Roger-Williams

Okay let’s talk about this painting. It’s called “Signing of the Constitution” by Howard Chandler Christy.

Let’s start with good old George Washington.

He’s staring dramatically into the distance with this heavenly glow thing going on.

William Blount is just looking longingly at Washington, like he’s desperate to confess his love.

Then Gunning Bedford, Jr. is down here on the floor like a weirdo.

George Read looks like he shit his pants and doesn’t know what to do.

Gouverneur Morris looks pissed. Also, it’s important that you know that Gouverneur was his first name, not his title.

William Jackson is obviously just asking for another drink. He can’t be bothered to pay attention to this historic event.

Roger Sherman is giving William Samuel Johnson some serious side-eye. Throwing some shade ‘bout some shit.

And my personal favorite: Ben Franklin looking directly at the camera like he’s Jim from The Office.

Probably because fucking Alexander Hamilton is all up in his personal space.

~ piano on broadway ~ old and new broadway favorites, arranged with piano and orchestra. 

[listen here]

1. where is love - ronnie aldrich. 2. maria - roger williams. 3. bewitched, bothered, and bewildered - richard alden. 4. tonight - ferrante & teicher. 5. a woman in love - stanley black. 6. it ain’t necessarily so - jeno jando. 7. memory - ferrante & teicher. 8. i’ve never been in love before - richard alden. 9. i have dreamed - ronnie aldrich. 10. the phantom of the opera - roger williams

anonymous asked:

I was really struck by something I read in one of your earlier replies to an ask, which was "we’ll never know what Rachel would have done after the war ended", and I wondered if perhaps you may actually have some thought about what might have happened if she did? How WOULD Rachel, who thrived in war, adapt to the mundane life after?

Jake

After a while Rachel’s aunt and uncle get so used to her stopping by that they just make her a copy of their house key; it’s easier than answering the door all the time or leaving a window open for her, besides which they’re grateful because she’s there almost every day to bully Jake out of bed and into the world to go do something.  Most days it’s just attending Habitat for Humanity builds in the devastated areas downtown or visiting kids from the local hospital who idolize them both.  Rachel doesn’t mind dragging Jake out of his room at all, because while Tobias is good for taking random college classes or exploring new parts of the country with her, there are still plenty of stupid things that she can only talk Jake into doing.  Together they surf during hurricanes, skydive without parachutes, swim to the bottom of the ocean as orcas and throw themselves off cliffs as birds of prey.  

Rachel doesn’t pretend to understand what he’s going through, because she quite simply can’t—if she even tries to think about what it would be like if it was Jordan or Sarah she’d had to kill during that last battle, she tends to lose the ability to breathe.  But while she can’t give him empathy she can give him this: the scream of wind rushing past their bodies as they hurl toward the ground at nearly a hundred miles an hour, the incomparable thrill of the ground approaching them faster than an oncoming train, the moment of simple euphoria during that millisecond decision to once again open one’s wings and tell death not today.  He doesn’t smile much, and never laughs, but that’s always been true to some extent.  She doesn’t concern herself with making him smile, but with forcing him to gasp for air in his refusal to give up on life, to morph when not doing so would mean drowning in the cold Pacific, to swerve a second away from spattering on the ground.  Because she’s the only one who understands the power of those moments to make them forget everything in the world except the heady rush of being so goddamn alive they can barely even stand it.

Marco

It’s strange, really, how tough and showy they can be around each other most of the time… and how vulnerable they can become when no one else is around.  Rachel’s pretty sure she’s the only one who ever saw Marco cry after they all watched Eva’s body tumble hundreds of yards to its apparent death, and she knows for certain that she’s the only one to whom he says “it’s like we never really got her back at all,” the day his parents announce their divorce.  In public Rachel and Marco become even more themselves, one-upping each other to see who can come out with the most embarrassing story in round after round of interviews and bantering at lightning speed as live studio audiences laugh and cheer.  Rachel gives a hysterical, exaggerated account of Marco’s failed attempt at gatecrashing William Roger Tennant’s award banquet; Marco comes back with a heroic narrative of how his llama-self saved an entire television studio from the crocodile Rachel conveniently forgot to mention she had puked out backstage.  When talking about the time Helmacrons invaded Marco’s nose, they each manage to make the whole mess entirely into the other one’s fault.  

In private, they sit on the back porch of Marco’s primary house once a week and work their way through a bottle of triple sec they’re definitely too young to own.  It’s during those long evenings as the sun sets over the Newport Beach mansions that they air the things to each other they’ve never told a living soul before.  Marco talks about the hard bright-edged joy of watching 17,000 yeerks sucked into space and only being able to imagine their screams.  Rachel confesses to having cried herself to sleep after she and Ax dropped David on that island.  They air their sickest thoughts, lance their most pus-rotted wounds, spew poison at each other because they know that they are both strong enough (hard enough, cold enough, ruthless enough) to take it and give back in turn.

