Solar System: 10 Things to Know This Week

Every day, our spacecraft and people are exploring the solar system. Both the public and the private sectors are contributing to the quest. For example, here are ten things happening just this week:

1. We deliver. 

The commercial space company Orbital ATK is targeting Saturday, Nov. 11 for the launch of its Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. Cygnus is launching on a resupply mission to the International Space Station, carrying cargo and scientific experiments to the six people currently living on the microgravity laboratory. 

2. See for yourself. 

Social media users are invited to register to attend another launch in person, this one of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This launch, currently targeted for no earlier than December, will be the next commercial cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. The deadline to apply is Nov. 7. Apply HERE.

3. Who doesn’t like to gaze at the Moon?

Our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) sure does—and from very close range. This robotic spacecraft has been orbiting Earth’s companion since 2009, returning views of the lunar surface that are so sharp they show the footpaths made by Apollo astronauts. Learn more about LRO and the entire history of lunar exploration at NASA’s newly-updated, expanded Moon site:

4. Meanwhile at Mars…

Another sharp-eyed robotic spacecraft has just delivered a fresh batch of equally detailed images. Our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) surveys the Red Planet’s surface daily, and you can see the very latest pictures of those exotic landscapes HERE. We currently operate five—count ‘em, five—active missions at Mars, with another (the InSight lander) launching next year. Track them all at:

5. Always curious. 

One of those missions is the Curiosity rover. It’s currently climbing a rocky highland dubbed Vera Rubin Ridge, turning its full array of instruments on the intriguing geology there. Using those instruments, Curiosity can see things you and I can’t.

6. A new Dawn. 

Our voyage to the asteroid belt has a new lease on life. The Dawn spacecraft recently received a mission extension to continue exploring the dwarf planet Ceres. This is exciting because minerals containing water are widespread on Ceres, suggesting it may have had a global ocean in the past. What became of that ocean? Could Ceres still have liquid today? Ongoing studies from Dawn could shed light on these questions.

7. There are eyes everywhere. 

When our Mars Pathfinder touched down in 1997, it had five cameras: two on a mast that popped up from the lander, and three on the rover, Sojourner. Since then, photo sensors that were improved by the space program have shrunk in size, increased in quality and are now carried in every cellphone. That same evolution has returned to space. Our Mars 2020 mission will have more “eyes” than any rover before it: a grand total of 23, to create sweeping panoramas, reveal obstacles, study the atmosphere, and assist science instruments.

8. Voyage to a hidden ocean.

One of the most intriguing destinations in the solar system is Jupiter’s moon Europa, which hides a global ocean of liquid water beneath its icy shell. Our Europa Clipper mission sets sail in the 2020s to take a closer look than we’ve ever had before. You can explore Europa, too:

9. Flight of the mockingbird. 

On Nov. 10, the main belt asteroid 19482 Harperlee, named for the legendary author of To Kill a Mockingbird, makes its closest approach to Earth during the asteroid’s orbit around the Sun. Details HERE. Learn more about asteroids HERE. Meanwhile, our OSIRIS-REx mission is now cruising toward another tiny, rocky world called Bennu.

10. What else is up this month? 

For sky watchers, there will be a pre-dawn pairing of Jupiter and Venus, the Moon will shine near some star clusters, and there will be meteor activity all month long. Catch our monthly video blog for stargazers HERE.

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307: Alt Argument Scene.

So in MBD world the wee verbal stramash Jamie and Claire had over various Young Ian/Bree/Frank issues would have played out slightly differently and it’s been running around my head all day as I tried to work out how to protect the precious creature that is Claire Beauchamp (cum) Fraser. 

Personal opinion time: I feel a little slighted because it seems (to me) as if Claire, episode by episode, is coming under fire for various things. She’s a mother, a healer, a wife, a superhero with cape flying through the air with the greatest of ease and with all of those supreme titles comes the rather large red, glowing arrow over her head that often reads “BLAME ME”. 

In this episode it’s from Jamie. I’m aware, as I’m sure we all are, that he’s waking up from 20 years of sleep and like Aurora, he’s groggy and annoyed at time lost. Unlike Aurora, he’s married to Laoghaire Mackenzie - but that’s another story for another time. So his own guilt and insecurities are bound to manifest in some way.

But poor Claire has already suffered enough dodgy side-eye from a man to last a million years and a day and she’s long overdue a break.

She never fails to stand up for the little guy, for everyone around her no matter the circumstances - even those who’ve wrong her (tried to maim her, rape her and marry her husband - she’s a better woman than I. I’d have the matches ready…legit…) so I’ve decided (with my 0% wisdom, but 100% sustained believe in the power of fictional powerful women) that I’d like to stand up for our Claire and allow her a moment to put right some wrongs. 

Have my alternate view SLASH extra moment.

Have I told you lately how much I LOVE Claire (and CAITRIONA too) I felt caps was needed. 

—-> This is dedicated to some of my favourite ladies, all of whom wear various different capes daily and lowkey rule the world: @manders1984 @suhailauniverse @thescarlettpeacock @writtenthroughtime @outlandishchridhe @gotham-ruaidh @takemeawaytocamelot @tammywt …plus loads of others <3 

– — –

Claire: You have no idea what it’s like to be a worried parent. You’re not the boy’s father, Jamie.

Jamie: No. I’m Brianna’s father. But I didn’t raise her, did I? I have to see how you and Frank brought her up. And that – that ratchet thing ye call a …bikini. Even whores have the decency not to go out in broad daylight dressed like that.

– — –

The breath caught in her chest at the accusation, the memory of previous (very similar) arguments with Frank bubbling beneath the surface. Had she been clearer minded she might have debated, internally, the reasons for Jamie’s anguish and anger. But she wasn’t. She was shaken; bone tired with the highs of their reunion fading before her eyes. The fears she’d expressed to Brianna before leaving Boston were suddenly becoming very real and the shattering truth of her own words back then reverberated through her chest.

Claire had spent a large part of her return to the twentieth century facing recriminations for her actions. For her choice to love Jamie she’d faced Frank’s ire, his anger and his resentment and - although he’d been the best father he could be to Brianna, that she couldn’t deny - she’d lost so many chances to bond with Bree through that ever present longing.

“Don’t,” she snapped, before Jamie’s words could cut her any deeper. She knew she held some accountability for her own decisions and actions. Tough choices that she had made and paid greatly for. She’d given up the blossoming relationship her and Bree had begun to grow. She had sacrificed her career, her home and her comforts.

At that moment she saw Brianna, sat in the window seat in front of her, her eyes soft in the dimmed light as Claire had discussed her parting. Finding her lungs devoid of air, the question rose around her like a smothering smog, what would Bree do? What would her feelings be should she hear Jamie speaking of her in such a way?

Her heart ached like mad, the distinct throb pulsing through her chest making her muscles weak and her eyes tear.

Claire had given up an awful lot for an opportunity to be whole once more.

For love.

For *true* love.

Claire had known that it wasn’t going to be easy. She’d felt that particular sting as she’d begun to learn of Jamie’s past and his present, but the burn from his harsh words sent her spiralling back into the memories of Frank and *that* she could not face.

“I can’t, Jamie, please,” she almost begged, hating that her words seemed weak and feeble. She hadn’t bayed to Frank’s taunting, she wouldn’t to Jamie’s either. Jamie was supposed to be the man who knew her best, the one she could truly be herself with.

