overturner of the earth

8 years ago

There was a time, once, when dreams among the stars felt within his grasp. A universe felt conquerable, malleable, ready for change and the death of the status quo, upheld by an unfeeling aristocracy. A bastard boy could rise through the Interstellar Navy to rattle the stars and make a name for himself.

There was a time, once, when the idea of robbing the rich to give to the poor sent the thrill of life up his spine. He and his crew were fighting for change their lot in life and overturn an unspoken caste system, reaching beyond a destiny in the sullied earth of mining planets and farmworlds.

There was a time when warm whiskey invigorated him, when the touch of a lover made him alive, when food and vittles gave him sustenance and strength.

Those days were as dead as his many past lives.

Early morning, before the sun rose, in Kheligus, lecherous pirate utopia and capital of debauchery and sin, was unusually quiet for a place that seemed to bustle and move all hours of the day. Waves lapped at the shore, the planet’s moons visible on the horizon. From the balcony of his room, Ed could see the tin-roof houses and thatched huts, solar torches lighting the roads that looked like a drunkard had paved them. The wooden balustrade creaked as he propped his arm up upon it, free hand clasping the handle of a jug of Kanderian rum. Three bodies slept in the bed behind him.

The night, like several nights now after an especially successful raid, had been filled with what Kheligus was famous for—booze, love, and gambling—but early on, Ed had felt a familiar emptiness creep in after his company had fallen asleep, leading to a restless, brief sleep. Now, outside the fluttering drapes, Kheligus seemed quiet with only the faint din of clinging parties somewhere in the distance, and Ed took the time to listen.

Something scurried to his left. The old man might have normally made a grab for his pistol just inside, but at this point, he swept his eyes to left and grunted, “Aye?” Someone with leg, spider-like legs and blue pincers, teeth jutting out of her mouth, clambered down the side of the building to stand next to Ed.

“What ye find?” Ed asked with an uninterested rumble, knocking back a swig of his rum.

“… This.” She rasped, her voice like a whisper. She held up a letter, sealed with an emblem that made Ed’s heart skip a beat. He plucked it from her slowly, eyes incredulous and with something hard to pinpoint. “Thought the house were empty… it weren’t… to my misfortune…” She rubbed her head idly.

He opened the letter, reading it slowly as he moved behind the drapes, returning with a bag of coins to toss at the scorpion woman, who nodded and slunk back up the side of the house—not about to involve herself further.

When Ed finished reading the little piece of parchment, he felt something pulled out from under him, leading him to the only chair in the room to fall back into. The rum jug was set down softly. Everything was quiet, just as before, and the only sound were his lovers sleeping softly in the bed (save for one who had a funny, hitching snore). But he watched them strangely, as if he didn’t know them. As he didn’t know anything in the room, as if everything had taken on strange shapes. His hand came to his forehead.

He needed to leave.

Long since practiced in the art of quiet movement, Ed gathered his things, his pistol, his blade, his hat and coat, his share of treasure that remained in his sack, and slipped out the window to the shore, somehow never seen by a soul (or perhaps he had, but that soul was far too drunk to remember it). The boats hovered effortlessly, rocking gently in the soft Etherium wind, waiting for their passengers to disembark and take to the high waves again, eager for more riches. He found one skiff lazily moored, tied shoddily, and gave it a shove away from the pier. Up into it he crawled, tugging the solar sail and taking off with abandon into the indigo clouds glittering bright with stars.

Behind him fell away the port of Kheligus, the pirate haven, where he’d first become Black Eddy; behind him fell away his ship and crew that had served him loyally in theft, treachery, and robbery; and behind him fell away a life of twenty years.

And ahead lay the great Etherium: empty and waiting with home, somewhere far away.

There was a certain woman
who discovered a field of wildflowers
and there spent many pleasant afternoons

But one day when she arrived
the farmer had been busy with his plow
and the ground was all overturned

The woman scooped the last daffodil from the earth
planted it in a box on her windowsill
and never went back

I tell you the truth:
in such a way she found
the kingdom of heaven

2

Dear anon,

I LOVE HALSEY AND THIS SONG IS BEYOND AMAZING! I seriously hope you like it, theres no smut but hopefully it isn’t a disappointment. I’m sorry I took so long to post something, I didn’t know how this one would end, but anyways enjoy!

xxx

Caged Hummingbirds

His eyes are dark. Threaded, coded with an emotion that tightens your throat and dries your lips. Willow green eyes watch you wet them.  
His face is hard, rigid like the line of his back, spine steeled and shoulders squared.
You’ve been driving along the desert edge for hours, watching the sun fade and the place you once called home become a speck of dust in the review mirror. With a pang of regret, you silently understand why you can’t go back.
There’s a building that emerges from the horizon, growing with every breath. The construct rises like an appendage, red brown sand coating like skin. It reaches out with the miles, and the car pulls into its grasp, curling around its closed fists.
The motel is dirty, caked with desert dust and heat haze. It glows with neon signs and setting sun, the light clings to the corners of marred surface, seeping into the cracks of skin to make it seem like it radiated from the inside out.
You follow his long legs, watching the muscles of his broad back shift beneath stained cotton. The sun glides over his flesh, tracing the fine lines of his face and illuminating the grey in his green eyes. He looks white, bathed in the glow of the setting sun, he’s an angel, incandescent with wings of sun rays. He isn’t like the motel, his glow isn’t an illusion. It clings to his cracked skin like prayers from your lips. Salvation is what you asked for, and they sent him, neon light eyes and blood caked fingertips. You still can’t tell who answered you, God or the Devil. 