Cassie

Rachel’s honestly not sure how far Cassie would have gotten, politically, if not for her help.  Because that girl might have passion and conscience and common sense to spare, but Rachel’s not sure she’s met a more appearance-clueless person in her life.  The world of politics runs on fashion and makeup, though, especially if one happens to be a woman, and any time Cassie’s about to go tell the United Nations why they need to update the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today to include the hork-bajir and taxxons, or to scold Congress into giving the ex-hosts war reparations and not murder charges, Rachel is there in the background helping.  She shows Cassie the power of stalking into a room in a pair of towering heels, the ways to make a string of pearls or a Chanel handbag into a weapon of power.  Cassie laughs incredulously every time Rachel shows up at her house with a literal truckload of perfectly-tailored business suits and evening gowns, but over time she starts to understand just how much her reputation for being as elegant as she is fierce can work in her favor.  

Rachel, in turn, starts to put out patents for the kind of clothes Cassie would love: comfortable and practical items that can be worn for years without needing replacement.  Rachel figures that if she’s an international trendsetter already (and she is: her line of perfume makes millions every year, while black leotards are debuting on Paris runways) then she might as well have her best friend and the world of high fashion meet in the middle.  Of course Rachel doesn’t explicitly mention that her patent-leather pumps with arch support and heel padding are inspired by the experience of trying on Cassie’s Timberlands, or that her choice of size-16 models for all her advertisements comes from making dresses that would fit Cassie and sizing up or down from there.  But what’s most amazing to her is that the other dressmakers and shoe lines start to emulate her choices, emphasizing the comfort and sturdiness of everything they make even as they tout it as “cutting edge.”  If Rachel has dragged Cassie into being a fashion icon, then it turns out Cassie might just have dragged Rachel into being a social justice warrior along the way.

Ax

Ax seems somewhat dumbfounded when Rachel explains that there’s an Earth tradition that any ship’s captain can perform a marriage ceremony, and that even if there’s no law on the books about this particular power she wants him to do it anyway.  She’s not sure herself how her and Tobias’s small private ceremony (at least, that was the intention) has grown so much, but even she has to admit that somewhere between the 230-person guest list, the custom chuppah to be hand-embroidered by a team of local artists, the five-tier cake imported from a German bakery, and the dress which is personally designed by Alexander McQueen, things might have gotten slightly out of hand.  Ax takes the duties very seriously, practicing the strange mouth sounds he has to recite more than once in advance and promising solemnly that he will not eat any of the cake until Rachel and Tobias have had the chance to cut it.  

He serves as their best man as well (probably breaking with tradition, not that they care) and the speech he makes afterward is surprisingly heartfelt.  «There has been no greater honor in my life than to fight by your side,» he tells them, «and I owe you both my life many times over.  I owe you more than that, of course, for you have made this strange planet my home when I came to you lost and alone.  I am not sure what humans traditionally wish for each other with a bond such as this, so I will wish you this much: may your lives be long, may your battles be easily won, may you be loved and feared in equal measure, and may your chili always be perfectly seasoned.» 

Tobias

It’s not like they get jobs, or hold down formal obligations, or do anything more structured than attend occasional classes at UCSB or consult with the fashion agency that sends Rachel freelance checks.  So there’s really no reason they can’t continue their odd lifestyle, only in the same form at the same time for two hours at most.  At least, that’s how it is for the first several years… and then one day Rachel comes out of the bathroom, a tiny white stick in her hand, and they both realize their lives are never going to be the same again.  Tobias is terrified, of course: he’s been abandoned (voluntarily or not) by two parents, four guardians, and countless authority figures, and he’s got no reason to believe he’ll be any different.  But he knows what the first step will be in committing to raising this baby for real.  And so he morphs human for the very last time.  

In the years that follow, after their daughter eventually gets a little brother as well, Rachel and Tobias become more boring than they ever could have hoped for.  Rachel starts working full-time as a fashion designer, while Tobias finishes an advanced degree in graphic design and gets a job with the marketing branch of the same company.  They go to PTA meetings and teach their daughter softball, buy a sedan with good gas mileage and a two-story house in Mendocino County where the reporters can’t find them.  They still get restless sometimes, leaving the kids with Loren or Sarah for a week or two at a time to go white-water rafting on the Colorado River or to climb mountains in Tanzania, but they always miss the kids enough to come home before long.  They donate thousands of dollars to end world hunger every year, and they fundraise millions more.  Someday they’ll retire.  Someday after that they’ll die.  For now, however, they’re alive, and that’s enough.  

An interesting piece of Rhode Island folklore is the tale of the tree root that ate Roger Williams.

When he died in 1683, Rhode Island founder Roger Williams was buried in an unmarked grave in the corner of his yard on what is now North Main Street. It wasn’t until 1860 when the decision was made to exhume his remains and give him a final resting place more in keeping with his place in history.

What was discovered inside the coffin was evidence that a body had been there, but also the root of an apple tree. It had grown into the shape of a body, with the top of the root curving where the head would have been, then splitting along the two legs and turning up where the feet had been. 