The slight tenor of fear in her voice was a product of fear. Fear that she was losing the last tangible link to the Jamie and Claire Fraser they had been before. The immortal image of them against adversity was slowly burning to ashes in front of her, and there wasn’t a damn thing she could do to stop the destruction.

But for Jamie she would try. That meant not holding back, she had to be transparent and honest, even if that meant speaking up. Her ‘Do No Harm’ oath did not extend to feelings, only physical ailments.

“I’ve lived this life. The one with insults, secrets and I can’t, no,” she said stopping herself before she allowed any excuses to be made on his behalf, “I *won’t* live it again.” She stumbled over the ‘won’t’, a reminder that - even with their argument only half completed - the force of her feelings for Jamie were enough to make her want to fight her own corner in a less aggressive, more caring way.

“So,” Jamie replied, a distinct sound of shock in his voice though he tried to hide it, “do ye want to leave now, then?” He asked the question with a sort of suspended disbelief, as if he hadn’t thought his allegations would render Claire so hurt. He hadn’t thought at all. Jealousy and bitterness had overtaken the more rational part of his brain and he’d used their daughter to try and lessen the guilt he had over his various unspoken and *unrevealed* indiscretions.

Seeing his heated resolve evaporate, Claire continued, managing to stem the sobs as they caught in her throat as she spoke.

“You told me I was a good mother. You told me I needed to go. I did the best I could with a man I didn’t love the same anymore, I took his barrage of insults when he and I clashed and I lived a half-life where I tried to keep my feelings for you tampered AND raise our daughter AND try and ensure Frank didn’t feel too destroyed by my buried affection for you…and now, after searching and failing, searching and succeeding, getting into bother with our daughter over the lies she was told over the years then building a relationship with her, I made the outstanding decision to come back to you because I LOVE YOU, and here I am again facing yet more criticism for my decisions…”

“Claire,” Jamie interjected during her impassioned pause, trying to move towards her and bridge that gaping gap that had arisen between them in a few short moments. The taste was bitter in his mouth as she shook and shied away from his affection.

“You just called our daughter a whore,” she choked out, “the very daughter w-who begged me to return to you so that you could know what we did all those years ago was successful. That she had lived…because of you. What would she say…?” Claire said, more to herself than to Jamie now, “How would she feel to hear you speak of her this way?”

“Claire I didna mean–”

“You did, Jamie. You meant it.” Claire said, her nose and cheeks red, her face covered in the moisture of her tears. “I did love Frank, but not in the way I love you. Never in that way. And he punished me for the rest of our marriage, even when I told him he was free to leave. Then, just before his death, he tried to take her from me. After he’d made damn sure I had no say in it. I took it all, Jamie, anything and everything he threw at me because I stayed too. I bore the scars of leaving you for twenty fucking years and I deserved some of Frank’s anger because I didn’t love him as I should. We agreed, you know,” she continued, turning to the side and hiding her crushed facial expression from Jamie as she went on, “that if he was discreet he could see other women, and he did…”

“Christ, Claire,” Jamie cursed, his hand coming to lay on her shoulder.

This time she didn’t shy away, but she didn’t turn back either.

“So if that’s how you feel, then yes, maybe I should go. Bree and I,” Claire said, her voice getting deeper as the emotional overload gripped her, “we haven’t had the easiest relationship. But we’d bonded…more recently. I could go home, in time see her married and help to raise my grandchildren. I just want to be happy, that’s all. Content and not…n-not the martyr in an unwinnable battle.”

Shrugging her shoulders, she let Jamie’s hand slip from her as she bundled herself further away from him once more. She’d laid herself bare, exposed all of her (and Frank’s) polluted past for Jamie to hear and finally succumb to the idea that it *had* been foolish to think she could rebuild the twenty year gap that swirled between them like an unfathomable abyss. Whatever they decided she didn’t want to be touched at this particular moment.

“I dinna think I could take it if ye left, Sassenach,” Jamie whispered, his voice breaking ever so slightly, “to have ye here once more only to lose you…and then because o’ my own callus words. Dhia,” he cursed, his gaelic slipping in without thought. Luckily nobody was close enough to hear.

Peaking up from under her buoyant curls, Claire watched though sore eyes as Jamie began to cry beside her, his shoulders shuddering silently as he fell apart above her.

“She’s a credit to us, Jamie,” Claire said, “she’s strong and bright, stubborn yet kind hearted. Every day she made me proud with everything she did because she’s selfless. She embodies the very best of all of us and she carries herself with such grace. I bloody wish you could see her for yourself, so you could see what I’ve seen and I would give *anything* to turn back the clock and give you those years. But I can’t,” she whimpered, huge tears welling in her eye and dripping down her nose as she tried to shake them away, “I can only give you everything from here on out. I can show you pictures and tell you stories. I can love you with all that I am for as long as I have left, but I cannot suffer the indignity of anymore harsh looks and brutal words. I’d rather leave and remember what we had with fondness, than have it ruined if it’s not to be–”

“Stop, please Claire. I’m sae sorry. But please dinna leave me, please…” he begged, falling to his knees and thrusting himself against her.

Burying his head beneath her chin, Jamie wrapped his arms around her waist, giving her no option but to turn to him. Together, the burden of grief still hovering over them but dwindling now as the cold atmosphere began to clear in the aftermath of their combined break down.

Claire’s chest felt immediately lighter and she softened to Jamie’s touch, sinking into him as he had once done, all those years ago at a small abbey in France.

“I’m sorry, Claire, to you and Brianna. Sorry for what I said, I didna mean it,” he said, mirroring a conversation held long before, when their world had grown dark in the shadow of Fort William. “I wasna thinking o'er much and I should have been. I spoke in fear, Sassenach…” His voice trailed away, heavy with regret. “I am scarit. I feel like I havena woken from a dream, an’ that when I do ye’ll fade.” Jamie paused, clutching her waist tighter beneath trembling fingertips. “Ye are my heart, Claire. If ye go, I’ll tear in two. I dinna ken that I’ll live wi'out you or it fer long.”

“Hush now,” she replied, her voice no more than a sigh against the top of his head, “I won’t go. I don’t *want* to go…” Claire’s heart skipped a beat as they clung to one another in the moderate heat of Jamie’s brothel accommodation. “I remember my vows, Jamie. The ones we made together. Do you?”

“Of course I do, how could I forget?”

“Blood of my blood,” she recalled, saying the words that had seemed so foreign when she’d said them on their wedding day yet now seemed carved in her skin, a permanent reminder of their inextricable connection. Through thick and thin, they said, no matter the storms we have to weather, through good times and bad, you are mine and I am yours. Always.

“Bone of my bone, Claire,” he returned, running his nose along the long column of her neck before placing an incredibly delicate kiss on the underside of her jaw.

“I gave you my body, Jamie,” Claire said, her voice breathy and light, “and then I gave you my heart. You still have them both, if you want them?”

“By Christ I do, Claire,” he returned, “as ye have me. Mind, body and soul…until our lives shall be done, aye?”

“Yes. Why do you think I had to come back?”

“Because, mo nighean donn,” he said, “you found me and kent,” he paused, kissing her once more, “that it wasna done.”

“Yes, Jamie,” Claire sighed, fully relaxed again, “it isn’t done, is it?”

“No, sassenach, it isna,” he replied sincerely, “no’ by a long shot.”

