readouts

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.

How to Schedule Your Study Time

I’ve been asked multiple times to make a post about how to schedule your study time, so here it is! This is a little bit different of a schedule because it’s over mid-semester break (Easter break for most), but it still works.

Step 1: Write down everything you need to do.

Get out a piece of notebook paper or open a new document on your computer and unleash your brain’s to-do list. Write everything down from classes, work, events, and extracurriculars to your work outs, meals, showers, and sleep. Nothing is too small to be written on the list, so if you need to remember to shave your legs, write that down!!

Step 2: Assign each task an estimated amount of time it’ll take to complete.

This part is really crucial for me because it takes my organization a step further to help me achieve my studying and planning goals. It also gives me a reality check – sometimes I’m so ambitious I try to bite off more than I can chew. If I know from the beginning that I most likely won’t achieve everything I need to do, I won’t be as disappointed come the end of my planning and studying. It also tells me I probably need to pick it up during the week and stop procrastinating…

Step 3: Open up Excel, create a table on another computer program, or grab a piece of paper.

Next we’ll make the calendar with a readout of our obligations. I generally use Excel or a piece of paper, but I find that excel works best because I can edit future events easier if I didn’t quite complete a task I planned for.

Have the first column for times, then a column following for each day you want to plan. It helps to have the time column skinnier with the days’ columns wider so text can fit in easily. I leave two rows per hour (therefore one line is equal to one half hour) so I can plan for events or tasks that won’t be taking up whole hours.

Step 4: Designate a color for each of your scheduled categories.

These colors are the same as in my planner:

  • Purple: Anatomy & Physiology
  • Pink: Genetics
  • Blue: Beverage Management
  • Orange: Economics
  • Red: Work
  • Green: Extracurriculars
  • Black: Personal (showers, meals, sleep, relaxation, etc.)
  • Yellow: Travel

I enter in all of my class, work, event, and extracurricular times first – things I can’t miss. These are important to put into your schedule first because you can easily schedule studying around them. 

Step 5: Once all of your obligations are plugged into your schedule, it’s time to fill in your studying.

This is where the required times for your tasks help a great deal! It’s easy to spot an hour block here or there and plug in a 45 minute or hour task… something that may be a little hard for some when they’re just going through their day and have a block. I know whenever I get an hour block I try to nap or rest as much as possible, but this frequently puts me behind. :(

Also, it may help you to pull out your planner and see what exams, quizzes, or assignments are coming up soon. You should rank these at a higher priority and complete these sooner rather than later to ensure you complete them.

I also group lesser tasks; for example, on Thursday night at 11:00 PM I grouped two homework assignments because they really shouldn’t take that long and they’re on the computer at the same time, etc. It’s just easier for me to get them done at the same time. Just like if you need to go to a few different stores, try to go to them all in one trip. It’ll save you time, money, and gas!

Step 6: As you’re adding tasks to your schedule, make sure you’re crossing them off your list you made. You don’t want to miss anything or add something twice!

This is pretty self-explanatory but also important! Make sure you’re adding everything and not missing anything. 

Step 7: Make sure to schedule enough sleep during your night as well as time to eat/relax.

This is the most important step of them all! Without recharging your smart little brain and body, how are you going to have the fuel to move on? Also, try snacking on fruits and veggies and drinking water when you’re studying. I’m one to love candy when I’m studying and it’s hard to say “no” to my precious chocolate and skittles, but I know they’ll just bring my metabolism and energy down. Drinking a lot of water helps too because that means more bathroom breaks – which means more study breaks! ;)

I hope you found this post helpful. If you’d like to see other posts about my studying tips and tricks, please share this post and leave me a message about what I can improve or what you’d like some advice on. Happy studying! – grxeek

Edit: it won’t let me put this in normal title format, so:

Almost Peaceful

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

Four thousand planets in the Great Unity. Six thousand sentient species, give or take. Technology so complicated it could only be repaired by crews with multiple different cognition types on the team. And that’s not even mentioning the violent flare-ups that had brought the Great Unity down from eight thousand planets and fourteen thousand species. It was entirely understandable for the humans to be intimidated. But no, that wasn’t quite it.

To the species with similar intelligences and social structures, it almost seemed that the humans were embarrassed, of all things. But nobody paid them any mind. Their insistence on using the freely given technologies to outphase the signals that they had been broadcasting for cycles? Odd. Same with their social quarantining of all human history, and with the electromagnetic shielding of their quadrant. The only thing people really paid attention to was when this backwater nothing asked for the other species to delete the preliminary data gathered earlier. Some worlds balked at that, but this tiny, flimsy race was so obviously terrified that even the most predatory of the war races consented to the purge. It didn’t really matter anyways - their quadrant, an even mix of death worlds and featureless rocks, was otherwise entirely empty of life, sentient or otherwise.

The Alab were the first to realize how strange that had been. If humanity had then hidden itself away, kept from the rest of the universe, it would have been as expected (there were many shy, prey-evolved races), and they would have been ignored, as seemed their wish. But no. The flimsy bipeds built ships of their own, founded settlements on half a dozen worlds. And these places weren’t shielded like Earthspace was; instead they were as obvious and unshielded as possible. Curious about the oddity - they were a plains evolution, so curiosity fit them - the Alab ventured as close as they could to the strange cities without being spotted, hidden beneath the best cloaking the Great Unity had to offer.

As it turned out, they didn’t need to hide. Partially because the Humans saw them, somehow, and partially because the Humans invited them down. By now the Alab’s interest had attracted the attention of most of the Great Unity, who telepathically watched through the Alab sensory hearts as a world opened up around them.

This colony was not the tarnished scar they would have expected of a nascent race. Even the planet was different from the dusty rock it had started as.

A cool breeze touched the Alab delegation. It was scented with so many things that, for a moment, the Alab was frozen in simply trying to process the variety. The variety, of course, came from the masterpiece of terraforming before them: where there were one craters, glittering pools shimmered with the reflective scales of aquatic creatures; the star-burnt ridges now housed both massive, rigid photosynthetic organisms and prancing furred quadrupeds.

Even that brief glimpse sparked massive speculation on the universal scale. Were the humans genetic engineers whose art surpassed even that of the Tra'di? Did their planet simply have that many organisms, with an evolutionary history far enough beyond anything seen elsewhere, to create such variety of perfectly proportioned life? Landscape designers hurriedly took notes and scans, preparing for the unavoidable rush of requests for the new style.

But that wasn’t the mission, as stunning as the landscape was. The Alab turned around, clicking their hearts at the abrupt change in input. The city was massive, a gleaming wonder in stone and steel, somehow surpassing the crystal forests of the Mavse in elegance. The ships soaring through the skies above shone like the stars they sought, yet the Alab could pick out individual details on the designs adorning them.

Not long after this event, other species began to visit Humanity’s homes. Without fail, each and every one of them was uniquely beautiful. Their ships weren’t the fastest, but one couldn’t help but be impressed at their symmetry. Their music wasn’t the most complex, but it often gave rise to more emotion than actual empathic abilities. And each colony had its own biome, its own set of unique species, each more impressive than the last.