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@thiefkingreincarnate

Godling had mentioned a park, so that was where to start.  The little shadow had sprinted off, guided by his Mood Ring, which augmented his sensory powers.  Still, he had to pause a few times and flicker his tongue into the air, getting a taste of the auras nearby.  He was looking for Ryou, which helped, but one he was unfamiliar with.

Finally, here this must’ve been it!  In a shadowy part of the trees, a noticeable mound of overturned earth, and underneath… well, it felt like Ryou. Probably?

“Ryou? Ryou!” he called out, immediately dropping to his knees and digging into the ground with his bare hands.  Dirt was flying everywhere and getting all over his school uniform but he didn’t care, it would reform later anyway.

What goes down, must come up: Stirring things up in the Earth’s mantle


University of Leicester researcher leads study into convection patterns of Earth’s mantle


“This new research overturns our understanding of how the inside of the Earth convects and stirs, and how it is divided up, and for the first time explains observations that were first noted in the late 1980s” - Dr Tiffany Barry, University of Leicester, Department of Geology

New insights into the convection patterns of the Earth’s mantle and its chemical makeup have been revealed by a researcher from the University of Leicester.

The new findings suggest that the mantle does not flow ubiquitously, as has been previously thought - and that it is instead divided into two very large domains that convect only within themselves, with little evidence of them mixing together.

The research, led by Dr Tiffany Barry from the University of Leicester, Department of Geology and published in the journal Scientific Reports, Nature, suggests that one of these domains is found under the Pacific Ocean while the other exists outside of it.

The research suggests that upper mantle material flows to lower parts of the mantle when it reaches a subduction zone, where one tectonic plate descends beneath another one.

This descending slab of material acts as a sort of curtain, preventing upper mantle material mixing all the way around the globe and keeping the two domains separate.

Dr Barry explained: “One of the ways our planet is unique is in the amazing way it has mobile plates at the surface that move and jostle about over time.

This movement of the plates results in the process we call plate tectonics, and no other planet we know shows evidence of this process.

Why or how plate tectonics started on this planet is not understood, but it has been utterly essential in the production of the crust and oceans that we recognise as Earth today.

What is also not well constrained is what effect plate tectonics has on the internal workings of the Earth.

"We have found that when mantle material reaches the bottom of the mantle, at the outer core, it does not spread out and go anywhere around the core, but instead returns to the same hemisphere of the globe from where it came.

We have modelled this dominantly up-down motion of convection and found that it can persist for 100’s millions of years.

"On the basis of past plate motions and geochemical evidence, we speculate that this process of mantle convection could have been a dominant process since at least 550 million years ago, and potentially since the start of plate tectonics.”

The researchers combined spherical numerical computer models (3D finite element modelling) with the best available reconstructions of how Earth’s plates have moved over the past 200 million years to track mathematical particles placed at different depths of the modelled mantle.

With these models they examined where the mantle freely moves to during the history of plates moving around at the surface. Having tracked where particles flow in the models, the team then examined chemical isotope evidence from past ocean basins, which are a good analogy for the composition of the upper mantle in the past.

With this data they were able to test whether former ocean basins, that are no longer present, had the same or different composition to subsequent basins that formed geographically in the same region of the globe.

Dr Barry added: “I’m incredibly excited by this work; it has been a research question I’ve been pondering for nearly two decades.

It feels like a real privilege to have been able to piece together a robust and convincing model that can explain the feature of the chemical differences in ocean floor crust.

"This new research overturns our understanding of how the inside of the earth convects and stirs, and how it is divided up, and for the first time explains observations that were first noted in the late 1980s.”

More Than Roses

Also on ff and ao3


Emma brings the lilies on a Tuesday.

“Hey,” she says, like she always does, like she always did.  

She lays them down across the overturned earth.  The grit lodges up underneath her fingernails, smears across the palm of her hand, over her wrist.  She leans forward, tracing the letters of his name.

“I know…” she starts.  

But she can’t finish, can’t hardly speak, teeth chattering, jaw clenching against the sob that rises in her chest.  She stands on warbling legs, her boots sinking into the ground.  It’s been raining something fierce as of late and it’s just - 

“Bloody hell, I hate the rain,” he says, pulling his collar up against the wind, hunching down in front of her as they walk.