– FIN –

NASA’s Lunar Prospector spacecraft launch from Cape Canaveral Air Station on January 6, 2008. Lunar Prospector was a spin-stabilized spacecraft designed to provide the first global maps of the Moon’s surface and its gravitational magnetic fields, as well as look for ice near the lunar poles.

by NASA on The Commons

Our future Mars 2020 rover, seen here as imagined through the eyes of an artist, will search for signs of past microbial life. The mission will take the next step in exploring the Red Planet by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself. 

The Mars 2020 rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside on the surface of Mars. A future mission could potentially return these samples to Earth. Mars 2020 is targeted for launch in July/August 2020, aboard an Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Learn more.

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Realm - Avengers X Reader

Part 2



Request: I have a request but it might be a stupid idea. In the middle of a mission the avengers witness a secluded gathering of people chanting around a huge fire and then there’s light and an explosion. People are gone but what’s there is a young woman. They were trying to bring out a demon but she stopped them. Turns out she’s a powerful witch from another realm that’s been sent to protect the earth from demons and the people trying to bring them out. Bucky x reader maybe. Or Loki x reader

Warnings: Enemy death. (I mean ??)

Words: 3 567

A/N: This was such a cool request! Thank you, Mr. Anonymous, for sending in this original idea. However… There is a slight problem… I didn’t find a way to believably make this into a Bucky X Reader or a Loki X Reader… Yet.

I wouldn’t mind making this into a multi-parter tbh to get the _______ X Reader in there! An entire series feels a bit too much as I’ve currently got Close Future, Home (kind of a possible series) and a third definite series that I’ll post later today!

Originally posted by theworldisworthagif

“I need some backup!” Clint called out over the intercom in distress. He ran and dropped down to the ground behind a burning car that had taken aflame from one of his exploding arrows. A group of soldiers were firing blindly at the ruined vehicle, machine gun bullets deafening as they ricocheted against the burnt metal.

“On my way.” Tony replied, turning around in the air towards where Clint’s tracker was marked out on the map in front of his eyes. He lowered his altitude before leveling out and hovering above the car Clint sought shelter behind. He raised his arm, firing a missile towards the barricade of soldiers that were attacking the marksman, killing them all in a split second.

“Thank you.” Clint said, saluting up to Tony before hurrying away to scour for more enemies.

They were in the dead prairies of northern Russia, a few hundred miles above Mongolia. A mere sixteen hours before, Tony’s satellite had picked up on a signal, one all too similar to the one the tesseract had made when opening the portal in New York, for the Avengers to simply ignore it. The signal traced back to Russia to where there was supposed to be nothing, but there had been a little bit more than nothing.

At the location of the signal there had been a military like base almost as large as a small town. In the center of it there was a an abnormally large pit of fire. Tony didn’t know what to think of it. There were hundreds of heavily armed men seeming to protect that fire alone, and he doubted that whatever the fire was for, it was something good.

“Is it just me, or is that fire starting to grow?” Steve asked, kicking a soldier in the chest as he could in the distance, over tents and makeshift shelters, see the sky turn brighter and brighter from the flames.

“And am I the only one who realizes how hot it is?” Sam questioned as no one had commented on it, circling around the fire at a bearable distance which was much further away than it should be. “I can barely be at the range where I’m at now.

Tony turned his head towards it, initiating a scan over how hot the fire really was. He watched the temperature rise on his display, continuing to do so even when it had reached the normal temperature of a fire.

“That’s not just fire.” He stated, his worry replacing itself with fear. He hovered in the air for a moment, his body frozen as he had no idea of what to do next. His eyes traveled down to where he saw Banner, or his alternative version, reeking havoc on the southern part of the camp. He watched Rhodes shoot every soldier in sight whilst still in the air. Everywhere around him people were fighting, and he couldn’t help but wonder if it was all in vain.

“There- There’s people… They’re standing around it?” Peter informed as he had climbed up one of the four guard towers in a corner of the camp and taken out the sniper that had nested in it. He looked into the distance and to where the fire had begun to rise higher into the sky. No doubt he could see a circle of at least a dozen people around it, moving their hands strangely. “I think they’re doing a ritual- sweet mother of god?!”

The fire suddenly bursted and became wilder, the flames changing from orange and yellow to unnaturally red. The snowstorm which was over them cleared out. The snowflakes melted into drops of water upon approaching the fire and vaporizing when getting even closer. Everyone on the team could feel it’s heat, no matter where in the camp they were. It was starting to become a bigger problem apart from whatever it’s true purpose could be. Everyone was starting to heat up in their suits despite the biting cold of the Russian night and it was hindering their ability to fight at full strength.

“We need to stop this thing, whatever it is.” Steve threw his shied at yet another soldier, hearing T'Challa fight behind him and seeing Bucky ahead. His skin was glistening with sweat and the same applied for almost everyone. Even Thor was struggling. He threw his hammer left and right tiredly as he was closer to the fire than most of the others were able to. Vision was even finding it hard to approach the flames which said a lot about how serious the situation was.

“I can’t control it.” Wanda said, who had been silent for quite some time. She had tried her hardest to take hold of the flames with her powers but she had been unable to. She had tried again and again in frustration but she had given up at last. Her eyes were widely staring at the fire which would be the death of the team if it continued to grow in size and they remained in place.

“Vision? What’s your status?” Tony asked for an update, flying down to the ground to aid Natasha and Scott who had encountered an entire troop of soldiers.

The intercom was silent, everyone listening intensely for Vision’s answer which never came.

“Vis?” Wanda pushed, looking up into the sky a few blocks of tents away. He was hovering in the air, cape flowing behind him, eyes fixated at the fire.

“I don’t know.” He admitted. He knew so much, was created and based of pure information about everything in between heaven and hell, but when he looked into the heart of the crimson red fire, his mind became blank. He did not understand what it was nor could he do anything to prevent it. Whenever he got close, he could feel it burn him, ethereal form or not.

Everyone followed Wanda and looked up towards the humanoid. If he didn’t know what to do, they were all doomed. He was practically the physical interpretation of knowledge itself. He should know of a way to stop the blazing fire, or the very least he should be able to approach it, but he could do neither.

“What do we do?” Bucky turned back to Steve, feeling his metal arm become scorching hot at his side. “I can’t stay here for much longer… I don’t think any of us can.”

Steve knew it was true. Every cell in his body wanted to run from the fire and seek out the cold and showy air outside of the camp. His lungs burnt with every, heavy breath he took, and he knew he was one of the more durable ones on the team. He could only begin to imagine the agony the rest were going through.

“We need to fall back… I repeat, everyone. Fall back-”

There came a rippling sound from within the clouds above, the sound alone shaking the earth enough for everyone ground bound to loose their footing and fall. The poorly built watchtowers began to crumble and Peter fell down helplessly. The alarm of any untouched cars began to siren across the camp as all of their windows shattered by the sheer force that came with the wave of sound.

A blue light suddenly began to form in the sky, growing rapidly in size and becoming brighter and brighter before it crashed down into the heart of the camp like a sphere of pure power. It was enough to knock Rhodes out of the sky as he was still airborne and Vision was pushed down as well, shielding himself from the unexplainable light. He came down to the ground and forced his fingers through the dry earth to remain put.

The bolt crashed into the fire and the second the two phenomenons collided, the blinding light and unimaginable heat vanished. The sky became dark. Only the light of fire created by the fight that had occurred illuminated the dead silent camp, the wind from the storm beginning to sweep across the flat land.