Rumors began to grow, as they do, surrounding the home world of the greatest artists the universe had ever seen. Some said that it was drab, focused on training the artists they sent out rather than on making the art itself. Others declared that Earth obviously was a religious secret (they had found out that humans had religion only a few cycles earlier. Of course, their prayers and monuments were the most beautiful anyone had ever seen), but that was scoffed at. The sheer breadth of human religions wouldn’t allow a decision that unified, the debaters pointed out, and at least one human would have given it away before now if it was something centered on faith.

By far the most popular opinion was that even the most wondrous works on the colony worlds paled in comparison to the splendor of Earth. Tales spread, saying that anyone nonhuman who saw Earth in all its glory would be struck silent by awe, never to speak again, for fear of diminishing the memory of what they saw. That Earth was so wondrous that the colonists saw their own worlds, home to more abstract riches and honor than most of the rest of the universe, as hopelessly utilitarian, as gray and lifeless in comparison as Raner Alikrem to Ormek 8.

Over the Human cycles, Earth grew in fame and mystery. Despite taking advantage of every advancement shown to them, Humanity never once volunteered knowledge or technology beyond that of their art and culture. Nobody minded, though, as said art was definitely worth the cost. Humans got more and more famous, and continually better educated, as the Great Unity slowly funded and rewarded their astounding work. But they retained their peculiar aversions, never accepting any weapons, or training, or even remotely militant designs, acting almost horrified at the thought of violence. It made sense, in an odd way. The fragmentary human history that had been gathered from the occasional interview with the taciturn race was as pure as it came, one where even hinting at conflict would see one shunned. Traders and scholars learned this quickly, taking specialized training in avoiding the subject just to avoid scaring their precious artists.

It was with this in mind that the Gald set out for Earth. They were one of the oldest species in the galaxy, and undoubtedly one of those for whom the times of peace chafed the most. It was in seeking both truth and conquest that they sent out their expeditionary force towards Earth. The logic was plain even to the most sedentary of species - if the most fascinating mystery in all the universe was being guarded by the eleventh most physically weak of the races, and the second least violent (the least being an immobile, telepathic cellscape that covered a small moon), then of course a predator-evolved race with an undeniable urge to spread their reach, grow their power, would eventually come after them.

The first fleet was more of a team of armed ambassadors than an armada. Even as they attacked, the Gald hoped to stay in Humanity’s good graces. The Gald kept in careful contact with them up until the moment they crossed over into the shielded Earthspace.

The first fleet was never heard from again. The Gald, logically assuming that some standard space disaster had befallen their fleet, sent another, this one with precautionary reconnaissance and messenger ships. Again, all was well up to the shielded space. The Gald, sure that the new fleet was safe from all but the strangest disasters, waited with bated breath for the return of the messenger ships.

The first one came back early, not only with a report from the fleet (no notable planets had been found yet, other than twelve deathworlds. The fleet continued its search for Earth), but with cargo. That was unexpected, to say the least. The messenger ships had been intended to fly back and forth across the shield, transmitting messages from one side to the other. That one had been used instead to transfer what looked like an derelict satellite meant that, whatever was on that satellite, it was worth looking in to.
The satellite proved a welcome distraction from waiting for the return of the second fleet. It had turned out to be an old mining surveyor, sent into what would become Earthspace mere ertd before the humans entered the Great Unity. It had been destroyed - they couldn’t tell by what - only twelve Human cycles before said entrance.

Excitedly, the Gald searched the recorded scans from the surveyor for images of Earth. It only took them a few hundred false positives - deathworlds and wastelands all - before they found it. A world, extremely high in water content, of substandard gravity. Cloaked, seemingly unintentionally, in a cacophony of electromagnetic signals, the world had all the readouts of a near-spacefaring race. The Gald, elated at their discovery of Earth’s exact location (what kind of planet hides themselves in the exact center of the protective shielding?), sent the messenger ship back across, with new commands for the fleet.

There was no response. The second fleet had, somehow, vanished.

Frustrated now, the Gald sent a proper fleet for the third time, targeting the exact location of their quarry. Armed with the most formidable equipment the Great Unity (home to almost a thousand intelligent warlike species) had to offer, and with a borderline-forbidden Breacher signal processing unit that would allow them to transmit past the shielding back to their home planet, they closed in.

Everything was going well - the invasion force was actually feeling a bit pointless - when they reached the first field of wreckages. They stopped for just long enough to check that there were no survivors of their fleet, and that there were no intact ships or weapon systems to harvest. It was when they reached the second fleet that they realized something might actually be wrong - these ships were perfectly bisected along the power cores, the corpses of their crew shot midfloat even as they died in the depressurization of space. But again, scans revealed no useful resources, personnel, or information about the opposing force.

By then the crews had begun to mutter. Nobody had any idea of what could have done all of this - the technology was far beyond that of the rest of the Great Unity. Some said that it was a rogue member of the Great Unity who had gotten there first. Others said that it was even a species from outside the known, who was trying to infiltrate the Great Unity through their physically weakest link. Either way, the mission of the Gald shifted in a new direction: save the humans from this strange new threat. The fact that doing so would net them the secrets of Earth was simply a bonus to a glorious war.

The high command glinted at that - it was a political win/win from something that they had expected to bring them only hatred. As the Gald, weapons primed against the unknown threat, passed into the solar system that Earth was supposed to be located in, they began to broadcast their oncoming victory across the universe. Every member of the Great Unity guiltily watched, greedy for the final answer to the Question of Earth.
The Gald passed the star that Earth circled. They counted planets our from the center, pausing when they got to the third nearest. It wasn’t Earth. Or at least, it didn’t look like it. There were no towering cities of light, nor were there full monasteries of inspiration. There were no massive tracts of wildlife, no “forests”, no poles of ice, no massive mountains. Even the water, which had before been one of the natural wonders of this world according to the mining satellite, had vanished, leaving the continents indistinguishable from the sea floor.
Horror and sadness filled the galaxy - clearly whatever had destroyed the Gald fleets had also smote the Earth into oblivion, leaving slag where there were once mountains, and radioactive craters where the satellite showed had once been glorious cities.

It was while the Gald drifted in shock that the armada appeared, dropping cloaks unlike anything the Great Unity had ever seen before unleashing whirlwinds of light and kinetics upon the unfortunate war fleet.

The signal cut off. Silently - so as not to alarm the human colonies, who had, of course, not watched - the myriad worlds of the Great Unity came to a consensus. They would keep this horrendous act of violence from the Humans for as long as possible. They would arm themselves, surrounding Earthspace with the best and brightest of every militant force the Great Unity had to offer. And they would study every recorded trace of the Gald transmission until they knew everything possible about those monstrous destroyers who came to be called the Worldbreakers.

Several erdt passed, with no trace of the Worldbreakers. Another fleet, armed again with a Breacher, was sent into Earthspace. They didn’t last long.

A pattern developed, over time. A fleet would go in, armed with the newest equipment, often technology inspired by their very foes. They would briefly be able to scan Earth and the neighboring systems, often places with even more melted planets, before being extinguished by the Worldbreakers. It happened again and again. The newest of weapons would be blocked with shields specifically designed against their unique energy signatures. The most outlandish of strategies was outdone as if textbook. Nothing could phase the Worldbreakers; it became clear that they had played at war at extremes beyond the imaginations of even the sadistic Denwim.

The Worldbreakers became a common component of human-free discussions. Cults formed around them, both worshipping their undefeated might and fearing the eventuality that they would notice the rest of the intelligent universe. And then the day came. The day that turned everything around. It was a combination of three simultaneous events, between an obsessive astronomical historian, a lab treating a Human child for brain damage, and a student’s analysis of the Gald transmissions.