She laughs.  “Uh, excuse me, I am not your rain shield.”

- it’s just too familiar.

Keep reading

6

Overview of Tank Mobility

Tank mobility can be broken down into three types, tactical mobility, operational mobility and strategic mobility. Tactical mobility is a tanks ability to move about a battlefield. Operational mobility is a tanks ability to move about the Area of Operation. Strategic mobility is the tanks ability to be moved to the AO. Mobility traditionally forms one of the three corners of the tank capability triangle, with the other two corners being armour and firepower. The mobility of tanks is one of the features that has made them so important on the modern battlefield.

Tactical Mobility

Tactical mobility can be broken down into two major categories, agility and obstacle clearance. Agility encompasses a tanks acceleration, deceleration, turning and top speed. Obstacle clearance includes a tanks ability to cross trenches, walls and move over rough terrain. This mobility is provided by a tanks engine and its tracks.

Engine

Tanks are universally powered by internal combustion engines. Almost all tanks from the first combat tank, the Mk. I, through the modern Leopard 2, use diesel piston engines, with most using inline engines. Some tanks have employed radial engines due to their improved power-to-weight ratios and greater reliability. Radials were included on many WWII era American tanks including the M3 Stuart and some models of the M4 Sherman and M3 Lee.

Some modern tanks employ high power turboshaft engines. The M1 Abrams mounts the Honeywell AGT 1500, a multi-fuel turbine engine that produces 1,500 hp. The only other tank to be powered solely by a turbine engine are certain models of the Russian T-80, though some models have been modified to mount a diesel engine to improve fuel consumption rates. Some tanks including the Swedish Stridsvagen have both a piston and a turbine engine, alternating between the two based on the situation at hand.

Tracks

Tanks use continuous or “caterpillar” tracks for propulsion. Continuous tracks allow for improved performance on rough terrain by virtue of their lower ground pressure and higher overall traction. Tracks are made up of a chain of interlocking metal pieces which orbit around the track assembly. Track assemblies are made up of a series of wheels which keep the track running smoothly.

  1. Drive Wheel (rear wheel drive)
    Connects to engine and moves the track.
  2. Track
    Moves across the wheels in a continuous motion.
  3. Rollers
    Keep the track aligned with the drive wheel. Some arrangements forego these entirely, instead allowing the track to droop onto the road wheels. This is known as a slack track arrangement.
  4. Drive Wheel (front wheel drive)
    See #1.
  5. Road Wheels
    These wheels transfer the load to the ground. Road wheels are generally attached to some form of suspension which allows a smoother ride. 
  6. Idler
    This small wheel is used to tension the track to marginalize the chance of the track becoming detatched from the assembly.

Many military tracks use metal links with a rubber shoe, this allows for good traction while preventing damage to both the ground that the tank passes over, and the metal links themselves. The shoes are easily replaceable. Pictured below are two new pads and two old worn pads on an M1A2 tank. 

Operational Mobility

Operational mobility encompasses a tanks ability to cross larger obstacles such as rivers and minefields during movement around the AO. Engineers have invented a variety of ways of dealing with each of these obstacles. 

Rivers

The two main ways that tanks cross rivers without pre-exsisting crossings is by fording or with bridge layers. 

Fording

Fording a river means simply wading across it. The main consideration when fording, is ensuring that the tank does not go so deep as to cut off oxygen to the crew and engines. This problem of keeping engines supplied with oxygen is familiar to submariners and a familiar solution has been employed. While many tanks can only ford rivers that are less than about 1 metre deep in their stock configuration, some tanks, including the Leopard 2, can be fitted with a vehicle snorkel to allow for the crossing of rivers deeper than the vehicle is tall. This technology was pioneered during WWII by both the Axis and the Allies for different reasons. The technology was developed by the allies to optimize tanks for beachhead invasions by allowing them to be offloaded from landing vehicles far from shore, then swim up to the beach. Pictured below are two Sherman tanks fitted with snorkels over their intake and exhaust.

The Nazis developed a similar technology out of necessity. Early in its development, the Tiger tank was found to be simply too heavy to cross most bridges in Europe and so it was almost always forced to ford when a river was encountered. The problem was that, despite the Tigers height, many rivers were simply too deep to allow for effective fording. The solution was to attach a tall tube to the turret and and seal all openings with rubber gaskets. This allowed oxygen into the compartment and prevented water from seeping in.

Many modern snorkels are wide enough to double as escape hatches in the case of a mechanical failure while the tank is submerged.

Bridge Layers

The need for armoured bridge layers became apparent during WWII when blitzkrieg forces needed to move rapidly across terrain including rivers without leaving behind other mechanized units and without concentrating forces on a few available bridges. Modern bridge layers build on this doctrine by allowing efficient operational force deployment in areas with little to no infrastructure. One such vehicle, the American M104 Wolverine, can deploy a 26 metre bridge that can support up to 70 tons in as little as 5 minutes.