They could all breathe again. Bucky pulled in a harsh breath in panic as he had been lacking oxygen for twenty minutes straight, looking over at Steve and T'Challa who made the slightest movement to confirm him they were alive. Natasha, Tony and Scott slowly came to their senses. Sam flew out to the fallen guard tower where he had seen Peter fall. He found the teen on top of a caved in tent, heaving himself up from the ground and limping painfully. Bruce woke up, looking down at his bare body and hurrying to the nearest tents in search of clothes, Clint waiting for him as he had ran into the doctor. Wanda, who kept an eye over Vision, levitated down to the ground from one of the main structures she had been stood upon.

“Is everyone okay?” Steve called out as he heaved himself up from the ground, a smudge of blood starting at his brow from when he had fallen do the ground.

Romanoff, Lang and I are alive. A broken bone, some cuts and bruises, but still alive.” Tony reported in over their communication system, letting the helm of his suit retreat into the neck of the armor to allow him to feel the air around him.

I’ve got Bruce.” Clint informed which made everyone stop for a second to realize that the force from whatever had happened had caused Banner to revert to his human form. They had never seen or even heard of something being able to do that without Bruce being semi aware of what was happening. The blast had knocked the Hulk back effortlessly, raising questions in everyone but even more so when it came to Bruce himself.

And I’ve got Peter. I have Rhodes heading towards me here too.” Sam helped Peter up, seeing Rhodes approach in his damaged War Machine armor.

“Alright. Everyone to the center, now.” Steve ordered. Everyone helped those who needed it. Sam wrapped Peter’s arm around his neck to ease the weight off of his sprained ankle. Tony lended the sleeve of his suit to Scott who had clearly fractured his arm, using the piece of armor as a temporary cast.

Steve made sure that Bucky and T'Challa followed behind him as he began to head for where the fire had been. He walked around tents, over dead bodies, his steps clinking with the hundreds of bullets that were sprawled out. Even under the distracting circumstances he shuddered at the resemblance the Russian camp had with the war that Steve had once fought in, Bucky by his side not really easing his feeling of deja vu.

Black smoke dwelled from the pit where the fire had burnt, sweeping west along with the wind. Steve came up to the site and further down the clearing in the middle of the camp he saw Sam along with Peter and Rhodes. Vision and Wanda came down to the ground just as Clint and a fully dressed Bruce joined.

“I’m picking up a heat signal.” Tony aimed his hand towards the pit where smoke hid whatever was left in it, coming up to the site with Natasha and Scott, Thor landing with a loud thud as he flew in with Mjolnir and completed the team.

Everyone who had a projectile weapon aimed for the ash covered crater. Steve held his shield before him, silently praying that the fire had not fulfilled its purpose, no matter what that had been.

The smoke began to swirl unnaturally, pulling in towards the middle of the pit with a faint, yellow, glow illuminating the area. In the midst of the thick smoke, a human form appeared. A woman. She was holding her glowing hands out at either side of her, sucking the smoke up into her palms where it then vanished. Her eyes shone even brighter than her hands, easily seen even with the smoke whirling around her.

She wore strange clothing. She was dressed in a tight, black, suit with blue detailing. A wide and hooded mantel hung over her head and was swept loosely around her neck and down over her shoulders. Her arms were shielded with platinum bracers with unique carvings far from anything the team had ever seen before.

As the smoke cleared, her hands faded completely and her eyes settled for a glowing white color, more subtle in intensity than they had just been. She looked around her calmly at the worlds mightiest heroes that she had just saved.

“Who are you?” Steve called out, tightening his grip of the shield and staring at the woman, whose irises were not only glowing, but the whites of her eyes were pitch black and sent an unnerving shiver down the Captain’s back.

“As my mortal form…” She began, removing her hood as her body began to glow yellow again. Everyone squinted for the short moment that the lights reappeared. As the light settled and they looked back at the woman, she was just an ordinary girl dressed in ordinary clothing. “My name is Y/N.”

“Your mortal form?” Tony questioned, hand still aiming for the girl with his missile locked on her head. If she was to do something drastic, he would not even blink when he fired.

“I am of, what you would call, extraterrestrial origin… I was born in a galactic realm where beings were trained to defend the universe and all of its life.” She explained like it would make any sense to the team of superheroes before her.

“I have a headache…” Clint groaned, not at all keeping up with what Y/N was talking about.

“The fire… What was it?” T'Challa demanded an answer, much more interested in the presence than her backstory. He had little belief in outsiders of any kind, even more so when they came from other worlds, and he did not care who she was.

“The summoning of a demonic force that would have devoured this world and brought it out of existence… At least the beginning of one. I managed to stop it just in time.” She looked around her, noticing how their weapons slowly faltered the more she explained of who she was and what she was doing. “I am truly sorry for any injuries that my arrival caused.”

“That was you arriving?” Scott exclaimed, clutching his armored forearm, once again showing he had little of a filter when it came to situations where he might have needed it. “Lord knows I don’t want to get on her bad side…”

She chuckled, showing a sense of humanity to her. “I am not a threat, no matter whether you’re on my bad side or not, Scott.”

“You know our names?” Tony questioned, being the last one out of them to lower his weapon which also was his arm.

“Yes. I may be from out of this world but I wasn’t born yesterday, Tony. You’ve done an incredible job protecting this planet… That may have meant that you stole a job for me or two, but I’m impressed nevertheless. Well done.”

“She’s telling the truth.” Wanda said out of nowhere, drawing everyone’s attention to her. She had been looking inside Y/N head since the second the smoke had cleared out. Every single word that woman had said had been true. She wanted to tell everyone to lower their weapons immediately, but she felt that it was too much to ask them to remove their only defense against the essential alien standing before them. “She’s no threat. She values loyalty too much to betray us and would never as much as imagine hurting us, or anyone else for that matter…”

Everyone looked in between each other, taking in the situation which was a rather odd one. Not only was Y/N a complete stranger with abilities none of them could fathom, but Wanda had vouched for her. If anything or anyone could determine whether Y/N was trustworthy or not, it was Wanda.

“I know that trust is not freely given on earth, and maybe that’s not so strange, but I still promise you that I’m in no way your enemy here.” Y/N did a full circle to look at everyone before she suddenly clutched her hands together and held them out in the air before releasing them, the veins under the skin in her arms and hands as well as her eyes shining purple for a short moment. Everyone looked in confusion at her, wondering what she had just done as they knew extremely little to nothing about her powers.

“M-my ankle?” Peter stuttered, letting go of Sam and putting his weight onto both of his legs, attempting to jump a few times and realizing it worked perfectly. “It’s fine?”

“Nooo way…” Scott gasped across the crater which they were still circling, pulling off Tony’s gauntlet and twisting his arm back and forth.

She was happy to have aided their injuries which, in the end, had been caused by her as well. “Protecting the universe does not only mean that I defend it from threats.”

“You heal people? Just like that?” Rhodes raised a brow. “Because I might have lost a leg some time ago.”

She smiled apologetically. “I’m sorry. I can not regenerate entire limbs.”

“Don’t apologize.” Steve rolled his eyes at the team that was slowly but surely starting to fall out of control and becoming more unprofessional as time went on.

“What else can you do?” Peter dared to ask, feeling healthier than ever thanks to her.

“It’s difficult to explain.” She confessed. “I see of my abilities as a pen. Its purpose is to draw but it can draw an endless amount of things… The purpose of the blue spell you saw before is to attack, but I can attack in hundreds of different ways. The purple spell you saw is for healing, the yellow for alternating reality, and that is truly a field where the possibilities are endless.”