The historian was comparing old electromagnetic transmission records to the current species database, to track how many near-spaceflight species actually developed it and entered the Great Unity. It was quite surprised when it found a plethora of electromagnetic records, all obviously from different species, from all across what became Earthspace. It wondered to its colleagues what could have happened to seventy-three distinct species that would leave no trace of their civilization. No disaster they could imagine would have allowed the survival of only the Humans, a race too fragile to survive much of their own planet, much less interstellar catastrophes.

The doctor who headed up the lab was doing routine lobe simulations, checking that each repaired part of the Human child’s brain worked as properly. He was quite interested in this, as Humans generally performed their own operations, and the Human brain was largely a mystery to most of the universe. He was hoping for some distinctive part that would explain Humanity’s artistic skills, so his simulations were very in depth.

One can imagine his surprise when, instead of symmetry and resonance being the core of the Human biopsychological makeup, his simulation showed little other than pure, unadulterated aggression and greed. Uncertain, he ran it again. And again. Then he called the other interspecies doctors he knew to have them replicate the results. It was confirmed - Humans, the race so famous for hating the mere thought of conflict, was at its core the most hateful species the Great Unity possessed, orders of magnitude worse than the Gald.

And the student’s work sealed the matter. In a thermometric readout of the planets destroyed by the Worldbreakers, she found that, according to standard interplanetary cooling formulas, the Earth had to have been destroyed long ago, before even the Humans reached out to the Great Unity to ask for privacy. Unity laws prevented locations with signs of unknown species from being placed under electromagnetic shielding and social quarantine, so the Worldbreakers couldn’t have been there to destroy Earth before the shield was placed. The paradox did not lend itself at all to any known theories.

The logic was clear. Even the hive minds agreed. Humanity was not the docile race of scholars and artists that they appeared. Nor were they shy about their homeworld. Not shy, but paranoid. Sensibly paranoid that, should the Great Unity discover their war-torn past, that they had not only destroyed at least seventy-three sentient species but also their own planet in the short time between when they had developed space flight and joined the Great Unity, the other members would have either fled or tried and failed to exterminate them. So they went with their other option - beauty. They hid their ugliness under a veil of wonder, only sending their unstoppable armada after those who came close to finding out their secret past.

The understanding rocked the galaxy. Nobody sane had even contemplated this before, that one species could appear so innocent and yet be so terrifying. Their worlds would never be the same.

Despite all of this, little to nothing changed for the Humans. Aliens still came from all over to view their work, even if they now did it with apprehension. Scholars still appreciated their mystery, perhaps all the more.

And, of course, the unofficial rule that the topic of violence was never, ever to be breached while Humans were in contact suddenly became a lot more official.


Tl;dr: Humans are the super shy aliens. Too bad. It’s always the quiet ones.

ifeelbetterer  asked:

Gotg prompt: how did Rocket learn to speak Groot?

“Repeat after me, Quill: I am Groot.”

“I am Groot,” Peter said dutifully. He felt like an idiot, but there were only a limited number of ways to while away quiet nights on the ship when neither of them could sleep. If it was him and Gamora, or him and Drax, they could spar, but he’d only tried sparring with Rocket once. It took weeks for the bite marks to heal.

Rocket’s oddly expressive – for a raccoon – face wrinkled in an expression of disgust. “Do you even hear yourself? That is nothing like what I just said.”

“Dude, that is exactly what you just said.”

“No, I said ‘I am Groot’ and you said ‘I am Groot’.”

“Which is … the same?”

Rocket stared at him for a long moment, then pointed at his snout. “Read my lips: I am Groot.”

“Was I supposed to repeat that, or …”

Rocket showed some teeth. Peter shut up. There was a moment of silence and Peter was just about to put his earbuds back in and quit with the language lessons when Rocket said suddenly, “Quill, if I say, 'I am Groot,’ just like that, what do you hear?”

“Is this a trick question? Especially the kind of trick question that’s gonna end in you pissing on my bed?”

“That was only once, and you had it coming –”

“Rocket –”

“No, for the love o’ cheese, it’s not a trick question. Just say 'I am Groot’.”

“I am Groot,” Peter said. “I feel like a complete jackass right now, in case that was your intent – hey, where are you going?”

“Jus’ need to get a thing!” Rocket’s voice trailed behind him.

Peter flopped back down in the chair in the mess and put his earbuds in. He was actually getting sleepy, and considering going back to bed, when Rocket jumped up onto the table in front of him with something clutched in his paws.

“What’s that?” Peter asked, sitting up. He palmed off the Zune and took off the earpieces. He had to hand it to Earth tech: the new music player was a lot more convenient to carry around than his late, lamented Walkman.

Rocket’s device was a thin, flat screen about the size of a hardback book; he had it clutched with a paw on each side while readouts rippled quickly across it.

“Okay, now say 'I am Groot’,” Rocket declared, studying the screen.

“Come on, man, do we really have to go through this again?”

“Humor me.”

Peter sighed and slouched in his chair. “I am Groot.”

Rocket’s ears pricked forward. “I am Groot,” he said, and tapped the display with his paw, causing the tiny, scrolling lines and numbers to freeze. “Did that sound the same to you?”

“Well … yeah?”

The flat pads of Rocket’s fingers danced across the display, and he laid the screen on the table between them. “Know what you’re lookin’ at?”

“Squiggly lines,” Peter said automatically.

“Did your mama drop you on the head a lot as a baby, Quill?”

“No, but Yondu did occasionally.” Peter rested his elbow on the table and his chin in his hand. As much fun as it was to mess with Rocket, he did actually think he knew what the raccoon was getting at. “That wiggly line is some kind of … uh … noise – wiggle – curve, right?”

“That’s real precise.”

“I was abducted from Earth before we got to algebra in school. Cut me some slack here.”

“Excuses, excuses. I was raised in a cage and my mother had an IQ of 3.” Rocket touched the display, zooming in on it. “Point is, I don’t think it’s just that all a’ you two-legged bunch is too obtuse to understand perfectly clear speech –”

“Thanks.”

“– like I used to think. It’s more like, my ears hear at higher and lower frequencies than yours do, so I get different overtones. Put simply for the simple, I can hear things you can’t.”

Peter leaned forward, intrigued. “So, wait – you mean all this time, all his 'I am Groot’s sound different to you?”

He realized what he’d said as soon as the words left his mouth, and got the flat 'I am dealing with morons’ look from Rocket that he’d instantly realized he had coming. “How am I supposed to understand him if they don’t, Quill, I ask you?”

“Okay – point – but … so why does it sound like 'I am Groot’ to the rest of us?”

“It sounds like 'I am Groot’ to me too.” When Peter glowered at him, Rocket held up a paw. “No, I ain’t messin’ with ya. This time. No, that’s what the translation unit picks up, 'cause it ain’t so smart about some of the less humanoid languages. It’s just, I hear it like …” He hesitated and waggled his paw. “It’s like your music, right? All those up and down tones at the same time. Groot can do that. Your throat, my throat, can’t.”

“Singing?” Peter said after a minute. “Groot’s singing?”

