cultural site

Story 215: Cultural Exchange

The human steps onto the station from her shuttle, and walks into the scanner.  It flashes - no weapons.  I pity her, though there’s nothing I can do for her.  By tomorrow she will be a slave the same as me; the Gaunvans collect ambassadors like trophies.
“Hello there!  Amanda Thorn, ambassador for the Empire of Humanity.  You’re a Ixian, correct?”
Mimicking human body language, I nod my head.  "That’s correct.  Ix Malasan.  It is an honor to meet you.“
She smiles, reminding me again that she has somehow modified herself to breathe atmosphere suited to the Gaunvans rather than wear a respirator like myself.  Other than that she appears to be a standard human, something I am led to believe is less and less common as they pursue the bizarre compulsion humans have to alter their bodies.  Changing hair color, adding pigments to their skins in patterns and pictures, growing long tails or ears that mimic other species from their planet.  No other known species tampers with their bodies like this.
“Not to be undiplomatic, she says, "but the Gaunvans enslaved your people.  Why are you here?”
“We… reached a mutually beneficial agreement.  We would have lost in combat and been eliminated, so we chose to preserve what we could of our culture.  The Gaunvans are not naturally skilled at diplomacy, so they bring me along to assist and to show that peace can be made.”
She nods.  "Understood.  I can respect that choice.  How much freedom do you have, personally?“
Smart of her, to start planning for her future. "A fair amount.  I have free reign on the ship when we are in transit.  At the homeworld I have reasonably comfortable quarters.”
“Have you ever met the Empress, or…?”
“Oh, no.  No, while on the homeworld I am confined to my chambers - but they’re quite spacious.”
“Shame.  Okay, plan ‘A’ then.  Let’s get this over with.”

Despite my attempt at encouraging diplomacy, the Gaunvan commander starts with threats.  I don’t know why I bother.  He looms over the human, chitinous plates almost black in the dim light.  His pod of six is posted around the room, for show more than for actual security since she followed orders and came alone and unarmed.  "Failure to surrender will bring the full wrath of our army upon you.  Humanity will be crushed, and wiped from the universe.“
To her credit, she looks very calm.  "We live in a post-scarcity society.  Bloody conquest just seems silly, doesn’t it?”
“It is for the glory of Gaun!”
“Well, I’m not prepared to get into a religious debate with you,” she says, “since I doubt there’s anything I can do to change your mind.  Since you’re committed to this course of action, what are you willing to offer if we surrender?”
Now he goes back on script.  Maybe I am getting through to him a little?  He talks about the benefits of being enslaved, mainly the protections for up to twelve designated culturally historical sites.  They’ve been mostly good on their word on my homeworld, though they did use the area just outside of the Hahhn Memorial as a waste dump.

She nods as she listens.  There was a part of me that was worried she would argue, because the humans are somewhat childlike.  They don’t understand the horrors of war.  Certainly they fought in the past, but the last time they had to battle was more than two of their generations ago, so these ones have all grown up coddled and soft.  They play games with each other instead, silly competitions.  They make art, and play pretend, and alter their bodies for fun.  They don’t have weapons anymore, and wouldn’t know how to use them if they did.
“Well then,” ambassador Thorn says, “this is about what I expected.  On behalf of humanity, I would like to formally reject this offer.”
Oh no.  Foolish humans.  The galaxy will miss your innocence.  The commander makes an excited clicking noise, looking forward to combat.  He reaches a blade-tipped hand towards ambassador Thorn, but hesitates as every device in the room bleats out an alert - we’ve all lost communications with the outside.

Like one of the dances humans do, she gracefully pivots around while taking his hand.  She ends up close to him and places her other arm against his thorax, then… oh gods. Gods, what… she’s ripped his arm off.  It’s not possible.  The commander is clearly thinking the same thing, staring in mute shock at his dripping limb.
“I’d like to extend a counter-offer,” she says, and flips the arm around before jamming the bladed end into his neck.  The warriors around the room are fidgeting, uncertain.  They haven’t been told to attack, and don’t want to dishonor their commander by intervening in a fight with such a small creature.  She’s still holding the commander’s severed arm in his neck, but she rotates and heaves, lifting him off the ground with it for a moment… and then his head pops off, landing squarely on the conference table.  She allows the corpse to slide to the ground, and straightens her clothes as if they aren’t covered in ichor.

I don’t understand.

The warriors, now with no orders at all, finally act.  She smiles as they come for her, I suppose because she has done her duty to send this powerful message of resistance.  She can die in peace.  Or… no… She’s killing them.  She’s smiling because this is fun for her.  Though they’re partly killing themselves; if there had been two of them, prepared, strategic, they might have prevailed.  Watching six panicked fighters get in each other’s way while trying to stop a smaller, faster, and somehow impossibly stronger foe is almost hypnotic.  At least one is killed by the stab of a friendly lance due to pure confusion.  It’s over faster than I would have thought possible, severed limbs strewn across the room.  I’ve got some fluids splashed across my clothing.  Only one yet lives, and he is retreating.  She seems to be allowing it.