Minefields

Minefields, in general, pose less of a threat to modern military vehicles than they once did, however, minefields can still immobilize even the most heavily armoured vehicles and they can still pose a lethal threat to personnel and light equipment. There are two main ways of clearing minefields employed in the modern military, mechanical and explosive.

Mechanical

There are two primary mechanical mine clearing methods, the flail or roller, and the plow. The roller, invented during WWI acts by placing pressure across a large area in an attempt to detonate any mine it passes over. These rollers are largely invulnerable to the explosions and are placed far enough from the vehicle that carries them to keep the vehicle from being damaged. The main disadvantage of a roller is that, on uneven terrain, it may only put pressure on part of the ground, leaving some mines untouched. The solution to this problem was the flail, developed during WWII and still in use today. The mine flail consists of a large rotating drum to which lengths of chain are attached. When the drum is spun the chains whip around impacting the ground evenly and causing mines to detonate.

This method can be very effective, but in order to effectivley clear the area, the flail must move slowly. The mine plow is simply a heavy plow that overturns the earth and pushes mines to the side. This method can clear a path but may leave many mines undetonated.

Explosive

In a combat situation, when mines must be cleared quickly while under fire, the Mine Clearing Line Charge (MCLC) or “Mick-Lick” is often deployed. The MCLC consists of a series of explosives attached to a chord which is, in turn, attached to a rocket. When fired, the rocket travels across the minefield laying the explosives along a path. When the explosives are detonated, any mines along the path are also detonated. This method is fast and effective and has been used since WWII.

Strategic Mobility

Strategic mobility essentially boils down to transporting the tank. On a strategic scale, tanks cannot generally transport themselves. The tread system and low fuel efficiency of their engines mean that long distance travel under their own power is difficult and expensive. Instead, on long journeys, there are a variety of vehicle that allow tanks to be transported by air, land or sea.

Air

While not the most efficient way to travel, tanks can be carried by air. As an example, the American C-5 Galaxy can carry two M1 Tanks while the CH-54 can carry a tank under slung.

The main advantage to this type of transport is its speed and versatility. Helicopters especially can deliver tanks to places where they would not normally be able to go. The biggest disadvantage is the cost. Moving 100 tanks by air is an extremely fuel consumptive operation, and moving hundreds across the Atlantic would be a logistical nightmare.

Sea

Most large scale, long range tank transport is conducted by sea and most sea transport is conducted by Large, Medium Speed Roll-On/Roll-Off ships. These ships allow tanks to be easily loaded and transported on long ocean journeys.

Another key mode of strategic mobility, in use by countries such as Japan, the US and Russia, is the Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC) known colloquially as the hovercraft. These incredible machines allow insertion of tanks, infantry and other fighting vehicles onto about 70% of the worlds beaches, including those that cannot accommodate traditional amphibious landing craft, such as swamps, marshes and soft sand beaches. Their high speed and ability to transport fighting equipment across beaches and not just to them makes these craft essential peaces of equipment for any amphibious invasion force.

Land

While tanks are able to propel themselves over land, most forces prefer to use special tank movers when covering any long distance. An excellent example of this type of vehicle is the Oshkosh M1070 Heavy Equipment Transporter. In production since 1992, this transport can carry up to 80,000 kg and is the main transport used to carry the ground vehicles of the US armed forces. There are 3 and 4 axle versions.

Trucks work well for small numbers of vehicles or in areas with little to no infrastructure. However, in many places, including inside the US, tanks are transported via train. Pictured below is a a train laden with M1A2 Abrams Tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles travelling through downtown Los Angeles last summer. Also pictured is me with my favorite hat and my friends dog that got tired.

Cherik fic for almondmocha, who requested Erik getting invited to school events like spelling bees and science fairs… So, here, have some reconciliation fic, with implied sex!

##

“A spelling bee,” Erik says flatly. “You invited me to a school spelling bee.”

“I’m so pleased you chose to accept.” Tired, so very tired, hopeful by force: Erik hasn’t accepted, has merely shown up in his office and scowled. Charles scrubs a hand across his face, wonders how Erik got past the mansion’s upgraded security, wonders too many things that drag his heart downward. “It’s tomorrow, so you’ll have plenty of time to learn to spell.”

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pinkabrinka  asked:

It's Health and Wellness month in our office. Are there any recommended evil exercise regimens so as to stay fleet and flexible in pursuit of greater villainy?

The idea of working minions to death and, in general, not caring for their being is archaic. It is the leading downfall of villains. Replacements must be recruited and trained, uniforms created, etc.

Basic care and attention will keep your workforce strong, healthy, active, and best of all, contributing at increasingly higher levels to your bottom line (be this financial or destructive).

FOR THE LIVING

  • Stretch
  • Hydrate
  • Take a cat nap while your station is being covered
  • Stretch again
  • A walk around the lair, or outside in the haunted woods. Bring a light snack. Hydrate responsibly.