“I refer you back to the part about bein’ dropped on your head.” Rocket pursed his lips and let out a sharp whistle, making Peter jump – there was still some part of him that couldn’t quite hear whistling and not expect a death arrow to follow an instant later. And he might not be the only one, because Rocket stopped abruptly, closed his mouth, and then said, “Quill, do this,” and hummed softly.

It wasn’t really a tune. “You just want me to hum?” Peter asked. “Like, generic humming?”

Rocket curled his lip and the hum became more of a snarl.

“Right, humming,” Peter said hastily.

The funny thing was, the instant his soft hum of response hit the right harmonics with the note Rocket was humming (and the raccoon did have a good sense of pitch; Peter had always suspected so) he understood exactly what Rocket was getting at.

“Ohhhhh. When Groot talks, it’s like a symphony. Is that what you mean? And the 'I am Groot’ part is the part in the human audible range.”

Rocket’s ears and tail went up cheerfully. “Yeah, ezzactly. He’s tryin’ to communicate, it’s just he didn’t get any farther than 'I am Groot’ when he was learning. It’s as hard for him to do the talkin’ part for the translators as it is for you and me to do his kind of talk. He can hear us just fine, though. Actually to him, understanding our talk is dead easy.”

“So how do we understand him?” Peter asked. “Can you, I dunno, juice up the translator so it picks up a higher range of frequencies, or something?”

“I dunno. That’s not a bad idea.” Rocket tapped his claw against his teeth before picking up the screen thing and hopping off the table. “Have to think on it. Don’t wanna explode your heads or anything.”

“Yeah, well, on that lovely note, I’m goin’ to bed.” He actually was tired enough now to fall asleep in spite of the inevitable nightmares (the bitter cold and darkness of space; Ego’s face dissolving in his hands; his friends crushed by rocks or blown apart). The music helped as it always had, a melodic bulwark against the dark, wrapped gently around his heart – but it could only do so much.

Rocket grunted absently as he trotted off, already engrossed in figuring out the problem.

The thought occurred to Peter as he wandered back to his quarters, thumbing idly through the songs on the Zune, that these sorts of mechanical puzzles served the same purpose for Rocket as his music did for him: something to make his mind go quiet.

The music did that … and so did letting Gamora beat the stuffing out of him in the ship’s small exercise area. Or getting language lessons from Rocket. Or –

“I am Groot?”

Peter jumped as small hands grabbed hold of his pants leg. Groot shimmied quickly up to perch on his shoulder.

“Hey, little buddy.” Peter opened the door to his quarters and left it open so Groot could come and go as he wanted. Or so he could hear if anybody got into a fight or whatever. He flopped wearily on his unmade bed, careful not to dislodge Groot. “You know, I’m not sure how much of this you can understand right now, but Rocket’s teaching me to speak your language.”

“I am Groot?”

“Well, to understand you more than speak it, I guess I should say.” He was lying on his back now and he couldn’t really see Groot except out of the corner of his eye, but he could feel the little tree shifting around in the hollow where the collar of his sweatshirt rested against his neck.

“I am Groot,” Groot said insistently, almost in his ear. Small hands patted at the side of his face and his earlobe.

“Yeah, yeah.” Peter pinched one earbud between two fingers and held it where Groot could get at it. The little hands took it out of his fingers. Peter settled himself comfortably as Groot squirmed somewhat ticklishly against his neck, and sorted through the songs. “How 'bout Elton John tonight, buddy?”

“I am Groot,” came the sleepy answer.

“You know, little guy,” Peter murmured, as the first strains of the music began to play and Groot snuggled comfortably against his neck, “whether or not Rocket can get his new gadget working, I think we understand each other just fine, don’t we?”

“I am Groot!”

There are no computers in Star Wars, and there is a good reason for this.

Star Wars, much like Dune, is fantasy masquerading as science fiction, and its aesthetic is keyed to the human intuitions that expect tools to fit comfortably in the hand and intelligent things to have a face. Microprocessors and all of the ubiquitous invisible computation they enable just don’t work at human scale and don’t suit human intuitions, and must be eliminated.

Frank Herbert dealt with this problem in Dune by introducing the Butlerian Jihad, a war that led to a religious prohibition against the creation of thinking machines. This Amish-like restriction on allowable technologies allowed him to handwave away the lack of visible progress over thousands of years of galactic feudalism.

Star Wars was released in May 1977, a month before the Apple II went on sale, a couple of years before the IBM PC, when the power of a computer could still be measured by its size. Data was spooled onto rolls of tape, or stacks of punched cards, or metallic disks that took two hands to carry around. Computers were more like industrial facilities with plumbing and ducting, humming with power flowing through transformers and valves, not the ubiquitous silent shards of silicon that permeate our lives today. It seemed reasonable to suppose that a bigger computer was a better computer, and a computer good enough to run a galaxy must be big enough that you could ride a bicycle around inside it.

Although computers were treated much like giant steam engines in the popular imagination, this didn’t apply to robots! Even Asimov drew a distinction between his MULTIVAC computer the size of a city block and his golem-like humanoid robots with their “positronic brains” wandering around having emotions and falling in love and wrestling with ethical dilemmas. We are very willing to accept that anything with a face can be smart, and the fondness for BB-8 shows that having an eye and being cute as a button is all it takes to ensure complete suspension of disbelief.

Watching a new movie like Rogue One, now, after forty years of Moore’s Law, it’s hard not to laugh when they have to extract files from a database the size of a skyscraper by physically climbing up inside it and pulling out a cartridge the size of a book. But you have to admit that this kind of thing makes sense in a way that modern computers don’t. You could explain this scene to a monk in the middle ages and they would get it, whereas a 32GB SD card the size of your fingernail is just silly.

But it’s not just about hardware progress, Star Wars doesn’t have computers. Wait you say, what about Luke’s targeting computer? What about all the screens and readouts in the space ships? While those may perform computation, much like a pocket calculator, they are not general purpose computers. A computer is not really a tool, a computer is the raw substrate for making tools by giving it the correct program. A computer is a meta-tool that eats all other tools, and this is Inhuman and Wrong which is why it does not exist in Star Wars.

A recent story featuring a dubious claim about President Trump shows how left-leaning misinformation is beginning to pick up now that Trump has taken control of the White House.

Last week, Ilan Berman, the vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, was on a panel discussion about Russia and Turkey’s interests in Syria. At one point Berman said the Kremlin had issued a detailed readout of President Putin’s call with President Trump, but the White House had not. Then he speculated about why that might have been the case.

“You always look for the readout of the phone call, whatever it is,” he said. “Did you guys notice there was no American readout of the phone call? There was none. They turned the tape recorder off. There was a Russian readout of the phone call.”

First, the White House did issue a readout of the call, though it was very brief. Second, the explosive claim about the tape recorder being turned off by the US side is not based on any specific knowledge on Berman’s part. He’s completely guessing. As he later said on Twitter, it was “conjecture.” He also said he doesn’t “know for a fact that they turned it off.”

On top of that, no one seems to be sure whether these calls are recorded or not. In response to a question about taping procedures, a White House spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that, “How these meetings are conducted is classified.”

Continue reading.

The Quintessential Paladin Armor Guide

Hey guys! We’re 4 seasons in now, and I thought it would be useful to put together this reference sheet for everything we know the paladin armor can do to date. I’ll also update this guide when new seasons come out and we learn more armor functions, too.