The root was preserved, and it remains today in the custody of the Rhode Island Historical Society. While historians discount the legend of a corpse-eating tree root, Rhode Islanders have held onto the story over the years, and the root itself is something of a tourist attraction. Currently it is on display in the carriage house behind the John Brown house, housed inside a coffin-shaped case and safe behind a wire cage.

Roger Williams’ official memorial site stands at Prospect Terrace, but his spirit lives on in the tree root that ‘ate’ him.

Modern Animorphs AU (part 2)

@jollysunflora : The second half of my complete list of modern AU Animorphs headcanons, approximately one per book.  

28. “Ax,” Marco says, “How come you can roll out ‘venti dulce de leche dark-chocolate frappuchino extra whip’ without batting an eye, but you giggle every time you have to say the word ‘soy’?”

  • “It has so many vowel—owl?—sounds, in so little space,” Ax says.  “That long sssssssssss, so pleasant on the tongue, but then that odd oooyyy ooy-yah?  All in the back of the mouth.  Very strange.  Sssoooy.  Ssususs-oooyaaa.”
  • “Also, he’s moved on from the frappuchinos,” Tobias adds.  “Now he keeps spending all our hard-stolen bitcoins on espresso mack… mach…”
  • “Espresso macchiato con panna,” Ax explains.  “Doppio.”

29. Cassie feels herself sweating as she props the laptop across the room from her, tools laid out and Ax unconscious on the table.  She never expected to find a YouTube video on how to perform brain surgery—and to be honest, it’s actually about “how neurosurgeons perform an orbitozygomatic craniotomy,” not intended to be a how-to manual—but it’s the best she can do under the circumstances, and so she’ll follow along for now.  

MM3.  “That’s the kind of strong leadership we need.”  Jake gestures to the full-color television (this year’s latest model) where a program of their current leader plays on a loop.  “Keeping the wrong kind of people out of this country, saving America for the right kind of Americans.”

  • “Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Rachel says.  She and Tobias and Jake are the only three Animorphs, except when Melissa joins them sometimes, and listening to their “Supreme Leader” blather on gets old sometimes.  “All I want to know is whether it’s true that within a few years people will really have phones that plug into their cars.  That’d be cool.”
  • Tobias rubs his eyes against the silk of his wing feathers.  They itch constantly, since he doesn’t have a gas mask to wear every time he goes out into the pollution-opaque air outside the way that his human friends do.  Jake and Rachel take bets sometimes, idly, brutally, about whether he’s the last raptor left on the face of the planet.
  • “Magnificent!”  Drode appears in their midst, and both the Berensons immediately point guns at his head.

30. Marco is lying on his bed the day after watching Eva fall, staring at a patch of wall above his dresser, when he registers that his phone has been buzzing for a while now.  It goes off so many times he assumes he has to be getting a call, but when he checks his notifications he just discovers he’s gotten seventeen text messages in the last hour.  

  • The first is from “Smurfette,” and says “Did you know that there is a type of food that involves baking a cinnamon bun inside of a donut?  We must secure as many of these as it is possible for a human to consume, as soon as possible!”
  • The next one, from “Hawkgirl,” reads: “found out recently that apparently ax still thinks you invented flea powder.  i told him that if youd invented flea powder wed all be a lot richer right now.”
  • “Team Dad” (not to be confused with “Real Dad,” which is how Marco lists Peter) sent along several invitations to team missions on League of Legends this afternoon, along with a threat to have Cassie play Marco’s avatar if Marco doesn’t join in.  “we both know that by the time you get back you’ll have only healing attacks and she’ll have trained it to apologize automatically for stabbing people,” Jake adds.
  • One of the many texts from “Julia Butterfly Hill” suggests that Jake has underestimated Cassie’s diabolical streak, because it’s a screenshot of a clone of his account which has had its name changed to HarambeWasFramed.
  • The real surprise, however, is the single text from “Xena: Warrior Princess.”  It’s a link to an article about a disaster in the local national park and the efforts to clean up the wreckage of an as-yet-unidentified craft which went down in the canyon.  Marco has to read it a few times to understand the point she’s making, because it’s all about what’s not there: the article makes no mention of any human bodies being found among the wreckage.  
  • Marco gets halfway through typing a reply to them all which informs them in no uncertain terms that he sees through their transparent attempts to cheer him up and doesn’t appreciate it, but he deletes without sending.  He can practically hear his mom’s voice saying it: he can focus on the fact that he’s still surrounded by people who love him, or he can focus on the negative side of everything.  And being constantly negative is no way to live.  

31. “Sharing this again, because its been 3 months,” Jake’s cousin Brooke posts on Facebook.  “Anyone who has any news at all about Saddler, no matter what it is, PLEASE contact my family.  Big brother, I dont know if youre still out there, but I miss you.  I miss you like crazy.”