FOR THE DEAD

  • Quiet resting time. This isn’t terribly different than normal activities, but it’s best to acknowledge their presence. Everyone should feel special from time to time.

FOR THE UNDEAD

  • For the non-corporeal, bask in the moonlight. Use moonlight in a jar as necessary.
  • For the corporeal, stretch and flex.
  • Overturn a few graves so the fresh smells of earth and rot are more prevalent.
  • Opals and amethysts are often enjoyed by various forms of undead. Have a few jars of powered stones handy.

FOR THE UNKNOWN

  • Turn off all the lights and contemplate the dark unreality of nonexistence. Compare this with the unknowable reality of infinite existence.

FOR ALL:

  • Music
  • Halloween cartoons
  • Share stories
  • (We do these three things at every Evil Supply Co. meet up, it works fantastically)
Undercover 13:  Surface Tension

Dusk is bruising away the last of the pale winter sky when she pulls into the mostly deserted parking lot at Holy Cross.  The white walls of the sanctuary refuse to melt into the gathering darkness just yet, still glowing in that unearthly way churches always seem to.  She stares up at it through the windshield, straining her tired eyes.  She’s unable to discern whether the friezes carved into the facade of the chapel are flowers or the faces of saints.  

Wilted garlands of pine still festoon the large wooden door.  The eight-pointed avant-garde starbursts ornamenting the turquoise domes of the cathedral make for a garishly distorted mirror of the night sky winking into being overhead; the subdued and subliminal beauty of the natural universe refracted through a lens of Catholic pomp and circumstance.  

A dry east wind tosses her hair as she climbs out of her car and tucks the bundle of roses and babies’ breath under her arm.  She walks straight past the church and through a wrought-iron gate that’s propped open.  

Acres of rolling hills unfold before her, a muted blue pastoral in the fading light.  The park-like expanse is dotted with trees and meandering paths, and rows upon rows of obelisks, gravestones, and celestial beings cast in stone, frozen in wordless benediction.  A few taller mausoleums rise in the near distance.

The echo of her footsteps is swallowed by the quiet reverence of this place. Votive candles sputter in glass jars here and there, the small flames casting deeper shadows on the names and faces of the dead.  

She knows where she’s going, and allows her body to take her there unthinking.

xxxxx

The interment was just yesterday.  Only Maggie had accompanied her.  Bill and Tara had opted to stay home with their new son.  Part of her was relieved that they hadn’t come.  They should be celebrating the new life they’d created together, not helping her bury a small, dead stranger.  

Her older brother and his wife looked at her now with an annoyingly potent combination of pity, incredulity, and guilt.  When they took turns carefully passing football-sized Matthew back and forth between them, cooing over him and marveling at how his tiny fists curled so tightly around their fingers, she could feel them stealing glances at her.  Like they were sharing a bottle of expensive champagne in front of a recently rehabbed alcoholic.  She hated herself for hating them for it.  

In the background, Mulder had hovered and shuffled and rechecked that his luggage was properly zipped a few dozen times.  She knew he wanted to go with her to the cemetery.  She also knew he wouldn’t go unless she asked him.

She’d hurt him when she’d told him she’d wanted to be alone at the hospital. He’d retreated, reluctantly, when he’d sensed that she needed to mourn more than just the little girl that lay dying in her hospital bed.  Only Mulder could fathom the depth of her loss without being able to properly understand it, lamenting the daughter she’d never know, and the children she’d never have.

Predictably, he’d respected her wishes even if he didn’t agree with her conclusions.  Scully knew she couldn’t manage both her grief and his.  God, how she loved his heart, his too-big, too-full heart, always threatening to spill over because he felt too much.  Mulder absorbed anguish the way dry wood drank in a stain.  The fundamental structure didn’t change. It just gradually darkened over time the more it allowed itself to take in, so that the natural beauty and character of the grain became that much more vibrant, but only when light chanced upon its surface.

So she’d said nothing and denied them both the intimacy of meeting his gaze as they walked out to the car.  She’d breathed in his silent disappointment from the backseat like a poultice, grateful for his steadfast, steady willingness to simply exist with her in the same space and time and ask nothing of her.  

She thought she might want him to be there but the cross Mulder bore was already so heavy, weighted down by all the people in his life that he’d failed to save.  She couldn’t - wouldn’t - add Emily’s weight to that burden, no matter how slight she’d been. She didn’t think she could bear watching the man she loved (she knew this now, was as certain of it as she had ever been about anything) throw handfuls of dirt onto a casket filled only with sand and the ghosts of their children that might have been.

They’d dropped him off at his hotel on their way to the interment.  When Scully got out of the back seat to join Maggie in the front, Mulder had grabbed hold of her elbow and ducked his head to see past the cascade of red hair that curtained her downcast eyes.

“My flight doesn’t leave til tonight,” he’d said softly.  “You want to grab some dinner after?…”  She’d finally looked up at him for the first time in what seemed like days.  His ever-changing eyes were grey that afternoon.  