I provide references to episodes where each ability is used for samples of an ability, and visual examples for some abilities as well. This guide is primarily intended to be factual, with hard evidence from the episodes. However, some parts of the armor are still open-ended or have some degree of speculation surrounding them. I will indicate this as well if something about its abilities is unclear.



This guide contains a large number of screenshots, so all observations will be under the cut. For general reference, the guide is arranged in the following order:

  • General Armor Observations
  • Breakdown of individual armor pieces and their abilities
    • Helmet
    • Shoulders
    • Cuirass/Chest Piece
    • Jetpack
    • Gauntlet
    • Belt
    • Thigh/Leg Armor
    • Boots
  • General Bayard Observations
  • Character-specific notes regarding armor/bayard usage
  • Conclusion

Let’s take a look at what this armor does!

Keep reading

things i’m here for in wolf 359 season 4:

  • kepler trying to scaremonger and scapegoat around lovelace being an alien but nobody pays attention to him
  • kepler: “she is a WEAPON and she is DANGEROUS” 
    eiffel: “i mean, right now, she’s making dinner, but sure”
  • it becomes this running joke of ‘every time lovelace does something, everyone has to call up kepler to make sure it isn’t part of her grand evil plot to destroy the entire station’
  • minkowski, over comms: “colonel kepler? captain lovelace is retiring to her quarters for the night. are we in any imminent danger from this?”
  • hera: “um, colonel? i just received a direct order from captain lovelace to forward the data readouts from the star to lieutenant minkowski while she navigates us through this solar flare. is this anything to do with aliens trying to kill us all?”
  • at one point, the comms crackle and kepler hears eiffel quietly saying, “okay, colonel, captain lovelace just took a very suspicious break from the day’s repairs, and i’m tailing her now to—” and then he hears a distant “eiffel? are you… following me to the toilet?” and eiffel has to explain it’s for the meme, captain, he’s not actually following you, captain
  • anyway lovelace thinks it’s the funniest thing ever and joins in and starts being like “colonel? just letting you know that i’m suiting up for a spacewalk to repair damage to the station’s external plates. please let me know if you have any objection to this, in case it has anything to do with that evil plan i have to sacrifice our entire crew to aliens”
  • kepler is Tired™ and nobody pays attention to him ever again
  • (the real kicker is when lovelace opens up the comms line to say, “kepler, i’m about to ask minkowski to give me a hand, is that a problem for you?” and kepler’s just pissed that she managed to make a hand joke AND an alien joke all in one. jacobi is thrilled)
Every Waking Hour

@voltronwhumpweek2017 - Day 5: Insomnia/Mental illness.

I see your insomnia and raise you some induced insomnia. A Lance fic for my IRL awesome friend


Hunk felt his heart break a little as he found an utterly lost Lance wandering down the hallway that lead to the kitchen.

“Lance?” he asked.

Lance turned to face him and Hunk felt his heart break even more as he got a good look at his best friend’s face. The circles under his eyes had darkened so much so that they resembled bruises, and they stood out starkly against Lance’s skin, which was much paler than usual. If Hunk was honest, Lance looked more like a walking corpse than anything else. Not that he was going to mention that to Lance. Definitely not.

Lance blinked blearily at Hunk for a long moment before recognition flashed across his mostly blank features, “Hunk?”

“Yeah, man, it’s me.” Hunk replied, reaching out to steady Lance when he wobbled.

“Hunk, I… Wh-where are we? I don’t - shouldn’t we be in class? Or… something? I don’t know.”

Keep reading

[App Review]—LingoDeer (Japanese)

**EDIT** The LingoDeer team read my review and fixed some of the things I pointed out :>


Learning Japanese?? I was originally going to review LingoDeer’s Chinese lessons next, but I was contacted by the team who developed the app and the lessons after the read my review on the Korean course. They asked if I was learning Japanese and, if so, if I could do a similar review for the Japanese course (please note that I have never done any sort of sponsored review or anything like that; I review what I want and I review them honestly). I said I would, so here we are! Maybe this will get me back on track with studying Japanese, anyway. Those of you who were around during this blog’s early stages will remember I was studying Japanese for a while, but I had to abandon it because I just didn’t have enough time ㅠㅠ Welp, it’s time to start again!

I do want to note that, other than the obvious language difference between this review and my review of LingoDeer’s Korean course, there is also a huge difference in my perspective between both of these reviews. Having studied Korean for over seven years now, my LingoDeer Korean review was done more from a been-there-done-that perspective. A lot of my intuition as not only a long-term Korean learner but also a Korean grammar blogger and a language teacher went into it. However, I am nowhere near the same level in Japanese, so this review is written from much more of a beginning learner perspective, with a bit of my teacher brain as far as what is and isn’t effective for language learning thrown in.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s jump on in!

What is LingoDeer?

LingoDeer is a language-learning app for the three major east Asian languages, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese. It is developed by teachers of those three languages, so that’s pretty cool!


Very first impressions

As I said in my review of LingoDeer (Korean), the LingoDeer app’s design and interface is very clean and visually appealing. I do get some loading screens still, but none of them are super long unless I’m on my home Wifi. I’d been thinking about maybe getting a new, stronger router anyway… 


Learning Hiragana and Katakana

You can start with learning Hiragana and Katakana, or you can just skip it and go straight to learning the actual grammar and other material. For the sake of this review (and since my Katakana memory has always been pretty bad), I did the Hiragana and Katakana courses. Before you start a level in the Alphabet section, you can flip a toggle for whether you want to learn Hiragana or Katakana. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t really matter since they are presented together and you will be asked to match the corresponding Hiragana and Katakana. I have actually never used a source that teaches them together in this way, and I really like it because it made it easier for me to remember the Katakana. The main differences between doing one writing system vs. the other (for example, choosing to do them in Katakana mode instead of Hiragana) is that you will only be presented with stroke order diagrams for the set you chose, and they will occur more frequently. At the end of the day, the choice is yours.

 Again, the sound files in this app are really great, so you can hear the sounds very clearly. My only real issue with the Hiragana/Katakana-learning exercises is when you have to match multiple pairs at once. There are a few screens like that at the end of each level, and if you want to hear the readout of the sounds as you do them, you have to flip a toggle on the screen because the sound is off by default. Since this is a language learning app, I really think it would make more sense to have the sound on by default. Also, you have to flip the toggle every new screen rather than flipping it once and that being your setting for the level. Having to flip it every single time just to get the automatic audio got annoying pretty quickly.

Just as the Korean course had extensive Hangul charts, there are interactive Hiragana and Katakana charts in the Japanese course. You can click on the individual spaces to have the sounds read out, which I liked. However, there seems to be a little bug such that sometimes when I go to the charts they don’t read out when I press the spaces. In those cases, I have to restart the app for the charts to work properly.

Finally, there are notes explaining the Japanese writing system, and they’re quite extensive! This app certainly does give a lot of information.


Getting in to learning

This app is currently structured 100% for beginners in the sense that you must start with the first level. There is no way to test up into a higher level. This test up feature is there in other comparable apps, so its absence here is very noticeable. Until such a function is (hopefully) added in, anyone who wants to use this app will have to obligatorily do the lower levels first regardless of their skill level.