“You can alter reality itself?” Clint questioned, pausing slightly in between each word as he tried to realize the meaning of what that meant.

“How I look now, how I looked before I changed my clothing, is an alteration to my own appearance. I find it much easier to coexist with humans on earth like this… And I can also move objects to wherever I see fit. I think you would describe those two things as telekinetic powers and the ability to teleport.”

“Okay, that’s it.” Clint gave up, throwing his hands up in the air and slowly sauntering away. “I need an aspirin - no - actually I need about five. We’re also in the middle of Siberia if you haven’t noticed and we don’t have a demonic bonfire to keep us warm anymore, so chop chop, my fellow Avengers.”

Everyone stared wide eyed as Clint began to stumble away from the pit through the ruins of the camp, all of them legitimately wondering if he might have hit his head during the turmoil of Y/N’s arrival.

“Y/N? If you’re not busy delivering a bunch of K.O.’s to demons and saving planets from giants lasers, or whatever they need saving from, I would love a quick zap back home instead of sitting on a overly crowded jet for the next fourteen hours!” Clint continued even as he was so far away that he had to shout back to make himself heard.

Y/N opened her mouth as to speak but didn’t know what to say. She looked to the others for some sort of tell in what their thoughts were of the situation. Unfortunately, they were just as clueless as she was.

“I’m going to speak for the rest of the team right now, but I think you’re more than welcome to travel back to New York with us.” Steve spoke up, keeping Wanda’s words from earlier in mind about how the witch from a different realm was no threat at all and how everything Y/N had said was true. He tried not to think to literally what witch truly meant or other realm too for that matter. If he did, he doubtlessly would have to follow Clint’s advice with a handful of aspirins.

Y/N smiled, bowing her head down as a sign of gratitude. “And I’d be happy to quicken that journey, if you’d allow me.”



     While driving down Interstate 5 through Santa Ana, California, you may have spotted this rocket. Even for space fans, identifying this vehicle may be difficult. It is a rare Delta Cryogenic Second Stage (DCSS) for the short lived Delta III rocket. This DCSS has a home at Discovery Cube Orange County, where she acts as an effective billboard for this educational museum. This equipment is appropriately placed near Huntington Beach where this particular payload fairing was manufactured.

     On August 27, 1998, the Delta 259 mission lifted off from Launch Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, marking the first flight of a Delta III, carrying the Galaxy 10 communication satellite. During the burn of its first stage, a design flaw in the rocket’s guidance system caused it to violently diverge from its planned trajectory and begin to break up. During the breakup process, the flight termination system was activated by the range safety officer, causing what was left of the rocket to explode. The Galaxy 10 satellite could be seen that night as a flaming ball streaking down until it spectacularly exploded as it hit the Atlantic Ocean. 

     The second flight of a Delta III would take place on May 5, 1999, as the Delta 269 mission flew from the same pad. Thanks to a manufacturing flaw in the Pratt & Whitney RL10B-2 engine, the second stage burn was cut short, causing the stage to tumble into a useless orbit. The Orion 3 communication satellite was written off and a second payload was lost.

     A final flight of the Delta III would take place on August 23, 2000, with the Delta 280 mission, which carried a dummy payload called DM-F3. This time, the flight was a success, but it was too late for the Delta III. The commercial satellite industry took a steep dive in the late 1990s. The more powerful Delta IV was just a few years away from its first flight, and Boeing was pursuing a more conservative Delta II Heavy rocket. These factors, combined with the failures, caused the Delta III to be quietly shelved. Some spare parts from the program were flown on various Delta II and Delta IV flights, and in the late 2000s, Boeing donated this DCSS to Discovery Cube Orange County where it stands today, greeting passersby on Interstate 5.
‘Gotham’s Cory Michael Smith Joins ‘First Man’s Space Crew
By Anthony D'Alessandro

EXCLUSIVE: Cory Michael Smith is set to play astronaut Roger Chaffee in Damien Chazelle’s upcoming Universal astronaut pic First Man. Chaffee was one of the astronauts in the Apollo program serving as capsule communicator for the Gemini 3 & Gemini 4 missions. In 1967, he died in a fire along with fellow astronauts Virgil (Gus) Grissom and Edward H. White II during a pre-launch test for the Apollo 1 mission at what was then the Cape Kennedy Air Force Station Launch Complex 34, Florida.

Smith joins a cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Jon Bernthal, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber, Jason Clarke and Brian D’Arcy James.Smith, who plays The Riddler aka Edward Nygma on Fox’s hit series Gotham, will next be seen as one of the leads in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck with Julianne Moore opening in theaters on Friday. He most recently wrapped the leading role of filmmaker Yen Ten’s AIDS drama film 1985, alongside Michael Chiklis, Virigina Madsen and Jamie Chung.Smith is repped by Paradigm and Circle Of Confusion. First Man opens on Oct. 18, 2018.


The United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket carrying the Orbital ATK Cygnus module rolls to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Pad 41 in this time-lapse video. The rollout is in preparation for the Orbital ATK CRS-7 mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

Launch is currently scheduled for 11:11 a.m. EDT, watch live coverage: 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:

CREATURE FEAR (chapter 1/?) | ice, circa season 10 | s/o to the wonderful @kateyes224 for her word prompt(s) | see ao3 for a/n 

summary: Welcome to the top of the world. Please enjoy your stay.

This is their glacial thaw in the modern era. It is D.C. spring and his feet up on the office desk despite the protest of his knees. He smiles when she knocks on the open office door before coming in. 

This the ironically earth-bound slowness of them. She’s balancing coffee with one hand and deleting emails with another. The basement is losing its bleached smell, or she’s becoming accustomed to it. It used to matter to her, the difference between real change and careful self-delusion. Now, she breathes in deep.

“The world is melting, Scully.”

Monday morning, and he’s armed with the apocalypse.

“I watch CNN,” she says. “But good morning to you, too.”

Keep reading

Artist writer collab for something a bit different this time!
Art by me
Writing by @bloomingednae

Day 1: Elysia (Innocence/Beginnings)

“The waves we rode, the tales we told
Who’d known that they would lead us to right now,
we’ve waited for this moment all our lives.”

        -“Age of Innocence” - Elephante feat. Trouze & Damon Sharpe)

The early morning air danced around Sorey’s earrings as he began walking in the direction of Elysia’s gates. It was an air he was so familiar with; and yet, not so much all the same. Taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, he looked towards the purple blue sky, birds flying in the direction to their destination, stars slowly fading out in the background of the sun’s upcoming rays of light. The sound of rustling grass swirled around him, causing him to look at the long grass he so vividly remembered rolling around in and more than often times, took a nap in. The crunch and texture of the grass as he began to walk forward were all too familiar, yet, all too new. Mixed feelings stirred inside Sorey, but it didn’t change his determination to see Glenwood again.

Glenwood. It’s been countless centuries and yet, here he was, beginning once again in the same village he’d been so familiar with. It was comforting to say the least; but waking up into a new world that he once called familiar-

He shook his head. These feelings of uncertainty is what caused him to feel some sort of grief well up in him. Perhaps it was the new emotions he wasn’t used to as a seraph. Perhaps they were emotions he wasn’t actually familiar with at all. But regardless of the reason, he closed his eyes and shook it out of his head completely.

And just as he began to open his eyes, a flicker of white and blue caught his eye.

Before him stood a figure standing tall, head held high, capes catching air within the wind that surrounded Elysia. A wooden staff was in his left hand, a relaxed grip wrapped around the center of it. His back was turned on Sorey, but Sorey knew all too well of the figure before him.

