So Paul Ryan won’t say Donald Trump’s name but will vote for him for president. And that’s a problem for a lot of Americans. They just don’t love the two choices.
Do you pick someone who is under federal investigation for using a private email server, or do you pick someone who called Mexicans rapists, claimed the president was born in Kenya, proposed banning an entire religion from entering the U.S., mocked a disabled reporter, said John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured, attacked the parents of a fallen soldier, bragged about committing sexual assault, was accused by 12 women of committing sexual assault, said some of those women weren’t attractive enough for him to sexually assault, said more countries should get nukes, said he would force the military to commit war crimes, said a judge was biased because his parents were Mexican, said women should be punished for having abortions, incited violence at his rallies, called global warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, called for his opponent to be jailed, declared bankruptcy six times, bragged about not paying income taxes, stiffed his contractors and employees, lost a billion dollars in one year, scammed customers at his fake university, bought a six-foot-tall painting of himself with money from his fake foundation, has a trial for fraud coming up in November, insulted an opponent’s looks, insulted an opponent’s wife’s looks, and bragged about grabbing women by the p***y?
“Wheatley.” Virgil rolled his optic as the familiar core came into view, looking suspiciously nervous as he edged into Virgil’s work space. He was already heading for his tools. “What did you break this time?”
“Um… don’t freak out.”
Virgil turned back around at that, noting with alarm that Wheatley didn’t just look nervous: he looked terrified. His iris had been reduced to a pinprick, and the little blue dot flickered anxiously between the floor and himself as he tried to avoid Virgil’s gaze.
“That’s not very reassuring.”
At that Wheatley’s shutters formed a smile that was half wince, then glanced behind him (at what Virgil couldn’t see) apologetically, shifting awkwardly as he did so.
“I didn’t personally break… it.”
Suddenly there came a sort of shuffling sound from behind the little core as a shaky figure joined him in the threshold.
And that was when Virgil lost it.
“A human! A test subject!” Virgil cried, reeling backwards as the disheveled lady came closer. The core then froze, looking up at Wheatley with horror and accusation as the pieces clicked into place. “Is that- is that the test subject that She’s looking for?”
Wheatley’s voice hitched up an octave as he slinked backwards on his rail, iris shrinking yet again as he gave a nervous laugh.
“It’s um… it’s definitely a possibility.”
Virgil’s optic spun in a frenzied arc, and he swore he was about to fry a circuit board.
“And you brought her here?” He asked, incredulous. “Are you trying to get us all killed?”
Wheatley blanched, insulted.
“No!” He snapped, “Virgil look at her! She’s hurt!”
Virgil hadn’t paid the woman much attention, but now that he took a good look at her she was obviously in pain: wincing as she leaned against the wall and clutched at her side, where a patch of bright red was blossoming on her previously white shirt.
Virgil winced, something in his circuitry sinking with guilt.
The woman gave a huff that sounded a bit like an annoyed laugh. Virgil looked away.
“You want me to help her.”
Wheatley’s optic rolled in a sarcastic arc, his expression softening as he looked down at the human concertedly.
“That would be nice.”
Virgil shook his core, though his expression was one of guilt.
“I’m not a doctor, Wheatley. I have no idea how to fix a broken human.” Below, the lady looked insulted. No one noticed. “Also, I don’t have hands. So even if I did know how to help her, I probably wouldn’t be able to.” Virgil gave the other core a pointed look as he tried to avoid looking at the lady in front of them. “You need to get her to the infirmary. Quickly.”
“It’s too far.” Wheatley whined, his iris shrinking. “You’re her only hope. Please.” The newer core’s shudders drooped in a desperate frown, and he shot him a meaningful look. “I have to get her out of here.”
Virgil knew what that look was about.
His mind’s eye pictured their roles reversed: Mel with a hole in her side, him begging for help.
That hit close to home.
It didn’t help that the test subject in front of him looked so much like Mel: clad in the standard jumpsuit, her hair in familiar ponytail, holding newer versions of the same tech.
He sighed, expression bleak as he turned towards his tools.
“We’ll all going to die.” He whined.
Behind him, test subject and core exchanged a mildly alarmed look, but they didn’t have time for much more.
“Can you hop up on the table?”
Chell did so (with effort), sitting the portal gun down, mouth quirking into a frown at the pain and uncomfortably greasy texture of the surface she was now sitting on.
Virgil gave an embarrassed little laugh as he avoided the human’s gaze.
“Sorry if it’s a little… filthy in here.” Though that was an understatement: practically every surface in the room was covered in machine parts or oil. “I don’t usually work with humans.”
Chell gave another annoyed huff of laughter.
‘That’s not very reassuring.’