She follows behind, holding a lance.  The wounded and scared warrior scurries down the hallway towards his ship, looking back behind him as he goes.  She’s just… walking.  Calm.  And for some reason I’m following.  The last Gaunvan reaches the airlock and the second he enters his code she throws the lance - throws it! - and spears him.
“Come on, we’re stealing their ship.”  She says it like this is the most normal thing in the world.
“There are thousands more on board!  Thousands!  Almost all warrior caste!”
She smiles again, and keeps walking.  I see errors on the screens that we pass, messages indicating communications have been lost.  They can’t tell anyone what is happening here.  Even the communicators within the ship are on nodes rather than being wired, so the warriors at one end of the vessel won’t be able to coordinate with the other end.  Do they even know they’ve been boarded?
“How?”

We enter the bridge after she kills a handful of other guards with ease.  They’re too shocked by her presence to act in time.  Once the door are sealed and she is working on the control systems she starts talking to me again.
“Well, you know, we do like to be prepared.”
“But you… you ripped his arm off.”
“Yeah, that was super satisfying.”  She looks at me appraisingly.  "Oh, come on.  Is it really that surprising?  You knew we were into changing ourselves, right?  Being strong enough to pop an overgrown bug’s forelimb off isn’t rocket science.“
"Your people are so peaceful…”
“Oh, sure, most of them.  But we did that, too.  Tweaked ourselves over the years to decrease aggression and some of our tribalistic tendencies, increase empathy… all stuff that can be undone if needed.  Though for a good cause even the nicest of us can squish a bug or two.”
“You bond with Ry'ling devourers!”
“Those are the big fuzzy guys that look like cats, yeah?  Those guys are adorable!  But… look, liking some things that could kill us doesn’t mean we’ll sit back and get enslaved.  We didn’t put up with it well when we enslaved each other, and we certainly aren’t going to go for it now that we’re… finally… on the same page about slavery being unacceptable.  It was, uh, a longer time than we like to admit before the last hold-outs were convinced of that one.”

I can feel the ship un-dock.  We’re moving.  "What about all the warriors on board?  They’ll break through the doors eventually!“
"Not according to this control panel here.  Take a look.”
It says there’s no atmosphere in the rest of the ship.  Life signs are negative on all but two of the warriors, presumably the only ones that got to their suits in time.  She disabled all the safety measures, somehow.  She just killed… I check the life signs readout again to confirm the number… three thousand, six hundred, and fourteen soldiers.  Wait, how is it tracking that unless… “Are communications back up?”
“Yeah, I’m calling some friends.  The military is right around the corner, so to speak.”
“But Earth doesn’t have a standing military.”
She laughs.  Not just a little bit.  She’s actually doubled over for a moment, unable to catch her breath.  "Sweet Jeebus, you guys actually fell for that?  No standing military.  Have you read about us at all?“

Three ships appear seemingly out of nowhere, and one docks with the Gaunvan vessel.  Once the atmosphere is restored we head to the airlock to meet them, and I’m surprised by an entire platoon of Gaunvan warriors.  Speaking English.
"Okay boys, send your last goodbyes!  This is in all likelihood a one way mission.  Commander Thorn!  It is an honor to see you again, and might I say you look exquisite drenched in the blood of your enemies!”
She bows to him, blushing, and then salutes the Gaunvans.  Or… humans?  Can they change themselves this drastically?
“You’ve got two holed up in here somewhere.  Bridge is clear, have the techs bring the new brain on board.”
“New brain?”
She looks at me like she’s forgotten that I’m here, and then turns back to the others.  "Men, this is our new friend Ix Malasan who has just been liberated from his captivity.  He’s going to be helping with our intel.  Malasan, yeah, a new brain for the ship.  Once this vessel is cleaned up and back in service with a new crew we’ll be able to take it over whenever we want even if all of our boys get killed.  We cooked up a really sadistic AI for it.“
"But how do you know the protocols?  This was your first contact with the Gaunvans, they’ve never lost a ship anywhere near here!”
“No?  There wasn’t a mining colony disaster two years ago?”
“But that was just an accident… and you weren’t even involved in the war yet… and…”

The faux-Gaunvans have finished boarding.  The one that was talking to them before puts a bladed claw on ambassador - commander - Thorn’s shoulder.  "You coming with?“
"Naw.  Orders said I could only come if they allow ambassadors near extremely high value targets.  Malasan here says they don’t, so I need to wait for my next mission back on Earth.”
“It would have been nice having you with us, Thorn.  Well, maybe we’ll see each other again.  Suicide mission or not, I think I’ve decided to live through it.”
“Bold choice,” she says, and kisses him next to his lower mandibles.
He nods at me, then turns back to his men. “Okay everyone, we are now officially on the job.  And what is that job?”
In unison, they start chanting.