  • Jake turns up his Spotify’s Offspring channel a little louder to drown out the sounds of Tom and his dad shouting at each other downstairs.  His eyes flinch past Brooke’s post, but they can’t move fast enough to prevent the thought that flashes across the surface of his mind: Is this going to be me a year from now?

32. Tobias texts Rachel and Jake an article from Audubon.Org, where several birdwatchers are going into ecstasies of scientific fascination at the bald eagle and peregrine falcon seen flying in close formation in a cell-phone video taken near a highway overpass downtown.  His only comment is, “Told you so.”

33.  In the aftermath, Rachel does a Google search: “PTSD treatment symptoms outcomes.”  She reads through the WebMD site, the NIMH page, the Wikipedia link to a DSM-5 entry.  She thinks of Tobias’s withdrawn silences, his antipathy toward so much they used to enjoy, but she thinks of other things as well.  How exhausted Jake seems any time they’re not on-mission.  How badly Cassie flinches when the school bell rings and doors slam.  How Ax seems to be gradually losing interest in the things—cooking shows, new condiments, human history trivia, These Messages—that once drew his fascination.  How last week Marco flicked an ant off the back of his hand and then went white like he’d just kicked a puppy.  How good it had felt when she’d hurt David, spreading the pain around, giving it back.

  • She catches an Uber to the clinic downtown, filling out forms in the waiting room based on the checklist written on her phone for “how to get tobias an ssri”: Yes, she often feels tense and worried.  Yes, her heart often races for no reason.  No, she hasn’t thought of ending her life.  No, she doesn’t feel out of control when she eats.  
  • She gets as far as developing a cover story—it’s about how she’s never felt the same since her parents’ divorce—but in the hallway to the office she panics and calls Cassie.  “Am I doing the right thing?” she asks, after she’s explained.
  • Cassie is silent for a long time, never a good sign.  “I’m not sure an SSRI would work on a bird,” she says at last, “and that’s even if we could figure out a dose that would work without killing him.  I know you want to help, and I think you should, but…”
  • Rachel hears what she’s not saying: but what if her mom asks too many questions?  But is this risk really worth it?  But what if the psychiatrist (the receptionist, the pharmacist) is a controller?  But isn’t it them, and only them, against the world, and isn’t that just how it has to be?
  • “The war won’t last forever,” Cassie says weakly, and Rachel hates her a little for it.  “When it’s over, when we get to tell everyone what’s happening…”
  • Rachel hangs up.  She goes home, morphs, and flies out to the woods.  
  • «You know I love you, right?» she asks Tobias later that evening.
  • «Of course I do.»  He sounds exhausted.  She’s never felt more helpless in her life.

34. The Yeerk Peace Movement, as it comes out, has a Twitter feed.  It is rather painfully obvious that it has been set up and run entirely by aliens who are doing their very best to communicate with humans, and not quite succeeding. Most of the posts are couplets, for some reason that none of the Animorphs can fathom.  

  • “Want to be On Fleek? When you see someone’s rights threatened, speak!”
  • “Don’t be a Belieber anymore - end slavery and even the score.”
  • “#tbt: Remember when we were symbiotes?  Give taxxon freedom your sympathy votes!”
  • “Nickelback is super lame, and keeping involuntary hosts is just the same.”
  • “Respect your host’s rights today, and make your human into your bae!”

35. It’s Marco who comes up with the idea for how to take down William Roger Tennant.  This is a guy, after all, whose cockatiels have their own Instagram account: he runs his fame on the internet.  

  • “It’s simple,” Marco explains. “We start a hashtag—#notsonicetennant—and we make it go viral.  All we have to do is film this guy everywhere he goes, and eventually the yeerk will slip up.”
  • It proves not to be simple after all.  Their gif of Tennant twitching madly mid-EPA speech gets overshadowed by the news story about One Direction nearly getting poisoned with spiders at the same banquet. Ax does not understand the concept of hashtag, and keeps adding #notsonicetennant to his retweets of what Marco calls “food porn.” They train one of Tobias’s repurposed GoPros to follow poodle-Marco, but that becomes a meme mocking the world’s most obnoxious stray dog rather than Tennant himself.
  • The plan finally, finally comes off when they pull out all the stops and just confront him in morph.  The smartphones that Rachel rigged up in the surrounding buildings don’t pick up the thought speak, but the audio of Tennant screaming at the aliens to leave him alone comes through just fine.
  • When the scandal breaks, the internet (in truly predictable fashion) drops #notsonicetennant and starts using #tennantgate instead.  
  • Ax reposts an old photo of Tennant eating a quinoa salad—zoomed in on the salad—and tags it #tennantgate.  All of his teammates assure him they appreciate the attempt.

36. “All right, that’s just weird,” Marco says, looking at the final entry in the underwater creepshow they’ve been walking through for the past hour.  “All the other ships have been getting more modern as we’ve gone, but this one?  Looks like it was made in the sixties, at the latest.”