Shaking her head, she’d turned back towards the car.  “No. But thanks, Mulder.  I wouldn’t be very good company.  And I just haven’t had much of an appetite lately.  Plus, I should spend time with my brother and Tara and…the…” she’d choked and let the end of that thought dangle on a dangerous precipice of barely checked emotion, had to clear her throat rather than stumble and unleash a flood of tears over the word, ‘baby’.

He’d nodded and chewed on his bottom lip, swallowing whatever he’d wanted to say.  He lifted a hand to her cheek instead, and brushed his thumb purposefully just under her eye.  “You have a…” he pulled his thumb away and held it up close to her face for her inspection.  For a split second she’d been mortified, half-expecting to see one of her own tears glinting back at her.  She’d almost smiled when instead she saw a red-gold eyelash pressed into the whorls of his fingerprint.  

“Make a wish,” he’d murmured.

She’d stared up at him for a long moment, then squeezed her eyes shut, taken a shuddering breath and puckered her lips into a small ‘o’, blowing gently against the pad of his thumb.

When she’d opened her eyes again, he had already turned and was walking towards the elevators in the lobby of his hotel.

xxxxx

By the time she reaches Emily’s small plot, she’s slightly winded.  She crouches down and sees that days-old flowers and a nearly burned-out votive candle adorn the grave next to Emily’s.  A photo of a smiling Roberta Sim and her daughter (my daughter, Scully thinks) is also propped up on the headstone.  

A few beautiful arrangements from Emily’s funeral surround the stone marker of her daughter’s grave.  Scully stoops to place the bouquet she’s brought with her alongside the spray of purple roses and asters she recognizes from Ms. Chambliss, the county social worker.  So few people had ever truly known Emily, and those that had were dead.  

Just as she’s about to pull herself up again, a flash of silver catches the last guttering flame of the candle, something tucked into the shadows and wedged behind a huge vase of stargazers that have started to droop.  She reaches behind the vase and pulls out a package.  It’s about the size of a shoebox, and it’s wrapped in dark blue and silver paper.  Tilting the gift up to catch the last of the light that’s dying in the west, she can see that the wrapping paper is patterned with dreidels and menorahs.

She looks up and glances around, confused.  Surely this must have been misplaced.  Or left entirely by mistake.  While she holds no such prejudices, she knows the archdiocese only buries Catholics on these grounds.  A tag taped to the upper right corner of the package in the shape of a reindeer says the gift is most definitely supposed to be “To: Emily”.  The “From:”, however, is blank.

Curiosity getting the better of her, Scully shakes the box, hears it rattle promisingly.  Glancing over both shoulders again, she tears the wrapping paper off of the box and turns it over.  A lumpy, plastic brown potato with removable, bulging eyes and a cheeky mustached smile stares back at her.  A Mr. Potato Head doll.

Damn him.  Scully closes her eyes tight, unable to brook the tears that well and spill immediately.  Bless him.  She imagines him hailing a cab from his hotel to a Wal-Mart, wandering around the store in his rumpled G-man suit by himself, weaving in and out of after-Christmas shoppers and their squealing children to find this gift for her dead daughter.  Imagines him wrapping it up in Hanukkah wrapping paper and then wandering around the cemetery in the fading light until he finds her grave.  

Gingerly, she sinks down to her knees in the freshly overturned earth and tucks the toy back behind the vase where she’d found it.  She stays there for a long time.  When she looks up at the sky again, she sees the bright arc of a meteor across the sky.  Make a wish.

As she pushes herself up to stand, she pulls her cell phone out of her trenchcoat pocket and presses the speed dial for the only voice she wants to hear…and makes a wish.

Halcyon Days || Closed

[ kingfisherdaze ]

He’s pretty sure Bro’s room has been coated well enough in human dairy treats to send a message without being too impossible to clean up. So despite his hunger he’s quite proud of himself. Someone visiting is icing on the cake, now he doesn’t have to spend his time talking to x (who quite frankly is almost more trouble than he is worth in Dirk’s mind) or Foo (Who is loyal and sweet but, still an animal. Kinda? They don’t talk.) Actual company is appreciated.

The home is large. But not enormous. Still, even without size, there is obvious wealth here, everything is either top of the line or vintage old. Mostly clean, aside from a corner of the room where Bro’s supplies have been strewn, scraps of cloth and pins. But that’s for a human occupation and means little. 

It smells, to any creature with a keen nose, of three beings. Dirk himself, who smells faintly of overturned earth even now, not his natural scent, with undertones of something warmer, sunlight, a vague sweetness. And then there is Bro’s, stronger, it practically covers Dirk’s even though he has not been here for days. Domineering, all raw power. Dirk has no idea what exactly he’s living with.

And then, there is the familiar, a strange beast who is nowhere to be seen at the moment. irrelevant. Probably licking yogurt off the wall to be honest. Dirk rests now on the couch, typing away at his computer and murmuring in hushed tones to x. Looking up only when he hears the sound of someone transportalizing in. He clicks a few times curiously, making their shape out, and then he trills, birdlike, the louder sound is easier to ‘see.’