All of the actual learning levels have grammar notes at the beginning, which you can access if you swipe to the tile left of the first lesson tile. I think it would make more sense to have the notes tile be the first one you see, as it is easy to miss and the notes give a ton of important information that beginning learners really should read. The notes are detailed and very helpful, but there are some typos here and there, and I noticed some unusual Romaji (though I’m not sure if it’s just that they were using a different Romaji system… are there multiple Romaji systems??). The word for “China,” which I had always seen before in Romaji as “ch(y)uugoku,” was written as “tyuugoku,” which threw me off.

When you get into the learning levels, you can choose how you want writing to be displayed, and there are a TON of options! You can go for full on normal Japanese writing with the Kanji and all, Kanji with Hiragana (my setting), Hiragana only, Romaji only, Hiragana and Romaji… you can choose what would suit your needs best and adjust as you become more comfortable reading Japanese.

As for actually learning, there is a variety of activities including word-picture matching, listening and choosing the right answer, inserting grammatical elements into the right places, and unscrambling sentences, and more. The only thing that I really wish the learning levels has is some speaking practice! I’ve said it many, many times before, but HelloChinese is a similarly structured app that has speaking practice built into all of its levels. If LingoDeer also had it, I would be so happy~ Also, as I mentioned in my LingoDeer (Korean) review, this app is fairly quiet in the sense that it does not automatically read out sentences for you on some screens, and there is no indication given that you can access audio for those screens. It would be nice if there was maybe a little play button to make it clear that you can hear audio on those screens with no auto play, or maybe an overall option (that could be toggled on or off as you please, of course) for automatic audio playback.

One other little bone I have to pick is that, when doing syllable-by-syllable unscrambling of sentences, the app starts indicating what the first syllable you pick should be within about three seconds. Maybe some people like the hints, but I could do without them for sure. I would be happy if the time to hinting was increased, or if there was a toggle to turn it off completely.

Upon completion of a level, you can get up to five stars. When you first start studying, you set a goal for how many stars you want to get each day, and if you choose the lowest possible number (five) and do a single level perfectly, your study for the day is complete.

The biggest error I have seen in this course so far is that the notes in the “Household” section (as far as I got so far) are missing ㅠㅠ I sent a report in, so hopefully that’s fixed soon. Considering how responsive the LingoDeer team has been to me so far, I’m fairly confident it will be fixed soon.

Overall, I like the structure of the lessons and the pacing. I could definitely see myself using this app long term!


Review and stats

(This section is more or less copypasta from my previous review, so feel free to skip it if you read that one!)

If you want to go back and review vocab or grammar flashcards, there is a section where you can do that. The review questions are the same as the regular level questions. You can choose to do a single lesson, or you can combine lessons for a comprehensive review. Also, there is spaced repetition listening practice, which is pretty cool. You can choose how you want the words and sentences presented, with Japanese, the English translation, or just the audio and no writing. After listening, you can reveal the correct answer and rate your recall/performance “weak,” “good,” or “perfect.” You can also choose if you want a word or sentence-focused review. Seems like a good feature.

As for stats, you can check how long your learning streak has been ongoing, and it even tells you how long you have studied for. There are some little achievement badges for things like learning time and streaks also. You can also set a time for reminders to study if you would like. However, I notice that the app is not synced to your phone’s clock but some other clock, perhaps that of the server it’s hosted on. So, for example, if I use the app in the morning here in Korea, it will still count any stars I get to the previous day since the app’s date hasn’t rolled over yet. There is not an option to change the app’s clock to sync to your time zone as far as I can tell.

Oh, and there is offline learning! You can download the course take it with you if you are, say, going on a flight or off to some remote area where there is no internet or cell service!


Conclusion

LingoDeer’s Japanese course is really fun and easy to use! The grammar notes are very informative, and the lessons are not too heavy so they don’t feel burdensome or intimidating to a new learner. The pros and cons:

PROS:

  • GREAT audio files
  • Lots of good notes and information on grammar
  • Spaced repetition practice and flashcards
  • Study reminders
  • Lessons that are informative and useful without being overwhelming
  • Offline learning

CONS:

  • No function to test out of lower levels
  • Typos in notes and other places
  • App clock not synced to phone clock
  • No speaking practice
‘i can’t help but want’ epilogue

i wrote a short little piece for @legendarydesvender for her birthday. i’d just released this fic when we started talking, and i still remember fondly that she doodled a little spock!keith for me during the livestream that we met in. happy birthday sven!! you’re lovely and wonderful and make me laugh every single day  💖💖💖

keith/lance (2112 words) 

Keep reading

karlacton  asked:

Top 10 Creepypasta

man I’m gonna have to hunt through the archives here

  • Abandoned By Disney – creepypasta set around an abandoned Disney park, scared the shit out of me
  • Mayhem Mountain – this is everything I fear when I get on a rollercoaster
  • CCTV Footage – a creepypasta I transcribed from a readout, about a terrifying experience on a night shift
  • Ted’s Caving Page – a classic, and probably the best example of making me literally feel what was going on in the story
  • Human Nature – probably one of the best examples of a creepypasta I’ve seen, scares the shit out of me even after multiple re-reads
  • Goatman – this remains the only creepypasta to ever make me get up and turn the lights on after reading it
  • The Lost Town of Deepwood, Pennsylvania – long but worth the read, the imagery has stuck with me since I read it
  • The Thing That Stalks the Fields – because no list is complete without a terrifying, incomprehensible monster
  • Huntsville Camping Trip – an old one, but it’s stuck with me ever since I read it and still gives me the creeps
  • The Portraits – perhaps the most well-known on the list, but it’s short, sweet, still unnerving as hell, and remains my favourite classic
washingtonpost.com
U.S. strikes Syrian military airfield in first direct assault on Bashar al-Assad’s government
The operation is in retaliation for a chemical attack that killed scores of civilians.
By https://www.facebook.com/tgibbonsneff

The U.S. military launched approximately 50 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield late on Thursday, in the first direct American assault on the government of President Bashar al-Assad since that country’s civil war began six years ago.

The operation, which the Trump administration authorized in retaliation for a chemical attack killing scores of civilians this week, dramatically expands U.S. military involvement in Syria and exposes the United States to heightened risk of direct confrontation with Russia and Iran, both backing Assad in his attempt to crush his opposition.

The missiles were launched from two Navy destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean. They targeted an airbase called Shayrat in Homs province, which is the site from which the planes that conducted the chemical attack in Idlib are believed to have originated.

In comparison, the start of the Iraq war in 2003 saw the use of roughly 500 cruise missiles and 47 were fired at the opening of the anti-Islamic State campaign in Syria in 2014.

The attack may put hundreds of American troops now stationed in Syria in greater danger. They are advising local forces in advance of a major assault on the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.

The U.S. Central Command has had plans for striking the Syrian government for years and currently has significant assets in the region, enabling a quick response once a decision was made.

While the Obama White House began operations against the Islamic State in 2014, it backed away from a planned assault on Syrian government sites a year earlier after a similar chemical attack on Syrian civilians.

Tuesday’s apparent nerve gas attack in northern Idlib, with its widely circulated images of lifeless children, appears to have galvanized President Trump and some of his top advisers to harden their position against the Syrian leader.

The assault adds new complexity to Syria’s prolonged conflict, which includes fighters battling the Syrian government and others focused on combatting the Islamic State, which despite over two years of American and allied attacks remains a potent force.