“Mind if I take a look?” Virgil asked. Chell nodded, wincing as the hem of her shirt was peeled back to reveal the damage beneath. Virgil clucked sympathetically. “Turret got you, huh? I hate those things.”
“Me too.” Wheatley chimed. He was maintaining a bit of a distance, not so great with blood and the like, but he was close enough to keep an eye on his lady.
Virgil nodded solemnly as he activated his flashlight feature to take a closer look.
“Believe it or not, most cores do, despite the fact that they, thankfully, don’t shoot at us.” His expression softened at the look of near disbelief on Chell’s face. “I happen to like test subjects.”
Virgil offered of a soft smile, his flashlight turning off with a quiet ‘click.’
“Alright. The good news is, there’s an exit wound. Which means we don’t have to dig a bullet out of you. Yea!” He cheered weakly, though no one seemed to share in his enthusiasm. He cleared his nonexistent threat, optic flitting around the room as his voice turned smaller. “The bad news is… you’re bleeding everywhere.”
‘You don’t say?’
Virgil blinked down at Chell apologetically.
“We’ve got to find some way to close up that hole so you don’t bleed out.”
“You can do that, can’t you?” Wheatley asked.
“Well… can and should are different things.” Virgil frowned. “She’s not made of metal. Welding her back together would probably do more harm than good.” Chell turned pale from more than blood loss as her jaw set in a grim expression. Virgil didn’t see the look on her face, but gestured down at her vaguely before making his way to the other side of the room. “We’re not doing that, by the way.”
Chell gave a quiet sigh of relief (knowing her luck these well meaning cores would kill her long before the AI who was actually trying to murder her could) as the core rummaged around one of the workbenches that lined the walls, grumbling to himself as he did so.
“Hmmm… Aha!” Virgil zipped back into Chell’s line of sight, his expression triumphant and a tad nervous. “I might know of something that’ll do the trick… but it’ll probably hurt.”
Chell fought the urge to give a weak smirk.
‘Worse than this?’
The core returned holding a clear container, and though Chell couldn’t make out what it was filled with, she swore it was moving.
“They’re nanobots.” Virgil explained. “Tiny little robots designed to do repairs too complicated for normal tools. And lucky for us, I’m ninety-nine percent sure Aperture brand nanobots can be used on humans, too.”
Chell braced herself as the core unscrewed the lid of the container.
Chell nodded, then grimaced as the miniscule bots began their work, the sensation not exactly painful but extremely unpleasant. Virgil hovered over her, watching nervously, and after a moment Wheatley joined him.
“Hang in there, love.”
“Sorry if it hurts.” Virgil winced. “Just try to hold still. That should help.”
“See,” Wheatley smiled, “I told you Virgil was trustworthy. He had a test subject, too.”
“Uh… I guess you could say that.” Virgil blinked. “There was a lady I helped escape a few years back… You actually remind me a bit of her.” Virgil’s cadence softened as he looked down at Chell, though his smile faltered at her dazed expression. He quickly realized why. “What? Oh, yes, she did make it out.” He gave a little laugh then, rolling his optic good naturedly as he shook his core. “Assuming she could open the door at the top of the shaft.”
Chell and Wheatley looked up at him, oblivious.
“You got your test subject out?”
“…Yes?” Virgil blinked up at Wheatley, confused. “I thought you knew that.”
“I just heard that she–” He stopped then, noticing that Virgil’s expression was very nearly insulted. “I don’t understand.” He said. “If you got your test subject out, why are you still here?”
There was a beat of silence during which Virgil looked away from Wheatley and somehow ended up looking down at Chell. Her eyes were knowing as they met his gaze, her expression pained from much more than her injuries. Virgil’s matched, and yet the exchange hardly lasted a moment before the test subject put on a stoic expression and sat up.
“You’re all fixed up? Already?” Virgil asked. Chell nodded. “Wow that was fast.”
He frowned as she felt around the previously damaged area, constantly checking her hand.
“What’s the matter?” He asked.
“I think she wants to know where they are.” Wheatley said.
“Oh, the nanobots? They don’t come out.”
The panicked, angry look Chell gave him could have burned a hole in his hard drive.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, calm down lady! There’s no need to panic!” Virgil said. “This is a good thing! You’re now the only human on earth with an internal repairs system. Or at least an efficient one.”
Chell’s eyes glinted dangerously as she pointed up at the ceiling.
“What? Her?” Virgil asked. “She can’t control them, if that’s what you’re worried about.” The core’s expression then turned insulted, but Chell could hardly care less. “Did you really think I would put them inside of you if She did?”
Chell ignored him, turning to Wheatley for some form of affirmation.