  • «The world’s creepiest museum curators are getting sloppy with the placement of bodies as well,» Tobias points out.  «There’s no way that many people could fit on a boat that small.  They’re practically falling over the sides.»
  • Jake and Cassie look at each other, seeing the same realization reflected in each other’s eyes.  Neither one of them wants to say it out loud.
  • Jake becomes the one to bite the bullet.  “Don’t you get it?”  He points to the ragged clothes, the emaciated bodies, the modern smartphone tucked in among the antiquated radio equipment.  “They were refugees.”

37. Rachel shuts the window on the library computer as soon as she hears someone walk into the room, but she can tell she was too late by the look on Jake’s face when she turns around.  

  • “Roy Ludvig, huh?” Jake says.  “Heck of a name.”
  • “He was at the T.V. studio when we attacked.”  Rachel looks down, picking at her nail polish.  “No civilians were supposed to be in danger.”
  • Jake’s expression softens, as much as it ever does.  “And now you’re scrolling through his Facebook, looking for something that’ll let you sleep at night.”  
  • “He’s got a grandson,” Rachel blurts.  “Jordan’s age.  He…”  She shrugs.  He’s dead, and it’s more or less her fault.
  • “Shouldn’t be looking on Facebook.”  Jake sets his phone on the library table next to her, taps the screen to bring up an official-looking report.  “You should be, say, borrowing my dad’s computer.  Sending an email from his account to ask for the guy’s medical records.  If you had, you’d know that Mr. Roy Ludvig had a heart condition.  That he had maybe a year to live, at most, and doctors said he might die at any old time.”
  • Rachel looks down at the report for a long time, and eventually looks up at Jake.  “Doesn’t make it okay, what I did,” she says.  “He’s still dead.”
  • Jake shrugs.  “You don’t have to forget it ever happened, but you do have to live with it.  Live, and fight another day.”

38. In the aftermath of Estrid’s visit, Tobias is flying over the boardwalk when he sees a henna artist who clearly smokes way too much pot to be a Yeerk. He gets Ax, they morph human, and both get henna tattoos of Elfangor’s name. (Ax had previously expressed an admiration for the human tradition of commemorating a lost loved one by making markings on one’s body.) They know the tats will disappear when they demorph, but they’re both glad they did it. The artist asks how long they’ve been together, and Tobias says in a scandalized voice, “he’s my UNCLE!” Thus, Tobias succeeds in both of his goals: making Ax laugh, and reminding him he has family here on Earth. Honestly, the reminder doesn’t hurt Tobias either.

39. “You know, not all squirrels are like that,” Marco is fond of saying after a morph goes wrong.  “Not all termites are horrifying worker drones.”  Sometimes it’s, “You know, some of my best friends are fleas.”

  • It’s Cassie, however, who gets the last laugh out of that one.  «You know, Marco,» she says as they swim away from the wreckage of the helicopter, «Not all ants are like that, right?  I shouldn’t say that all ants are killers, right?»
  • Marco stares at her in silence while the others snicker, watching him war between the two impulses: to keep the joke going forever, and to express his honest hatred of ants.  
  • «Come on.»  And now Rachel has joined in on the teasing.  «You’re just going to let that kind of besmirching of the ant community stand?»  
  • «Okay, okay!»  Marco gives in.  «Ants suck.  Yes, all ants!»

40. “Our experts have examined the video extensively, and near as we can conclude, this footage is genuine and unedited,” the newscaster says.  “Given how viral this video has proven to be, with over two million views since it was posted to YouTube on Wednesday, everyone wants to know: is this footage proof that aliens exist?  Is this a publicity stunt for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel?  Or, as one YouTube commenter asks, did a Smurf just have sex with a centaur?”

  • «Potential new ally?» Tobias suggests.  He’s already tapping out a search for the original video in his modified tablet.
  • Ax laughs.  «Of course not.  He’s crippled.  A vecol.  Useless.  We must respect the privacy of his isolation.»
  • “You know what?  Fuck that,” Marco snaps.  He shoves to his feet, posture tight with anger.  “Just… Fuck that,” he tells Ax.  “I have ADHD.  Attention Deficit whateverthefuck.  I take a pill every morning to help me function because my brain isn’t good enough to filter stimuli all by itself.  I got a fucking 135 on the world’s most boring IQ test and I’m still failing half my classes.  I’m a vecol.  You think I’m useless, huh?  You gonna start refusing to talk to me because of some bullshit about ‘respecting’ my ‘privacy’?  Huh?”
  • «That’s different,» Ax says.  «You’re not…»  He doesn’t seem to know how to finish that sentence.  
  • «If he’s an exception, I hope I am too,» Tobias says more gently.  «I got screened for anxiety disorders as a kid, and I guess we’ll never know if I qualify or not, ‘cause my aunt decided that doctors cost money and if the test said I needed one then she didn’t want to know about it.»
  • Ax doesn’t answer for a long time.  He doesn’t seem to know where to look.  
  • «Let’s go tell the others what we found.»  Tobias taps a button to send the video to himself.  «We can talk more about this later.»