Long, flowing white hair tied high up in a ponytail with the tips dyed a faint blue; six capes of blue flowing in a cascade of fish-like designs reflecting on each cape, almost as if imitating the movement of water; and broad shoulders which he had grown into throughout the years. These were different aspects, things that Sorey almost felt so unfamiliar with. They were different, almost unsettling.

However, slowly, the figure began to look to his left towards the direction of the flowing wind and the instant the wind came by, his bangs lifted and revealed the pale yet sharp features Sorey remembered. The glint of the unmistakeable circlet glimmered to Sorey’s eyes, and as it did so, Sorey then caught what he felt at home with the most.

Those memorable, warm, amethyst eyes. The wind picked up his bangs a bit more, and the color in his eyes warmed tenfold as he looked in the direction beyond the houses of Elysia, slightly squinting his eyes to resist the cold against the wind. As he continued to look in the same direction, not acknowledging Sorey’s presence, a sigh escaped his lips and he closed his eyes, softly smiling as he did so.

If there was something that Sorey treasured more in Glenwood, it was the undeniable, breathtaking beauty before his eyes that he awoke to everyday.

Sorey knew not how long Mikleo had been standing, waiting for him at that moment, but he knew one thing: Mikleo waited long enough.

As a child, as a growing teenager, as a seraph on their journey, and as a young adult; it was time to continue where they had left off, together.

Maybe there will be times of uncertainty. Maybe there will be times of differences. Sorey couldn’t see the future and what it held. The only thing he did know, though, that this was the beginning of a journey within his own heart to rid of those very thoughts of ambiguity.

He knew he wasn’t alone. Just as he opened his mouth to call, Mikleo opened his eyes and half-turned towards Sorey, a look of questioning in his eyes. They were curious, anticipatory, and speckled with a small flicker of concern; exactly how Mikleo looked at him each time before an important event.

Under all of that, however, Sorey knew Mikleo’s gaze was one of endearment, trust, compassion, and undying loyalty. These were emotions never said, merely felt, and it was enough for Sorey altogether.

All feelings of uncertainty began to wash out slowly as Sorey began to take small steps towards Mikleo. He smiled, green eyes shining brightly, and as he did so, he noticed the corners of Mikleo’s lips begin to twitch, forming a small, soft smile similar to the one Sorey had seen earlier.

Within Sorey’s heart, he felt there was no better way to start a new journey once more. And deep down, he knew Mikleo felt all the same.

“Safe, under the dark blue sea of stars,
A place, beyond the pain of a broken heart.”

Between Earth and Hades (Part 2)

Originally posted by juicebox2121

Pairing: Teacher Erik, Student reader (Not together but you do have a serious crush goin on)

Word Count: 1700

Warnings: None

-Part 1- -Part 2- -Part 3- -Part 4- -Part 5- -Part 6-

After discovering your abilities, you begin to perfect them in the training initiative on Erik’s behest. After catching you use that training for a darker purpose, tensions between you and him rise.

It was good to hear them scream. The sheer amount of panic that chorused out of your bullies when a dome of black fog descended around them and blocked off the hall. Your fist outstretched you laughed, not bothering to pick up the books they knocked out of your hands and scattered at your feet. This moment took all of your attention because you needed it, to see them back off when you were done tormenting them for not just keeping to them damn selves like everyone else.

A hard grip clamped around your wrist and yanked you back, pulling you out of your reverie. Erik was glaring at you, jaw set with what you knew was to be a lecture.

The fact he was protecting them burned under your skin. Ripping your hand free you missed your bullies run and stumble scared, their whimpering drowned out by the racing of your heart.

The anger in his face broke down. In a few blinks he sighed and slouched, disappointment in his words. Him expecting better from you wasn’t fair. “What are you doing?”

Keep reading

These images of the sun were captured at the same time on January 29, 2017 by the six channels on the Solar Ultraviolet Imager or SUVI instrument aboard NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite. They show a large coronal hole in the sun’s southern hemisphere. Data from SUVI will provide an estimation of coronal plasma temperatures and emission measurements which are important to space weather forecasting.

SUVI is essential to understanding active areas on the sun, solar flares and eruptions that may lead to coronal mass ejections which may impact Earth. Depending on the magnitude of a particular eruption, a geomagnetic storm can result that is powerful enough to disturb Earth’s magnetic field. Such an event may impact power grids by tripping circuit breakers, disrupt communication and satellite data collection by causing short-wave radio interference and damage orbiting satellites and their electronics. SUVI will allow the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center to provide early space weather warnings to electric power companies, telecommunication providers and satellite operators.

NASA successfully launched GOES-R at 6:42 p.m. EST on November 19, 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It was renamed GOES-16 when it achieved orbit. GOES-16 is now observing the planet from an equatorial view approximately 22,300 miles above the surface of the Earth.

Image Credit: NOAA


Time And Space

Prologue: The Penance Passover

Part 1 of the Elorcan Hades/Persephone Series! I’ll be absent for this coming week as I’ll be flying out of country with no complimentary data. In return, I decided to post this dull introduction as a slim means of compensation. Trust me, the action and angst will come. 

It is not clear why we choose the fire pathway

Where we end is not the way that we had planned

All the spirits gather ‘round like it’s our last day

To get across you know we’ll have to raise the sand

Monday: Elide Lochan

Elide counted away the seconds in the silent cell, sucking on her bottom lip. The flares of pain latched onto her ankle never faltered, an obstinate obstacle ousting her will of lesser fortitude, marring her own feeble attempts to simply endure the anguish.

She released her lip, wobbling. The chain shackled to her ankle thrummed against her own marred skin, slick with sweat, rubbing against cold metal. Her shoulders rolled back, and her back cracked at the next fleeting second.

Her own body danced to a frenzied cacophony flaming the unwritten despair reflected across her dark orbs, darting within the darkness. Her muscles moved without meaning, tendons twitching, throat run dry and barren, a desert of all words never spoken and severely silenced.

The mute marathon rolled on, an endless momentum of memory and mishaps. She waited for the simple sounds of twelve strikes, the sounds of subservient release, drowning in her own single sea of sorrows.

When the jarring bolls tolled twelve times—as they did, shaking her out of her stupor—the devil in her dreams would fling open the wooden doors—mocking her limpless and limping figure—and unclip the cruel chain. A recurring sorts of twisted fate, the vicious cycle glazed with vices sewn across her every step.

Elide expectantly stared at the door in front of her, waiting—the only laborious action save for the strength to breathe. Her ribs shuddered at the familiar jangle of keys rattled.


A click chimed, inserted through the keyhole.


The key twisted, and jerked upwards. 


A series of other traditional beepings followed, unlocking the additional security codes to the room.


The finger and eye scanned sequence pierced through the room.


Elide watched the door fling open, and shivered at the dark robes peeling into her vision. A phantom hand wrapped around her, choking her air and silencing her words. The boots scraped along the floor, an ever familiar leer coating a stubbled and warped face bent in as if reflecting the distorted sense of crookedness.

Uncle Vernon.

Her own overseer of wretched slavery and dreaded torture, worming through her mental barriers and twisting through every pore.

“You’ll be serving two very important guests of mine today,” her Uncle rasped. “Make a mistake, and I’ll chain you with snakes. Impress, and the chains will not compress.”

