered parts of the meal. Only one of the packets looked to contain meat; some indiscernible reddish-brown mess between two pieces of… something. The rest were all more similar to the types of vegetable and grain-based prey meals that we would sometimes see in their dwellings. I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed. We had all hoped that humans would be like us, as fellow predators, but this was like nothing an arxur would eat. We knew they were omnivores with diverse diets, but still, this felt somehow disheartening. And to know that it was made in a lab? The hopeful illusions of some form of cultural connection seemed to slip from my claws.
“So you two have been talking, huh?” Rich asked.
I cocked my head in confusion.
He gestured his chin towards Teach. “He was talking about Betterment. Only place he could have heard that from is you.”
I grumbled a confirmation, quietly wishing he would stop distracting himself and go back to preparing the meal.
interesting stuff, that,” Teach said, settling down near Rich and grabbing one of the ration packages for himself. “UN would definitely want to hear all about it.”
“That's what I said!”
Rich unwrapped the packet with the meat, and the scent hit my nasal passages immediately - a surprisingly complex compound of aromas; pungent peppers that stang my nostrils slightly, and an unmistakable meatiness. So it was meat after all. Made in a lab or not. Interesting.
“Is bread even edible for you?” Rich asked, his hand hovering uncertainly.
“What is it?”
“Grain. Processed grain,” Teach supplied.
“I can eat it. But it won’t do much for me. In the same way that you could scoop up a handful of this dust and eat it.” I gestured broadly at the dusty floor we were sitting on. “It wouldn’t hurt you, but it wouldn’t help either.”
“Right, okay, well.” He scraped the clump of meat off of the grain-thing and onto the empty packet, handing it to me. “You have this, I’ll have the bread, and the sides.” He sighed heavily. “I’m sure it won’t really be enough, but I don’t know how long we are going to have to be rationing the, uhh… rations.”
While Rich set about preparing the rest of the meal for himself, and Teach similarly began opening his, I tested a small pinch of my own. It was… amazing. To my great shock, this strange, unassuming human creation, this lab-made meat prepared by half-herbivores… Prophet, it was the last thing I expected. I quickly devoured the rest, in one mouthful. The aromas, complex and intoxicating, while the meat was rich and satisfying. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted. Obviously, I reflected, as it was a foreign-to-me animal, and lab-grown, but it went beyond that. It was the care, the deliberate management of flavors… humanity had uplifted food preparation to art. Maybe not superior to real, fresh meat, but certainly much, much better than I was expecting.
Teach, in the middle of preparing his own portion of the meal, glanced over at me. “Damn! What, did you inhale that?”
“It was good.”
He chuckled briefly, shaking his head. And then, to my surprise, I watched as he copied Rich and scraped the meat from his own meal onto another empty packet, and leaned over to hand it to me. I took it, blinking my gratitude, and devoured that too. It was interesting, how the humans shared so readily. Arxur observed an eating hierarchy very much unlike… whatever this was. No doubt this was an ingrained behavior as pack predators. I briefly wondered if they had fed me because they considered me part of their pack, or merely to prevent me from starving to death.
“You liked that, then I am deeply concerned about arxur cuisine,” Rich said, poking at his own meal with significantly less enthusiasm than I had for mine.
“In comparison, our food preparation is soulless. Our rations have little done to them other than cooking and stabilizing for expiration. It is part of why fresh meat is considered an extremely decadent luxury.”
“Oh,” he said, simply. Inwardly, I cringed, immediately regretting my words, knowing humans and their distaste for the Arxur… diet. But, to my surprise, after only a momentary pause, he seemed to consciously slip past it. “Well, then we’ll have to get you in a real barbecue joint somehow. ‘Cus this stuff pales in comparison, this is just some shitty, shelf-stable substitute, nowhere near the real thing. Got good barbecue where I'm from, too.”
“I would like that.”
“Yeah, I fuckin’ bet!” He said, chuckling. “You know, that’s apparently a pretty common reaction. I keep hearing about how the Fed races really like human dishes. Whole galaxy of people, and it turns out that we’re the undisputed masters of fine dining. And we’ve just been going through life this whole time not knowing we were spoiled as shit when it came to food. Who knew!”
I grunted acknowledgment. And then… “I would like to see Earth, someday,” I blurted out, at some surprise to myself.
Teach joined in, halfway through his own meal. “What, ‘cus of the barbecue?”
“No. Well, yes. But also… What I have seen of Earth is beautiful. Your planet is living, thriving. It is everything that Wriss isn’t. And unique in comparison to all of the prey planets, too, with their deliberately stunted ecologies. It exists as nature intended. Earth is beautiful, and I pray you cherish it.”
Teach nodded solemnly. “You know, we didn’t always. We used to treat it so recklessly, in the name of advancement. But we do cherish it now. It’s a point of pride for us, to keep the world that birthed us so healthy. Conservation of the natural world, and all that. It’s the least we can do.” He took a bite of his bread, immediately despairing. “Argh! It’s so fuckin’ dry,” he said, spewing out crumbs like an angle grinder does sparks. Eventually, with the aid of a swig from his water bottle, he managed to swallow, and wipe his lips with the back of his hand. “So what’s Wriss like, then?”