MM4. Tobias flinches when his phone makes the small ping sound that means he has an alert.  The new kid is the easy target in every school on the planet.  He wonders what it’ll be this time: another Facebook post where the semi-anonymous account Toby IsALoser tags him in another meme about how he has to pay people for sex because the sight of his body would make any normal girl run away screaming, another unnamed Instagram ping telling him he should kill himself so that no one has to look at his stupid fat face anymore, another Snapchat image of a puddle of vomit with the caption “me when I think of you,” an email with the most disgusting gif anyone could find after a quick search…

  • It’s not, though.  It’s an invite to join a private Facebook group, called The Sharing, with several hundred local members.  Most of the names Tobias recognizes are cool older kids from the high school.  Intrigued, willing to trust for the moment that this isn’t some ridiculously elaborate prank, Tobias clicks “join.”  

41. Jake looks around at the enormous open field, concrete pitted with openings and low hovels of corrugated steel and rebar.  He can see for nearly half a mile in every direction before the smog makes it impossible, and the tallest things around are the hunched hork-bajir.  “Where are we?” he asks.

  • Cassie frowns.  “This?  Jake, this is downtown Manhattan.”
  • He gapes at her.  “What happened to it?”
  • “Tall buildings are targets for drone strikes,” she says casually, turning away.  “The only way to be safe was to go underground.”

42. Marco doesn’t bother going to the house of the guy who photographed them, nor does he try to catch the kid before he uploads the video anywhere.  Instead he waits for the image to appear on YouTube, then becomes the first commenter.  “Sweet manip!” he says.  “Is that Photoshop, or can you do that in free programs like Gimp?”

43.  “EarthIsOurs-dot-tumblr-dot-com?” Marco says incredulously.  “What does Taylor do there, post pictures of her pet taxxon?  Reblog plans for planetary domination?”

  • «Judging from her archive history, she’s had this blog for many years,» Ax says.  «She recently changed the domain name, but some of the content on here is from as early as 2008.»
  • Jake and Marco get caught up in debating with Cassie about what exactly to send to her, but Tobias just scrolls quietly through Taylor’s old posts.  She didn’t lie about being beautiful, he realizes, or about being popular.  There’s a long blank period in her tumblr account in mid-2014.  And then she posted one selfie—just one—after the fire.  
  • He can’t bring himself to read the names that the trolls call her, or the discussions about how much money they’d have to be paid to have sex with her.  But there’s no overlooking the suggestions that she kill herself.  The posts are too numerous, too vitriolic.  
  • “Every chick ever to wander onto the internet has gotten that crap,” Rachel says; clearly she’s been reading over his shoulder.  “She should’ve developed thick skin, not joined the Sharing.”
  • Tobias thinks of the Facebook page made at his old school just to discuss the fact that he’s a chubby zit-face, of the posts which eventually overwhelmed his Instagram with death threats.  «Yeah, I guess,» he says.

44.  It takes a long time for Cassie to get home from Australia, but at least they’re not too worried for most of that time; she texts them her location and a brief description of the insanity that landed her in the Outback as soon as she gets in contact with Yami’s family.

45.  “None of this makes any sense,” Peter says.  “I’m hallucinating, or you’re delusional, or else—”

  • Marco sets his phone in Peter’s lap. “Check the timestamp, Dad.  I took that six months ago.”
  • Peter stares at the phone for a long minute, and then slowly looks up at Marco.  At a clear loss for words, he tilts his head back toward the screen.
  • “I know.”  Marco laughs, the sound wet with tears.  “That blond wig looks terrible on her.  But it’s really her, Dad.  I swear.”

46. “So they’re going to get the U.S. embroiled in another war,” Marco says.  “And this one with a country that can actually fight back.”

  • «Seems like,» Tobias says.  «Only why bother with all the secrecy and political wrangling?  Why not just send a couple mean tweets to Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un?  That’d probably do the job just as well.»
  • “No, it wouldn’t.”  Jake runs a hand through his hair, looking around at them all.  “The yeerks need a total war.  Everything the U.S. and its allies can pull out, against everything China and its allies can muster.  Our military has gotten too used to sending drones to fight its wars, to ‘tactical strikes’ against insurgents.  If the yeerks want half the species annihilated, they have to do a lot more than poke a couple of egos.”

47. “News flash,” Marco says.  “Your average suburbanite ain’t gonna accept a seven-foot-tall alien for a neighbor.  You know the number of times my mom’s been asked for proof of citizenship before she was allowed to vote or cash a paycheck or buy a car?  How many times she’s been pulled over by cops while driving the speed limit with her seatbelt on?  And she’s a regular old human being.  Toby’s right—the hork-bajir have a whole other fight coming if we ever win the war.”  

48. Rachel feels the blood drain from her face when she opens the Facebook message and sees the name attached.  David’s Facebook account has been defunct for almost two years now; there’s no one left who would want or even be able to access it from the outside.  Should be no one.