This being is very small. Dirk is only an inch taller. They didn’t sound like a child online. Perhaps just small? Dirk barely looks a day past 14. He can’t really talk. He’s small even for a boy turned a week or so past their 15th birthday.

“Daze?” he blinks uselessly, setting his laptop aside, standing. He is pretty sure it is his friend, but he’s prepared to flee just out of caution all the same. There is an open staircase leading to other rooms, and a doorway which leads to the kitchen, but the living room itself is large. Massive even. Which is good, it gives Dirk open space to move in.

“If that’s you I’m going to be a gigantic ass and beg you to help me with the fridge I haven’t eaten in like two days.”

He pauses, realizes, he never actually told Daze what he is. Shit. 
“You don’t have to, feel free to say no, I just, need you to get something very specific from the fridge for me. You don’t have to handle it if you don’t want past that, I can probably wrangle a pot of water onto the stove to heat it with.”

He fidgets just a little. Nervous energy. Mistake. He should have asked about all this beforehand. “And you have to promise not to flip your shit”

Smooth.

The Great Maybe

This ficlet is entirely for and due to madfatty. She loved it first, and if you like it at all, it’s thanks to her that you’re reading it. She advocated for it even when it made me claw at my hair in frustration because I couldn’t make it do what I wanted it to do. This one is yours, completely. Much love and gratitude to you. 


This is what it must feel like to be psychic; the churning of your stomach, twisting itself around an impossible future it knows to be true. The sickness somehow sweetening the tartness of hope, a sour contrast that lies like bile on your tongue.

They’ve been dancing around it for weeks. He’s been pining; he knows it’s nothing other than pining. He’s been moody, melancholy, all wide eyes and longing. He listens to the music now and it hurts. It sticks in his head, prickling burrs that sting but he can’t seem to pry them out. Or maybe he doesn’t want to pry them out.

There’s one song, more than the others. Every time he hears it, his chest seems to close up, his body wanting to tighten in over his fragile, vulnerable heart. It makes him wonder if his ribs can actually contract, if the crackling that accompanies the backbeat is the shifting of his bones rather than an instrument. His body playing a song of longing in perfect time with the tune.

So he listens to it every night for a month. From the first hint that it’s her, that he’s lost to something great that swells with the tides, he can’t seem to help it. It moors him, ties him down with the stinging. He hums it under his breath, plays it loud in his room, carries it around in his headphones like a secret. The hurt that belongs to her is somehow a good hurt, a pain that makes him more. He’s better with the words under his tongue, the drumming keeping the pace of his heart when it chases after her.

But it can’t sustain, he knows. It’s a fragile ecosystem, one that will invariably collapse in on itself if it stays inert. His blood can’t feed the wanting forever; it’s too heavy, too greedy. He’s not enough to feed it on his own. It needs her.

He sees it in colors; it’s too big for his brain to label and reduce with language. So it’s hues, shades of desire and ache and fear.

Wanting her is blue. It’s the denim beneath his fingers as he traces his intent onto her leg. It’s the sky as they spill from the pub, head swimming from her proximity as much as from the beer. It’s the dimness of his room as he lies awake and listens to the same song on repeat, longing for something that he can’t quite understand.

The uncertainty is the mottled black of a bruise, pulsing beneath his skin with an unrelenting ache. She doesn’t want you. You aren’t good enough for her. Her attentions are elsewhere. You’ll never be enough. When she pushes him away, it’s the curtain of her hair across the room where she gives herself to someone else. It’s the way the light gets sucked out of the cupboard when she says she doesn’t even want to be his friend. It’s the back of her jacket, around corners and down streets he can’t follow.

The flirtation is purple; magenta and red velvet. It’s the way the room blurs dizzyingly when his eyes catch hers and hold just a second too long and she doesn’t look away. It’s the hue of her lips when he catches a smile that’s for him but not meant to be seen by him. It’s the suffocation he feels when he reaches for her hand, the air suddenly nowhere to be found. It’s the humming of his blood when she bites her lip.

The hope is yellow, pale spring sun and beer warmed by his hand when she’s been talking and he forgets everything else. It’s the first rays of dawn when he’s been up all night planning what he’ll say. It’s the kettle when she’s shown up at his, upset and turning to him instead of the others. It’s the nicotine stains on his fingers when she thinks he can’t see her watching the curls of smoke that he makes just for her.

But tonight, it’s all the colors at once. Muted, bright, a rainbow of emotions spilling out from every surface, like he can suddenly see a spectrum that’s out of range for everyone else. The trees bleed tangerine into the receding afternoon, a trail that follows behind them as they speed toward a conclusion. Her fingers against his jacket trail sparkles of pale pink, and he’s bolstered by the speckles and pops that flicker within it. The static of her hair as he pulls of the helmet, cerulean. Her hand when he holds it over the handlebars with the weight of his certainty, wine and burgundy.