“FUCK! SHIT! UP!  FUCK! SHIT! UP!  FUCK! SHIT! UP!”

For a moment I nearly feel pity for the Gaunvans.  Nearly.  Commander Thorn leads me off of the ship, and I start thinking about what useful information I can provide the ‘harmless’ humans.  Fuck shit up, indeed.

The Summer Triangle over the Great Wall : Have you ever seen the Summer Triangle? The bright stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair form a large triangle on the sky that can be seen rising in the northern spring during the morning, and rising in the northern fall during the evening. During summer months, the triangle can be found nearly overhead near midnight as three of the brightest stars on the sky. Featured here, along with the arch of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, the Summer Triangle asterism was captured this spring over the Great Wall of China. This part of the Great Wall, a World Culture Heritage Site, was built during the 6th century on the Yan Mountains. At the summit is Wangjinglou Tower from which, on a clear night, the lights of Beijing are visible in the distance. via NASA

js

Literally hundreds of LGBT people on this site: mogai culture hurt me and prolonged the time it took for me to work out my identity because the microlabelling system reinforced my internalised homophobia/transphobia. whilst some people do find the system helpful it needs to be managed more effectively and we need to acknowledge that over analysing attraction is most often not healthy and can do a lot of damage

Pro mogai: um?? First of all, that wasn’t MY experience so none of this has ever happened to anyone ever. secondly, wow. thanks for calling my identity inherently homophobic you bigoted fucks

anonymous asked:

What's your stance on the drama surrounding Thomas sanders?

There’s drama surrounding Thomas Sanders? If there is that’s the first I’ve heard of it. One sec….

Okay apparently people are on him because he includes ace/aro people in the LGBTQIA+ community? And that’s a sin? Okay… I read his response on that and I thought it was amazing and even eye opening. “They’re not LGBT. They’re ‘A’” What’s wrong with making a little more room at the table for people with marginalized identities? It’s not like the queer community is an exclusive club. We’re all supposed to be there for each other. Even if you disagree on this…so?? Is that really a valid reason to hate a person?

And…he reblogged nsfw artwork he didn’t know was made by a minor and apologized for it. Cool. Good on him. He’s a human and everyone makes slip-ups. I swear I can’t stand the callout culture on this site. Stop treating mistakes by well-intentioned people like irredeemable character flaws. Stop it. If you’re a bitter person you can always find a reason to hate someone. But that reflects negatively on you, not them.

Thomas always tries his hardest to do the right thing and be as inclusive and understanding as possible. I hate how the internet tries so hard to completely demonize well-intentioned people over disagreements and/or honest slip-ups. He’s one of the kindest people I know and he does a heck of a better job than I do at being an all-around inclusive sweetheart who responds kindly to all kinds of hate and slander. I support him completely.

The Summer Triangle over the Great Wall : Have you ever seen the Summer Triangle? The bright stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair form a large triangle on the sky that can be seen rising in the northern spring during the morning, and rising in the northern fall during the evening. During summer months, the triangle can be found nearly overhead near midnight as three of the brightest stars on the sky. Featured here, along with the arch of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, the Summer Triangle asterism was captured this spring over the Great Wall of China. This part of the Great Wall, a World Culture Heritage Site, was built during the 6th century on the Yan Mountains. At the summit is Wangjinglou Tower from which, on a clear night, the lights of Beijing are visible in the distance. via NASA

js

An eagle flies through a rainbow as a storm clears one of the many small islands on Lake Vermilion. The fifth largest lake in Minnesota, Lake Vermilion contains over 75 small public land islands covered with birch, pine and spruce. Some of the islands have boat-in campsites, and many are only large enough for one site, ensuring that you can have an entire island to yourself!    The Bureau of Land Management works with the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe (also referred to as Chippewa) to protect traditional-use areas and cultural sites on the islands. The lake is popular for fishing and contains a diversity of species including largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike and perch. Photo by Bob Wick, (@mypubliclands) Bureau of Land Management.

“Who the hell are you?”

“Headquarters sent me to assist you.”

“Headquarters knows I work alone.”

“I’m not here as your operational partner, ma’am. I’m here as your legal advisor.”

“My legal advisor?“

“Ma’am, do you realise you unnecessarily violated over fifty local, state and international statutes in the course of your most recent operation?”

“They’ve seriously sent you to –“

“Among other things: kidnapping, grand larceny, aggravated assault –“

“Now hold on just a –”

“– public indecency, unlicensed operation of heavy machinery, desecration of a protected cultural heritage site –“

“Desecration of a what?“

“– contributing to the delinquency of a minor, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of the Endangered Species Act.“

“… that bird had it coming.”