Within the administration, some officials urged immediate action against Assad, warning against what one described as “paralysis through analysis.” But others were concerned about second- and third-order effects, including the response of Russia, which also has installed sophisticated air-defense systems in Syria, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The Trump administration’s position on the strongman appears to have quickly shifted in the wake of the chemical attack, as senior officials voiced new criticism of the Syrian leader.

Earlier Thursday, Tillerson suggested that the United States and other nations would consider somehow removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, but he did not say how. Just a few days ago, the White House had said that removing Assad was not realistic with press secretary Sean Spicer saying it was necessary to accept the “political reality” in Syria.

“We are considering an appropriate response for this chemical weapons attack,” Tillerson said in Palm Beach, Fla., where Trump was meeting Thursday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. “It is a serious matter. It requires a serious response,” he said.

The summit with the Chinese leader will continue Friday, and some U.S. officials believe the strike will also serve as a warning of U.S. willingness to strike North Korea, if China does not act to curtail the nuclear ambitions of the government there.

It was not immediately clear whether Thursday’s assault marked the beginning of a broader campaign against the Assad government. While Thursday’s operation was the first intentional attack on Syrian government targets, the United States accidentally struck a group of Syrian soldiers in eastern Syria last year in what officials concluded was the result of human error.

The Obama administration had insisted that Assad could never remain in any postwar Syria, and it supported rebel groups that have tried unsuccessfully to oust him.

A senior State Department official said Tillerson spoke on the phone Wednesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the chemical attack.

“We sought the Russian analysis or readout of what they thought had happened,” the official said.

It is unclear if the U.S. provided any warning to Russia about the attack on Assad’s military facilities.

The United States has a broad arsenal already in the region, including dozens of strike aircraft on the USS George H.W. Bush, an aircraft carrier that is deployed to the Middle East and accompanied by guided-missile destroyers and cruisers that can also launch Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Additionally, an amphibious naval force in the region includes the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit with Harrier jets and Cobra gunships. The Pentagon also has scores of aircraft in the region flying operations every day against the Islamic State group, including from Incirlik air base to the north in Turkey.

The attack appears to have involved only missiles. U.S. fighter planes, if used, would have had to contend with a modest web of Syrian air defenses and potentially more advanced types of surface-to-air missiles provided by Russia.

One of Assad’s more prevalent systems, the S-200, was used to target Israeli jets last month, but missiles were intercepted by Israeli defense systems. The S-200 has a range of roughly 186 miles, according to U.S. military documents, and can hit targets flying at altitudes of around 130,000 feet.

Russian S-300 and S-400 missiles, located primarily around Khmeimim air base in western Syria, have a shorter range than the S-200, but have more-advanced radar systems and fly considerably faster than their older counterparts used by Syrian forces. The S-300 has a range of roughly 90 miles and could also be used to target incoming U.S. cruise missiles.

Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview Thursday that he and Trump have discussed Syria in the past few days, but he said the president did not talk in particular about military options.

McCain, who has long backed a more aggressive response to the Assad government, laid out a short list of goals for United States strikes.

“Take out his air assets. No airplane should fly. No more barrel bombs. No more sarin gas,” the senator said.

McCain said he was glad to see Trump’s position on striking Assad changing.

“I know that he was deeply moved, as we all were, at the spectacle of this slaughter,” McCain said.

Part One: Awake

I was super in love with this prompt, and then it tried to kudzu its way out of my hands so that was a thing. So now it’s kind of… divided into 3 parts? Because this thing would’ve never seen the light of day due to me obsessively picking at it and going back instead of moving forward. By chopping it up it’s… somehow a lot easier to move forward. 

This will ideally eventually feature some of my headcanons about the fall of Overwatch, slightly modified to apply better to this particular fic B) Also mildly canon-divergent in regards to Mercy’s position and role in the story/organization, shh, don’t worry I promise I kind of know what I’m doing


2068 – OVERWATCH, ZÜRICH HEADQUARTERS

 

“The Iceland labs have gone dark, sir.”

Jack stood slowly from his desk, eyes slowly narrowing as the words sunk in, sent the gears in his head turning.

“What do you mean they’ve gone dark?”

Lab goes quiet, lights out, alarmed yelling, the first round of a firearm cracking into the darkness.

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stardusted  asked:

plance: lance overhears pidge talking to hunk about her crush on him :)

Plance is love, Plance is life. Bless you for this request!

Written as part of my 300 Follower Celebration! Thank you again :D



“Fine. But look, you can’t say anything to Lance.”

There were two things in this universe guaranteed to make Lance stop in his tracks: the appearance of someone hot, and the words ‘You can’t say anything to Lance.’ When both were a factor, well, it’d take a herd of charging weblum to get him to move.

Lance plants himself right outside the open hangar door and scoots as close as he can to the edge without being seen. If Hunk or, Alfor forbid, Pidge, caught him eavesdropping, there’d be hell to pay. Resisting is impossible, though, now that he’s heard his name roll off of Pidge’s lips. He would never let it be said that he left his curiosity unsatisfied.

Not that he’d meant to be listening in on a conversation not meant for him. He’d been working with Coran up on the bridge and Coran had tried reaching Pidge and Hunk down in the hangar. When they hadn’t responded - it was obvious why, now - Lance had generously volunteered to take a break from staring at system maps and ask Hunk and Pidge for the diagnostic readout Coran needed.

Given the circumstances, he doesn’t think Coran will mind waiting just a bit longer.

“I won’t say anything to Lance you don’t want me to,” Hunk says. Lance pouts - he knows Hunk’s loyal enough to keep his promise, but Hunk’s also his best friend. How is Lance supposed to ‘accidentally’ find out about whatever Pidge is telling Hunk if Hunk doesn’t let something slip?

He hears Pidge take a deep breath. “Okay,” she says.

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Flood my Mornings: Unimaginable
  • This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston.

@themusicsweetly​ asked:  For when Claire eventually is preggers, their first time with an ultrasound machine.

So here’s the thing: 1951 is at *least* ten years too early for fetal ultrasound. 

HOWEVER, this was one of the first FMM scenes I wrote after the reunion (even before this prescient ask!)  and at the time, I wasn’t even thinking about historical accuracy. Soooooo, I’ll ask you to put on your suspenders of disbelief (TM @stageandhistory​‘s teacher) and just enjoy the anachronistic ride. 

[Also, there’s a bit more of a time jump on this one than I normally go for, but I was feeling antsy to get to a landmark scene, so HERE WE ARE. (but I’ve got some planned flashbacks in the works for later, so don’t hesitate to request scenes from the months I passed over, if you’ve got a need!)]


Late April, 1951; Harvard University Hospital 

“Fine—Sweetheart—I’m fine!” 

The words were barely more than a muffled mumble into his shirt. Based on how tightly he was clutching me, I should have insisted to speak with him directly instead of leaving the message with the Fernacre receptionist; or at the very least, I should have been more emphatic with her that there was absolutely no emergency at hand. 

I hugged him tighter in reassurance. “I’m so sorry, darling—I truly didn’t mean to frighten you. Everything’s fine, I promise.” 

“But Nancy said ye were in hospital.” 