“So… everything is fine.” He nodded. “You’re all fixed up, and now, if you do get hurt again- which I really, really hope you don’t- you’ll have a repairs system. Which means we won’t have to stop to find help. We can just keep going.” He offered an apologetic smile as Chell frowned up at him. “I know you don’t like it, but this should make getting out of here a lot faster. And safer.” He added. “So…?”
Chell sighed silently as she slipped down from the table, the portal gun a familiar weight in her grasp once again. Wheatley bade Virgil a quiet thank you before heading out the door, and with one last look at the core, Chell made to follow.
Chell paused, surprised, as Virgil came closer.
“Um…” He looked nervous, his core facing her while his optic darted around the room. “I just wanted to say… good luck.” He managed to look at her then, something warm in his expression. “I wasn’t joking when I said you reminded me of my friend. The resemblance is actually kind of freaky.” Virgil shook his core, optic rolling in a happy arc as Chell began to smile. “But, my point is, if you’re half as strong and stubborn as she is,” Virgil smiled down at her fondly. “You’ll be out of here in no time.”
The smile could hardly fit on Chell’s face then, and before she knew it she reached up to pat the little core. Virgil laughed.
“Just be sure to keep an eye on Wheatley, alright? That guy’s a mess.” Chell snickered silently, and Virgil nuzzled her hand despite himself. “And… when you get to the surface…” His smile turned to something more wistful as his voice went quiet. “If you happen to bump into a lady with curly red hair, who’s really good at running, and really bad at opening doors… say hello to her, will you?” Chell nodded, and she swore she’d never seen someone look so happy and sad simultaneously.
“From both of us.”
AN: Happy ten year anniversary to my favorite fandom!
The Style Line is extremely happy to present the much anticipated interview with Cally Rieman founder and creative chief of emerging brand KAL RIEMAN. Now I know what you may be thinking, why debut a F/W 2012 collection in the dead of summer? I like to think of it as taking a vacation via the internet and going to a place where luscious leathers and cuddly autumnal tones are welcomed alike. But to give you the best of both worlds, along with debuting some of Cally’s F/W 2012 pieces, Cally discusses her S/S 2012 collection, along with her endeavors, hopes and dreams.
Tell us a bit about your artistic endeavors.
Running a business is one, big artistic endeavor. Besides the design process, it take much creative effort to build a brand, execute photo shoots, present the brand to buyers and customers, create a website, and take care of all the business matters associated with it.
All of my energy goes into this process. It is a bit overwhelming at times, but nonetheless exciting.
How did your experiences contribute to the birth of KAL RIEMAN?
By chance, I wound up working in men’s wear for the first 5 years of my career in fashion. It taught me a great deal about tailoring and wardrobe building, because those are the foundations of men’s wear. I realized that those principals could apply to a women’s collection and make it more sound, viable, and long-lasting.
How would you describe KAL RIEMAN as a brand?
KAL RIEMAN, Inc. creates ready-to-wear, women’s clothing, designed and tailored for successful, cultured women. The collection of styles is sold in high-end retail establishments and directly to private clients, focusing on women ages 30 to 50 who are seeking unique and original wardrobe essentials grounded in classics.
The company distinguishes itself from competitors with foundational, tailored, suit separates and designs that are at once timeless and fashion forward. KAL RIEMAN is committed to creating beautiful, structured garments that will be staples of our clients’ wardrobes for many years.
Tell us a bit about your design process.
It starts with a feeling or a gesture–an attitude, if you will. That is often provoked from an image found in art, music, an old photograph.
For Spring 2012, that image was a photograph of Jean-Michel Basquait by Nicholas Taylor
From there we begin to look at fabrics with this idea in mind and start building a board of fabrics for the collection. Simultaneously, we research the color palette and typically go through at least 30 colors before we decide what works. Our inspiration board changes on a daily basis, but is always in front of us. We put things on the board and within a week, we know if they “work” or not. It is a really fun and exciting evolution of a feeling.
What do you consider the brand’s great accomplishment thus far?
KR’s greatest accomplishment so far has been are connection with our clients. It is a very personal relationship and we have developed very strong relationships with our stores and our private customers. By holding trunk shows, I have had the opportunity to get to know these women, find out about their lives, hear what they like or “need” or what they are looking for, and to watch them react to the collection. It is amazing to watch each one of them adapt the collection to their own style; to select the pieces that fit their personality and lifestyle. It has been a great lesson and a heart-warming experience.
Would you say your personal style influences KAL RIEMAN?
Absolutely. The Tomgirl that I am runs through this collection at all times. That and my Libra self. A continued effort to find the balance between masculine and feminine, between structured and unstructured, between art and wearability.
Who is the KAL RIEMAN woman?
The Kal Rieman woman is confident, assertive, and direct. She is cool without being cold, forthright without being in your face, and smart without being a know it all. She knows how to enter a room and her effortless grace is noticed by all.