When Chloe says that they look like a couple, it’s a flare of bright gold that sends a sonic wave radiating through the fields around them, a pulse that shakes the leaves and quakes the earth, overturns the air into something new.

Tonight’s the night.


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The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% - ex CIA spy
A businessman tries to break through a line of Occupy Wall Street protesters who had blocked access to the New York Stock Exchange area in November 2011. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Quite elaborate, but outstanding article that describes the idea of Robert David Steele, former marine and CIA officer, the man who trained more than 66 countries in open source methods. He claims that an open-source revolution will be unavoidable on the basis that the in-place system is more of a scheme that diminishes trust and equality among people.

It is arguable how the transformation of politics will occur, be it through a revolution or an adaption to the standards of the Internet. As quicker society gets used to the effect of the digital revolution as quicker a rethinking process about power inequality on the basis of the underlying principles of the web will happen.

Find below some snippets and quotes from the article, but I highly recommend to read the FULL ARTICLE

Open source everything offers us the chance to build on what we’ve learned through industrialisation, to learn from our mistakes, and catalyse the re-opening of the commons, in the process breaking the grip of defunct power structures and enabling the possibility of prosperity for all.

“Sharing, not secrecy, is the means by which we realise such a lofty destiny as well as create infinite wealth. The wealth of networks, the wealth of knowledge, revolutionary wealth - all can create a nonzero win-win Earth that works for one hundred percent of humanity.

A major part of our problem in the public policy arena is the decline in intelligence with integrity among key politicians and staff at the same time that think tanks and universities and non-governmental organisations have also suffered a similar intellectual diminishment.

Secrecy enables corruption. So also does an inattentive public enable corruption.

So what exactly do you mean by open source everything?
"We have over 5 billion human brains that are the one infinite resource available to us going forward. Crowd-sourcing and cognitive surplus are two terms of art for the changing power dynamic between those at the top that are ignorant and corrupt, and those across the bottom that are attentive and ethical. The open source ecology is made up of a wide range of opens – open farm technology, open source software, open hardware, open networks, open money, open small business technology, open patents – to name just a few. The key point is that they must all develop together, otherwise the existing system will isolate them into ineffectiveness. Open data is largely worthless unless you have open hardware and open software. Open government demands open cloud and open spectrum, or money will dominate feeds and speeds.”
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Robert Steele’s vision for open source systems

On 1st May, Steele sent an open letter to US vice president Joe Biden requesting him to consider establishing an Open Source Agency that would transform the operation of the intelligence community, dramatically reduce costs, increasing oversight and accountability, while increasing access to the best possible information to support holistic policy-making. To date, he has received no response.
I’m not particularly surprised. Open source everything pretty much undermines everything the national security state stands for.
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Robert Steele’s graphic on open source systems thinking

Open source everything is about the five billion poor coming together to reclaim their collective wealth and mobilise it to transform their lives. There is zero chance of the revolution being put down. Public agency is emergent, and the ability of the public to literally put any bank or corporation out of business overnight is looming.

I want to know what’s to stop this revolution from turning into a violent, destructive mess.
Steele is characteristically optimistic. “I have struggled with this question. What I see happening is an end to national dictat and the emergence of bottom-up clarity, diversity, integrity, and sustainability.

The one unlimited resource we have on the planet is the human brain – the current strategy of 1% capitalism is failing because it is killing the Golden Goose at multiple levels.

So how does open source everything have the potential to ’re-engineer the Earth’?
- "Open Source Everything overturns top-down ‘because I say so at the point of a gun’ power. Open Source Everything makes truth rather than violence the currency of power. Open Source Everything demands that true cost economics and the indigenous concept of 'seventh generation thinking’ – how will this affect society 200 years ahead – become central.

We are at the end of an era in which lies can be used to steal from the public and the commons. We are at the beginning of an era in which truth in public service can restore us all to a state of grace.”
This is a real revolution. Revolution is always based on land. Revolution is never based on begging somebody for an integrated cup of coffee. Revolutions are never fought by turning the other cheek. Revolutions are never based upon love-your-enemy and pray-for-those-who-despitefully-use-you. And revolutions are never waged singing “We Shall Overcome.” Revolutions are based on bloodshed. Revolutions are never compromising. Revolutions are never based upon negotiations. Revolutions are never based upon any kind of tokenism whatsoever. Revolutions are never even based upon that which is begging a corrupt society or a corrupt system to accept us into it. Revolutions overturn systems. And there is no system on this earth which has proven itself more corrupt, more criminal, than this system that in 1964 still colonizes 22 million African-Americans, still enslaves 22 million Afro-Americans. There is no system more corrupt than a system that represents itself as the example of freedom, the example of democracy, and can go all over this earth telling other people how to straighten out their house, when you have citizens of this country who have to use bullets if they want to cast a ballot.
—  malcolm x