“Mm.”

9

Persepolis - Iran

The ancient ruins are all that remains of Persepolis. Known in Persian as Parseh (پارسه) which literally meant “City of Persians”. The city was the ceremonial capital of the first Persian Empire (the Achaemenid Empire) which dated from 550-330 BCE. The oldest parts of the site date back to 515 BCE.

Persepolis was chosen by King Cyrus the Great (founder of the first Persian Empire & first King of Iran) as the capital of Persia, but it was during the rule of King Darius I (522-486 BCE) that the terraces & great palaces were built, they were mostly finished during the rein of King Darius’s son & King Cyrus’s great-great-grandson Xerxes I (486-465 BCE).

The city was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE upon his conquest of Persia. Some scholars & historians suggest it was an act of revenge for the burning of Athens during the second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BCE.

Persepolis today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Like, this isn’t just “internet discourse.” Its not even just a toxic bullying movement. Its widespread HATRED for an entire group. Y'all cling to your justifications that you think are entirely reasonable just like every other bigot in history has, but fact of the matter is you hate an entire group of people for existing, and you make it known, you hurt them.

How many people justified abusing me as a bisexual because “all bisexuals are cheaters, are sluts, are actually straight.” How many goddamn people thought that they were doing the RIGHT thing by condemning trans rights because trans people “are all predators trying to go in the wrong bathrooms, obviously,” and “are x gender trying to invade spaces that don’t belong to them.” And how many of those people thought they were entirely RIGHT and their behavior was excused because everyone they surrounded themselves with was/is doing it too?

How many of you are 100% convinced that every time you shit on aces its completely ok because “they’re all inherently homophobic, the whole community is bad, they’re all actually straight anyway,” and are encouraged because your peers do it too?

Let me spell it out. You. Are. Hating. An. Entire. Orientation. Because. Its. Popular. To. Do. And. You. Justify. It. With. The. Same. Slandering. Tactics. That. Get. Used. By. Every. Other. Oppressor.

You ABUSE and DISCRIMINATE and somehow it never crosses your small minds that maybe that’s never an ok thing to do? That people being born different than you is not a threat and they don’t deserve to be treated with mass bullying for existing?

The culture on this site (primarily made up of teenagers and young adults,) is nothing other than digital high school where the kids who have been educated about social justice have learned how to weaponize the popular sj language to continue the same bullying of vulnerable groups while pretending they’re still good people, because they made up an EXCUSE. You’re all still bullies and bigots though. None of your pathetic rhetoric will change that.

2

Traditional Catalan Ball de Diables (“Dance of the Devils”), performed in Berga, Catalonia, for the town’s festivities called La Patum.

La Patum is celebrated every year during Corpus Christi. It has its origins in pre-Christian celebrations of the Summer Solstice which were later given a new symolism by Catholicism. La Patum is documented since at least the year 1454.

It was declared one of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005.

America’s national parks include some of the most cherished natural landscapes and cultural sites in the world. Today is World Heritage Day and we’re recognizing a unique park with a global profile. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is one of the few places on Earth where visitors can safely get an upclose look at an active volcano. Witness powerful natural forces at work as Kīlauea and Mauna Loa (two of the world’s most active volcanoes) continue to add land to the island of Hawaiʻi. Photo by Janice Wei, National Park Service.

And hey I personally fucking hate how terfs have tried to mutate lesbian culture on this site. The other day I saw someone talking about how whenever they see a blog with the lesbian pride flag in the icon, they’re uneasy or hesitant to interact/follow because of this awful trend of trans exclusionary radfems pushing wlw pride as a front for hatred, a way to boast they’re a “real lesbian, unlike all those nasty str8 women who date trans women”. It’s such an awful tactic because whenever they repost something sapphic, something about loving women, something that should be so good and wholesome and proud, that you should never have to question whether the intentions of it are cruel, they’re doing it spitefully, they’re not saying “i love loving women” they’re saying “i only respect those who I deem to be REAL women” and they’re turning pride into a discreet statement of hate. Lesbian culture and spaces are for all lesbians, and the fact that someone showing “too much pride” is now cause for suspicion is disgusting! But make no mistake, this isn’t the fault of anyone but terfs. This isn’t lesbians and trans women being lesbophobic, I agree that it’s absolutely terrible for lesbians to see wlw pride and immediately feel suspicious, but it’s not their fault, it is the fault of the people who are trying to slip into these communities and spread their poison by putting up a front of love and pride.

Stop taking a community based on love and pride and affection and trying to turn it into your platform for hate. These wlw communities are not for you. You cannot say you love women and then turn around and dedicate your entire online presence to hating women.