It must have been a very occasion indeed if he were to bribe her, Elide mused, and roughly swallowed, forbidding any strangled sound to slip. A meaty hand gripped her chin, nails digging into her flesh. Pale, porcelain skin slathered in grime’s filthiness lathered away all the bruises and cracks and fissure, all the rage and despair and melancholy bubbling inside of her, hissing in no sight of no means of escape. Hope held no clean facade, stringing away all inches of hope, dragging her under each plate of cold touch.

Her Uncle had served her raw, bloodied on a plate.

Upon drawing the first drip of liquid sopping to the ground, he released his hold on her, curling his ragged nails back into his large fist.

“Understand?” he hissed, dark, unfathomable eyes cutting through her.

She meekly nodded, a weak sound of confirmation escaping her throat.

Satisfied, he reached down to unchain the shackle from the wall. It was an irony of strained sorts, watching him bend over to slightly free her. Some days, when the taunting ran high, he’d loosen the chains, just enough for her to breathe, and for her to feel a forbidden future. It only left the little falsities of hope to run dry within her, no longer appeasing her or alleviating even the smallest sliver of stress.

The chain now dangled, clasped at her ankle. For every freedom, she still remained chained. She choked on the bitterness, swallowing day by day the crucifixion of her own sanity without a resurrection of any reassurance.

Before he yanked her out the door, she squared her shoulders, channeling the last ounce of stripped strength within her.

“Uncle Vernon,” Elide said, her voice firm and solid. “I have a bargain for you.”

For a man who held all the power in the world, he had everything to lose, and if a simple bargain from the bottom of his bearings could usurp him, then rest assured the supposed power would crumble to ashes at his feet. While he found ground by the need for more, a dark domination of descent, the inherent, fundamental need to survive drove her. And here she toiled away into the abyss forever tunneled by that futile fall.

The door creaked, halting halfway through.

A pause.

“A bargain?” his voice snarled, thickened with pure distaste. “You think you have a position to do so?”

“Afraid?” Her voice cracked, but did not waver—a feeble willow blowing in the fields, firmly rooted in the soil.

Atrophy held her captive, battered down with assault. At the bottom of the abyss ran numbness, an insensitivity to fear. Great winds of the withering whirled around her, wrecking shards of ruins within her. Trickles of trepidation traversed across her body, urging an awakening tsunami of tears.

The figure in front of her whirled around, hand flying outwards. Her cheek stung, pain flaring, but she did not move her hand up to cup her red-hued skin. Instead she remained as stone, reverberating in her spot from the shock.

“Seems I haven’t beaten you enough.” The door slammed shut, vibrating vice’s finality. “You think I have to be afraid of a mangled girl?”

Elide lifted up her chin. Instead, she merely asked, with a mask of indifference, “Do you?”

The scars burned over her skin as the shadow, her ingrained nightmare, stalked over her. Her heart thrummed faster as the chain clasped within the hands of her captive. This is it, she thought to herself, swallowing harshly.

The door flung as easily as it closed, and the figure of a tall woman stood at the crux, neither divine nor infernal. The hue of white-moon hair enamored Elide’s vision, a different type of dark aura pulsing around the room—one that even took her Uncle aback.

Vernon’s grip on her neck tightened, and Elide could not push away the cry that escaped from her throat. Both heads twisted towards the exit, which Elide had never seen as an entrance nor an element of euphoria.

“Is this our evening entertainment?” the woman said smoothly. She flicked her red cape around her, revealing long nails that promised sudden and deeper pain than the chains littering the cracked floor. Not human, a voice whispered scratched out in Elide’s head.

Vernon hissed and dropped Elide into a bundle on the floor. A sliver of severed synergy, a curdled connection, swept through the dimness, a strand of Elide matching the otherworldly woman’s dark and deadly, vicarious and vicious vibes.

Elide shivered—and flinched when a foul breath clouded over her ear.

“We’re not done yet,” her Uncle snarled under his breath, and Elide knew each syllable rang true with his penchant for pernicious promises. “I’ll teach you fear. Thoroughly.”

The woman raised a brow. “Vernon,” he snapped.

“What?” he growled, sandpaper grating thoroughly into the grave.

“Hear out her deal if you want ours to continue.”

Elide swallowed, and slowly watched Vernon turn around, a nasty scowl on his sunken face. If her Uncle saw her shoot the other woman an appreciative glance, he’d exacerbate her evening beating.

So she kept her eyes on the ground.

“Talk.”  The white-haired woman looked at her expectantly, orbs a glaring dark gold.

Elide squared her shoulders. “I want—” She rubbed her arms, goosebumps running rampant over her skin. Her practiced words vanished from her head, reduced to ashes. “—I want love.”

The woman craned her head down, a flicker of disappointment flashing across her young and ancient features. Vernon smirked, and her tongue felt swollen. Perhaps this was why it was better to never speak, with the stolen sounds to be sucked out from her soul into the soiled.

“Easy,” Her uncle simpered, a touch of early triumphant written on his face. “I’ll give you seven days—one week—from today for a man to prove his dying love for you. Even out of your home. You can’t say I’m not generous.”

Elide ignored the bait. “And if I do?” Find love.

A sick smile. “Then you’re free.”

“And if I do not?”

A sure smile. “Then you become my slave.”

Her Uncle and the white-haired woman left the room, the latter’s red cape sweeping the air in a graceful swirl. The former left the door open, light creeping through the sunken darkness. And she—she slowly raised herself up, and hesitantly balanced herself on her mangled ankle.

Seven days.

Elide wobbled out of the room, palms flat against the walls, shadows shimmering through the sinister space, spiteful shapes swallowing the sincere and secure. The single hall led down in a silver, shattered spiral stairs, and each step send flares of agony shooting up her leg.

But all of it could not triumph over the new promise set in stone, numbing the suffering and all of his sensations. She did not look to savor the stale static, the deformed doors, the pale portraits,or  the crooked chandelier. She did not hear the fleeting flutterings nor the fear’s flaws flying forward. She did not stop at the scratched, peeling paints coating the grimy and ghastly walls.

She did not bother to look back—did not want to see the two shapes of dark shadows staring out from the marbled windows, watching her flee—as she shoved upon the heavy door with all her weight’s worth, and was blinded by the strength of the sunlight.

Monday: Lorcan Salvaterre

 Despite their sadistic, flashing grins etched on their blood-coated faces with leather torn and ragged, all the fully armed mercenaries could agree on one thing: the run-down warehouse was no place for a woman.

The half-naked, snarling men in the ring halted their blows, the chanting at the side subsiding into hushed growls. The ringleader’s head whipped to the entrance so hard his neck cracked with a pop.

A curtain drew over the walls hanging an ornament of weapons, ranging from crimsons coated spears to palm-sized daggers. The hilts had long faded to reveal the bony structure underneath, mended over with spare material. Lorcan’s own hatchet slung lazily in his hand, rubbed with chalk. Dust filtered through his eyes, squinting at the sight before him.

Lorcan’s opponent gaped at the dark-haired woman striding in, her skirts swishing delicately around her ankles, a slight tilt in her gait. Lorcan merely rubbed his jaw in frustration, as time would have told ten seconds ago he would have pummeled his puny partner.

But this was a new punch. Never before had silence so quickly fallen in the night rush where money wormed out of pockets and tongues eased into lucid speech. 

“Can we help you, ma’am?” The nearest bloke managed to stutter out, wiping perspiration from his forehead. The brute miserably failed to tuck in his pit stains, the bulge from the belly of his stomach boasting and belching all things bloated and beastly.  