“Dying,” I said bluntly. “Wriss was already undergoing a mass extinction event of its own accord, even before the uplift. I am uncertain if we would have made it out of that, given our technology level at the time. Biodiversity was waning, biomass shrinking; the population was rapidly becoming unsustainable, and we were starting to feel it. Power was already beginning to consolidate in the hands of autocrats. Hm. And when they first arrived, we thought the pr-- the Federation had saved us. Lifting us up to the stars, new technologies that could restore our home, bountiful new worlds rich in resources... Only to discover that obligate carnivorism was apparently incompatible with galactic life. Wriss continued to spiral, and those ‘new worlds rich in resources’ turned out to be little more than empty, desperate hope. The Federation worlds each had ecologies as broken as ours -- except they had willingly done it to themselves. There were no replacement food sources to be found there. Our hope turned into horror, as soon as we saw them for...”
I paused slightly, surprised at the growing emotion carried in my impromptu rant. I supposed that, with no one sympathetic to talk to, this must have festered for quite some time. I considered stopping my ranting there, but it was too late. The words continued to pour out.
“But the cruelest thing was that they hated
us. Hated us for what was natural, for what we were born as, for everything that we were proud
to be. They hated us. And they betrayed us. They dealt their worst blows in the name of compassion, thinking our nature so wretched that they should save us from it. One vicious strike after another. They attempted to alter our genetics, they destroyed the last of our livestock, trying to force us to be what we weren’t. The latter was the death knell of my people as they were then. And of our home. Now, the land is depleted, the waters overfished. Little more than a barren, stagnant wasteland that we keep only because it was once our cradle. We were already poised to fall into Betterment. The Federation pushed us over the edge. And I will never forgive them for that.”
I cut off my little speech there, noticing now that the two humans had paused their meals, and were staring with fascination and surprise.
Teach spoke first. That one asked even more questions than Rich. “The Federation killed your food source?”
“Yes. They tried to turn us into herbivores, into prey,
” I spat the word out venomously. “And had the gall to be surprised when it didn’t work.”
“That’s… fucked,” Rich suggested, eyes distant, his meal forgotten in his hands.
“That was all long before I was born, though. And I’ve known little else, for the many years I’ve lived. And I would very much like, just once before I die, to see a living
world, like Earth. All the life it can support.” I sniffled a bit, clearing the saline that I was surprised to find saline entering my nasal passages. Was I really this emotional over this? “Your world is very different from mine. Rich enough to support not just life, but freedom of thought, too. It sounds like a beautiful world. Wriss is…” I tilted my head up to drain the rest of the saline, and recovered myself. “I would like to know how it is, to live as you do.” I pulled back my lips in an attempt to mimic the human smile and restore the mood. “And to eat your barbecue. And see your croc-y-diles.”
“Croc - o -
diles,” Rich corrected, smiling softly. “But yeah. That would be nice. I hope we can do that someday.” He quickly took the opportunity to shovel the rest of his meal into his mouth.
Teach stared at him strangely for a long moment with his eyebrows raised, before breaking off and likewise resuming his meal, and regular friendliness. “Y’know,” he added around mouthfuls of his own similarly shoveled meal. “You Americans love to think yourselves the kings of barbecue. And we could argue that all day. But what we definitely
have over you, is salties. Lots of salties around Australia -- and those are the crocs you really want to see -- the big ones! And it wouldn’t be that hard to see them, either. Any sanctuary would have ‘em around.”
“They… keep them there? Like prisoners?” I asked, perturbed.
“Nah, they just feed ‘em. They show up for the food. I’m not sure they would even really understand the concept of being ‘kept’ anyways. They’re actually kind of uhh, a little bit really dumb.”
I found myself laughing at that, Rich chuckling alongside me.
“Well, that’s probably not really fair, I suppose,” he amended. “Judging intelligence by our own standards, and all. Anyways, point is, they seem plenty happy to show up for free food.”
Rich brushed the crumbs from his uniform, staring rather forlornly at the pile of empty packages on the floor. “I’d
show up for some free food, at this point, and you can go ahead and judge my intelligence about it, I don’t care. We gotta figure something out, here, man.”
Teach laughed, and began contemplatively, “You know…”
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2023.05.24 14:50 Ath_Trite What's Ao3's rules about reaction/Reading fanfics?
I've seen people's stories about characters watching the show/reading the book get taken down, bu I've also seen some stay up and I can't find the rule on Ao3 that decides if the fanfic stays up or not.
So, what exactly is the rule regarding those fanfics? I'd appreciate if there is something official that I can be redirected to, but if there is just an unspoken rule it would also be great to know.
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2023.05.23 05:23 micheas08 What would be your reaction if whatever fanfic you wrote on any Fandom suddenly became Canon?
I would personally be freaking out because my main fic contains so many Fandoms that would need the approval of every individual creatodeveloper, but what about you guys?
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