  • Miss me? the message from David’s account says.
  • Who are you? she types with shaking fingers.  What do you want?
  • I know what you did.  I’m coming for you.  I’ve got friends all over the place and they’ll find you.  They’ll kill you.  Amazing the allies you can get, when you know where the bodies are kept.  On the internet, no one knows you’re a—
  • Rachel hits “block.”  She tells herself that the screaming nightmares she has all that night and into the next are the product of having a stressful life, she’s an Animorph for pete’s sake.
  • She doesn’t stop shuddering every time she gets a message for the next two weeks, but she never hears from whoever (It wasn’t David. It couldn’t have been.) it was ever again.

49.  They stagger away from yet another hopeless fight, all of them injured, half of them missing limbs or bleeding to death.  Dragging their damaged bodies behind the first dumpster they find, they demorph, remorph, and force their minds to focus long enough for the long flight home.  It’s only when Rachel is in owl morph, staring around the dimly lit alleyway, that she sees the security camera pointed directly at their location.  

  • «They must not check it that often,» Marco says without much hope.  «Or else they’d be out here already to come looking for us.»
  • «Doesn’t matter,» Tobias says harshly.  «It had a perfectly clear view of all your human faces.  And that building is owned by the yeerks.»
  • They all stare at each other in dull shock as the realization sinks in.  They always knew this moment was coming—they could only be so careful for so long—and yet, on some level each of them hoped it never would.  
  • «Take one more night to be with your families,» Jake says at last.  «We evacuate everyone in the morning.»
  • Jake loses his phone, again, somewhere amidst all the chaos.  This time around he doesn’t bother to replace it.  It’s not like his mom is going to be wondering where he is, not anymore.  

50.  “So,” Jake says, “this is going to sound crazy, but—”

  • “Aliens are invading the planet, and you’re the only kid terrorist who can stop them?” James suggests.  “We do have wifi up here, you know.  You’re Jake Berenson, right?  You’re all over the conspiracy theorists’ forums right now.”
  • “Um.”  Jake runs a hand through his hair, starts again.  “Yeah, pretty much.”
  • James nods.  “In that case, you’ve got thirty seconds to convince me your story’s not a load of crap before I call security.”  

51. Ax secures their wifi in something a billion times better-hidden than Tor.  With that reassurance, they all end up starting blogs.

  • Marco’s is a rambling string of wry comments about everything from the invasion to his parents’ science projects.  Sample post: “Insider source (aka my mom): Visser Three has morphed human and eaten AN ENTIRE BAG OF MARSHMALLOWS in one sitting, ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION.  Pass it on!”
  • Jake’s is the place that people go to find out how they can help, and to get his reassurance that the help means something.  Sample post: “As Barack Obama says, ‘We the people recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom without a commitment to others is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.’  This fight will never be over just as long as we keep supporting each other.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am to you all for the KickStarter donations.”
  • Rachel’s has beauty tips for the American girl on the run, light and self-deprecating enough that you often don’t notice the undercurrent of desperation.  Sample post: “If you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror, try fixing your hair using reflective surfaces such as pots, ponds, or pieces of Bug fighter wreckage.  Alternately, just say ‘fuck it’ and never look at yourself again.”
  • Cassie’s tells people how to stay safe, and how to keep their environments safe as well.  Sample post: “Everyone please remember, it’s important to stock enough food and water for family pets as well as humans when retreating to an apocalypse bunker!”
  • Tobias’s has a lot of good-natured grumbling about everyday life in the valley.  Sample post: “In other news, my girlfriend’s mom is currently arguing with the smartest being on the face of the planet about where to put the new latrine facilities.  Sorry Naomi, but my money’s on Toby.”
  • Ax’s has a lot of food reviews, of course, but again there’s that undercurrent of desperation, almost like he’s trying to convince someone else (or maybe even himself) that humans are worth saving.  Sample post: “Marco assures me that there are no less than 23 distinct flavors contained within every sip of Dr. Pepper.  Just think of the years of experimentation and innovation it must have required to produce a drink which can inspire 23 different reactions from human taste buds, all at the same time.  Truly inspired genius.”

52. They run drills upon drills for what to do in case of a drone strike.  Using any morphs they have that can dig or build—mole, taxxon, elephant, beaver—the Animorphs create an extensive network of tunnels and shelters, posting guards at all times to keep their eyes on the sky.  The hork-bajir valley doesn’t show up on satellite imagery, which they only know thanks to Peter’s definitely-illegal fact-gathering missions on the darkweb, but they don’t know for sure whether an overhead camera would be subject to the same strange perceptual distortions they all experience when flying there as birds.  They nearly lose their precious secrecy when Naomi sends several emails from her work account, claiming she’s being held hostage and asking anyone who will listen to come rescue her.  Eva generates a hasty follow-up from the same account asking people to ignore “the prank that I now realize was in poor taste,” but none of them are sure it worked for the next several days.  