The money no longer slid to the referee, hands instead gripping the ruffled clothes, eyes sliding to soak in the figure of a female. A bark slipped from Lorcan’s throat, and he easily hurled himself over the cage.

There was something so inexplicably ineffable about this woman that drew him to her, and the horny, haunted faces of all the males around him only drove the edge of his enmity over the thin line. And though he had entered this illegal place to take down that feeling to a notch, it seemed that the devil couldn’t treat him kindly today—nor ever.

The onyx-eyed female held a darker spark in those orbs than the males around her, save to match the storm in Lorcan’s own. The woman held her ground as Lorcan stalked towards her, raising an eyebrow at the rivulets of sweat running down his roped arms and torso. He refrained the urge to devour her whole, leave his scent over smooth—and scarred—skin, claiming, marking, holding her as his.

“Does he leave the bed cold?” A man crowed. “I can offer better company.”

Before Lorcan could snap another neck, the woman turned towards the nearest man, who proceeded to give her a mock bow, eyes raking unabashedly over her form.

The woman sniffed in distaste. “I’d prefer an actual man.” Dismissing the leering male with a glance, she turned towards Lorcan, who watched her carefully. “I’m looking for Lorcan Salvaterre, bodyguard. I hear he often frequents this place.”

Lorcan Salvaterre’s eyes narrowed. Then he abruptly grabbed the woman’s elbow and yanked her towards the door, ignoring the sharp whistles piercing the air. When she stumbled, he easily tossed her over his shoulder, ignoring the tiny fist pounding against his back and curt cries slithering down his ears.

He brought her to her toes as soon as the door slammed shut, the bouncer waving them past with a curious glance that only meant trouble. Pulling her several feet forward, he slammed her spine against a dumpster.

“What do you want?”

“Figures you wouldn’t have manners,” she huffed, and massaged her knuckles. Her eyes glassed over, and he had to crane his head forward—and down—to hear her. “I shouldn’t have expected more.”

Lorcan decided he did not like those judging, doe eyes staring at him. “What business do you have?”

“I’m looking for Lorcan Salvaterre. He’s a renowned bodyguard.”

“I know who he is. And his services are not cheap.”

Dark eyes flashed. “What’s cheap is that you have the audacity to drag me to this—” she waved her hands around, nearly smacking the stubble of his chin— “dark place, and demand of me.”

His mouth curved up into a smile. “But did you not demand of Lorcan Salvaterre?”

Her own lips formed an o, and his pants suddenly seemed all too tight. This woman oozed precious pureness tainted with temerity beyond the torn, trampled, and tortured. The gleam in her eyes hinted wariness, and he noted the spread stance of her legs beneath her skirts that seemed to be stolen of the hangers from the nearby shops.

“I—” her face flushed, and he could not stop himself from bringing the pad of his thumb to caress over the curve of her cheek, slowly stroking her soft skin. “I have a request.”

He studied her gaunt face, and the thinness of her arms, the rest of her horribly slim body covered by the pile of laces and silk, hem already muddied and ripped—which did not seem to faze her in the slightest. Onyx eyes skimmed over the sunken, hollowed face and curved over the column of her throat, exposing the outline of her bones, and down to the slope of her breasts.

“My eyes are up here,” she snapped.

He snorted. “And your breasts are down there.”

Lorcan didn’t have time to think before pain shattered through his lower area, a growl rumbling through his chest.

“And your groin is down there,” she equally sniped back.

He grunted, briefly closing his eyes, warily carefully the woman caged in front of him. When the pain subsided, he snarled in her face, the tip of his tongue laced with malice.

She beat him to it. “Don’t lecture me about pain when you hand it out willingly—as in the ring.” The woman hiked up her skirts, and he skirted back a respectable distance from her, cautious of her next strike.

The breath left his lungs. A thunder escaped his throat. Pure, undiluted rage flashed through him. “Who did that to you?” he managed to gut out.

Mangled and marred skin straight to the marrow, marked with the branded outline of crisscrossing chains that would undoubtedly follow her no matter how far nor how long she walked, reddish and purplish and brownish blemishes painted her ankle in a patterned painting.

A chain could either mean the sex or slave trade, but by the clear, unmarked neck from the collar, none had manacled her. Someone did—because she needed a bodyguard. This was a different type of vermin swarming the streets, something cruel enough to lock something up, but not tarnish the beauty enough to ruin her hopes and dreams.

Lorcan could only prolong the inevitable end. He could tell her that it was pointless. That unless she was filled with testosterone, could handle the blood and fists, and drank the fill of blocked, hazed emotions, she would not outrun her own personal demon.  

“How much?” she croaked out. “Before my other ankle looks like that.

His fists clenched. She saw his reaction, and knew that he could not turn away now. Bitch, he thought bitterly to himself. This was exactly why he allowed his emotions to diminish into a pulp, and allowed his brashness and brawns do the talking. This was exactly why he only worked with men who desired one simple life lost in the wind, or the occasional jealous, embittered woman who wanted another one gone.


If he refused, he would live. But this woman would not. And that was that.

The woman stared at him, eyebrows slightly drawn together, a fatal, focused look washing over her face. He wondered what inner demons ate her up—or if her outer one feed on them to sustain his own body. He wondered if she looked through a shattered mirror and saw the pieces of herself staring back, forever fragmented. He wondered if he would take part corrupting in her soul—and if that demon would be able to handle her.

Because whatever was stewing in this woman’s body was not human. It was past beyond the mortal scent, breeding hatred, hollowing hope, and secreting obscurity. The tip of her nails may have been human, but what they were willing to grasp and choke certainly was not.

And it was that curiosity that had him inclining his head towards her just as the bouncer had followed them here. And it was toeing the line of the unbridled unease that had him reaching for his hatchet slung low on his hips. And it was that last glance towards the abused ankle that had the weapon whistling through the air and solidly sinking through the chest of the other man.

Lorcan stalked over to the fallen body, careful to not step in the seeping pool of crimson, and jerked the blade out. He nudged his head towards the other end of the alley, and the woman—devil forbid—smiled at him, and swished around—and did not look back.

And Lorcan Salvaterre strode behind her, guiding her to his home and hell.

                          The Phantom of the Opera is there…

With a graceful yet deadly twirl, Mika’s blade spun out at such a speed that Yuu didn’t even see it slice Kimizuki’s shoulder. He only knew Kimizuki had been cut when vibrant blood splattered the ground and Kimizuki hissed with the stinging pain. Spinning around him, Mika’s cape cut through the air like a scarlet scythe.

Using the weakness to his advantage, Mika charged forward, causing Kimizuki to gasp and fall backwards. His injured side slammed against the gravel, making him to cry out in anguish. Mika kicked his sword away, successfully having Kimizuki pinned beneath him. Kimizuki’s eyes widened, likely seeing a wicked image of a murderous man arching tall above him, eyes glinting with a fiendish, almost maleficent glow. The ends of his whitish blond hair shone with chilling silvery moonlight, casting a dismal, gruesome shadow over his masked face. 

             ✧ Art by @maqui-chan for the fic, Angel of Music by @vixenfur ✧

NASA Shortlists Three Landing Sites for Mars 2020

Mars 2020 is targeted for launch in July 2020 aboard an Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The rover will conduct geological assessments of its landing site on Mars, determine the habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient Martian life, and assess natural resources and hazards for future human explorers. It will also prepare a collection of samples for possible return to Earth by a future mission.