53. Rachel makes one last post on her nearly-extinct Instagram account.  This time the scrap of paper she uses appears to be torn from the back of a food label, but the penciled script is as intricate as ever.  It reads “Who wants to live forever? —Freddie Mercury, 1986”  

54. After it’s all over, Tobias retreats, he hides, but he keeps a thread of communication open.  Cassie shoots him an email with the subject line “Hawk patient with intermittent aggression and lethargy—any idea what could be causing it?”  Marco sends him idiotic memes that now feature the Animorphs’ names and faces.  Ax asks for constant updates on the new wing of Taco Bell being built downtown, and repays the favor by leaking confidential information about the search for the Blade ship.

  • And then he gets one of the stranger emails he’s ever received.  It’s an offer of a full legacy scholarship to Harvard University (which has just found the means to explain some inconsistencies in the records of one “Alan Fangor,” who graduated in the ‘80s) in exchange for Tobias teaching one class per semester on any subject of his choice.  He agrees, with the stipulation that all his classes be online.
  • The resultant course (Ornithology 442: An Insider’s Perspective) is like nothing the students who participate have ever seen before.  Tobias will write out rambling treatises on Why Blue Jays Suck or All the Ways Hawks Are Superior to Eagles with a thought-speak-to-text recorder.  He’ll deliver online lectures from a shaky webcam pointed into a nonspecific tree, occasionally wandering off for hours at a time to go hunting.  Students who ask him personal questions about Rachel get regurgitated mouse skeletons Fed-Exed to their campus mailboxes.  Essays that don’t demonstrate much effort get feedback such as “even I can tell this sucks and I have a seventh-grade education” or “my grandmother could make better sentences than this AND SHE’S AN ANDALITE WHO DOESN’T SPEAK ENGLISH.”  Assignments include “find one bird fact in a textbook and explain why it’s a load of crap” or “go film a Boston pigeon until it does something interesting, I dare you.”
  • Nevertheless, enrollment is so popular that Harvard has a three-year waiting list and charges students an extra $500 just to sign up.  When Tobias finds out about the extra fee, he promptly video-calls the Intrepid, gives Ax remote access to his computer, and explains why he needs Ax to convert the course illegally to a MOOC.  Harvard University fires him for breach of contract; Yale hires him on that very same afternoon.  

part 1 here 

bzfd.it
Congressman, Staffer, And Police Shot At Republican Baseball Practice In Virginia
A gunman opened fire as members of Congress were practicing at baseball fields in Alexandria, Virginia, early Wednesday morning.
By Jessica Simeone

Republican congressmen and their staffers were at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park baseball fields in Alexandria when a shooter opened fire shortly after 7 a.m. local time.

A Senate staffer who was at the practice, but asked not to be identified, told BuzzFeed News that the alleged gunman asked someone there if those assembled were Republicans or Democrats. When told they were Republicans, the gunman opened fire, reloading two or three times, the staffer said.

House majority whip Steve Scalise and a staffer to Rep. Roger Williams were shot in the melee.

Scalise was shot in the hip and transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center for surgery, his office said in a statement. He is in a stable condition.

“We ask that you keep the Whip and others harmed in this incident in your thoughts and prayers,” Scalise’s office said.

Chief Michael Brown of the Alexandria Police Department confirmed that five people were taken to hospitals for treatment, but he did not provide details about their identities or extent of injuries.

The suspect was also shot and was among those taken to a hospital.

Rep. Jeff Flake told reporters that Scalise was on second base when he was shot.
“We were doing batting practice, there were a number of members and staffers fielding,” Flake said. “Steve was on second base and we heard a very loud shot. The gunman was by the third base dugout with a clear view of the field.”

Flake said that Scalise “dragged himself about 15 yards off of there near second base on the field, laying motionless out there.”

“But we couldn’t get to him until the shooting stopped,” Flake said. “After time, another staffer ran in with a leg wound. He was shot in the leg.”

He also said that two Capitol officers — a man and a woman — were shot and one of them was airlifted to the hospital.

Congressman Roger Williams confirmed in a statement that one of his staff members was shot and “is receiving medical attention.”

Flake said he got a glimpse of the alleged gunman. He described him as a white man in his 40s or 50s with dark hair wearing a blue shirt and jeans. He said he believed the gunman had a “lot of ammo.”

Chief Brown told reporters that two of his officers returned fire.

According to reports, multiple shots were fired. Flake said “50 shots would be an understatement.”

Senator Rand Paul told CNN that after 10 shots in a row quickly rang out, “Everybody was hitting the dirt.”

“I saw Scalise go down at second base,” Paul said, adding that at least 50 or 60 shots “had been fired from the shooter.”

“I can tell you that I think with absolute certainty nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police,” Paul said. “They saved everybody’s life.”

The Republican baseball team holds practice every morning at 6:30 am local time at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Williams said in his statement.

This is a developing story. Check here for updates.