At the hospital—at Harvard—” 

“Aye, not your proper hospital—and I was in the furthest pastures—” he said in a rush, cupping my head hard. “It took them so long to ride out to track me down—that—and then the Traffic—I thought—the bairn—

God, and what must he have thought? With my being several weeks past six months, the same time at which—

“We’re fine, Jamie, I swear. See? We’re in the academic wing, not intensive care.” I pulled out of his arms and tugged him toward the open door nearby. “Come with me: I have something to show you.” Trying to suppress my grin, I ushered him into an empty lecture hall and closed the door behind us. 

Standing there, still in his work clothes and smelling of horse, Jamie was breathing heavily and looking as though he meant to either cry or fight someone or both. “Please say what’s happened so I can stop this aching in my chest.”

Despite his agitation, I managed at length to get him to sit in the professor’s chair. I leaned against the desk facing him, trying to keep back the storm of happiness. “You know I had my final examinations this morning?”

 A nod, a pause, and then a tentative, “…Did they go well?”

 “Very well, I think. But as I was gathering my things and headed out, my professor suddenly stopped me and asked if I’d be willing to assist one of the med-tech research departments with a demonstration. I was taken aback of course, but I trust Dr. Gordon—you remember, he’s the one that’s been so impressed and supportive?— so I was willing to see what was what, at least.” 

This exposition did not seem to have done anything to lessen Jamie’s tension; in fact, he looked downright ALARMED at mention of me participating in some sort of vague experiment. Well, so had I been! 

I went on, hastily. “And so he led me to the research wing and introduced me, and—And well, I called Fernacre as soon as they explained what it was that they were going to be testing out, because—Oh, Jamie, it would have been absolutely magical to show you as it was happening. But I managed to get the next best thing.” 

I handed him the glossy print, heart thudding. “It’s something like an X-ray, see? This was only a prototype—very few people in the world have used this technology.” He kept staring down, and I babbled anxiously to fill the silence. “It isn’t even a good likeness of the fuzzy readout I saw. I badgered someone to find a camera, and the flashbulb reflecting against the glass television screen makes it quite hard to see, and I’m sure the print itself isn’t great, either—I badgered another department to develop it for me quickly, so it’s barely more than a blur, but…”

For more than half a minute Jamie had stared down at it, turning it this way and that—

But finally, the image must have clicked into place, for he gasped and nearly dropped it. 

“You see it?” I was beaming, holding back tears. “Can you see?

“Is that…?”

Yes,” I choked out, “that’s him.”

So engrossed was Jamie in the image before him that he didn’t immediately seem to hear me. Then, he looked up so sharply it must have hurt his neck, blinking like he’d stepped into bright sun. “H—him??”

“You can’t tell in this shot,” I whispered, not meaning it to be a whisper, but so hoarse with feeling I couldn’t help it, “but the technician was certain.“

“We’re going—” Jamie was grinning like an utter addle-pated simpleton. “—to have a—a wee lad?

I nodded, smiling back but also weeping, lips pursed tight, and suddenly unable to speak at all through the lump of happiness in my throat.

“Oh, Claire…” Jamie was on his feet in a second, laughing and holding me as tightly as in the hallway, but this time in joy. “Oh, LOVE!” 

The next I knew, he was beaming into my eyes, holding my face. “I’d have been just as thrilled wi’ a wee lassie, mo chridhe, but….Jesus, God, to KNOW—!! It’s…absolutely miraculous.”

“Honestly, this is— unimaginable to me, too,” I whispered, leaning my forehead against his as I looked down at my belly (at my son!). “To be able to see an unborn child….To be able to see right into the womb without cutting! I never even dreamed of such a thing. Jamie, it…I saw him.” 

“And he’s—alright?”

“As far as they could tell.” I sighed and smiled, giving in. “Yes…yes, he’s alright.” 

If two sane people could be delirious with joy and relief, it was us. We must have looked quite out of our senses to any passerby, so intensely we were beaming and grinning and clinging tightly to faces and hands. 

Without preamble, Jamie stuck the precious photograph in his breast pocket, swept me up into his arms (ignoring any protest against handling my massive bulk), and settled back into the chair, cradling me in his lap. 

We sat there in beatific silence for I don’t know how long, with soft touches and wordless sounds of tenderness and awe. 

At last, Jamie simply couldn’t contain himself. “What will we name him? Our—son?” 

We hadn’t discussed names at all, to date—both of us perhaps afraid to tempt fate until the birth was closer at hand. But I had seen him, today—seen the outlines of his tiny feet move at the same exact moment I’d felt him kick—And it changed everything. There was still risk, and there was still fear; but the hope in me was glowing and radiating throughout my entire being. This child, this little boy, was alive and well. He would be well. And he needed a name. 

“Well, let’s see….” I beamed and traced patterns on Jamie’s shoulder. “I suppose we can’t have a Brian AND a Brianna.”

Jamie laughed, “No, indeed. The first Brian Fraser will get the big head up in heaven. Though what about your Da? Henry’s a good, strong name, aye? What d’ye think?” 

“I’d very much like to use it as a second or third name… but I can’t quite see it as his first.” 

“’His,’” Jamie echoed in a gleeful murmur. “…He’s a him.”

My delighted giggle hit me mid-kiss.  “Yes, darling,” I crooned against his lips, “he’s a him.” 

Jamie brightened. “Say, now, what about Robert? That was my wee brother’s name, and one of my Da’s as well.”

I must have made a face at this, for he smiled and rubbed my belly, leaning down to whisper confidentially, “Your mam doesna like your name one bit, wee Rabbie.”

I laughed and amended, fairly, “If you feel strongly about it, I might be persuaded. I’ve just—Honestly, I’ve never liked the name Robert. Robert…. ROBERT….” I tried the name several more times, making grotesque faces as I tasted the syllables. “No, sorry, just won’t do.”

Jamie wasn’t offended, and in fact, we both repeated the rejected name a few more times each, trying out ridiculous accents and intonations to completely rule it out as a frontrunner until we were little more than a mass of giggles there in the professor’s chair. 

Then, as if by magnetic force, we quieted and turned our eyes back to my belly—to our little him. 

We were still for a long time, both of us imagining we could see our son curled up asleep, as I had so briefly and hazily today.

“Lambert?” Jamie said. 

I smiled fondly, but shook my head.

“William?” I offered softly, a while later. “For your brother?”

Jamie made a sound of acknowledgment, thinking, but said nothing.

There was a bird singing outside the tall, sunny window. Leafy sun-shadows spangled the walls and a tiny breeze brought the scent of spring to surround us. 

And as a second bird chimed in outside our little haven, Jamie’s hand tightened lightly, significantly, on my belly, eyes shining. “What about…Ian?”

“…Ian…” I breathed back, putting my hand over his, feeling something settle perfectly into place. “Oh, yes, that’s….Ian…”

Not the blood-brother long-mourned: the brother of Jamie’s heart whose loss was still an open wound. They’d known each other all their lives; had fought together and defended one another, had been each others’ champions in battle and at home. And it struck me for the first time that Ian Murray was the only brother I myself had ever known, too. Ian had been a true kindred spirit, ever an ally in our den of blood-Frasers. And beyond that, Ian was—had been my friend. I missed his ready smile and his wit, his compassion….

Ian. 

It was painful—but perfect. 

“Ian…Henry,” Jamie murmured reverently. “A fine name.”

“Ian Henry…Fergus?…” I offered, my voice cracking.  

I felt the convulsion go through Jamie and I touched his face. I know, love. I know.

Lord, the grief—the grief of holding one son between us and longing for the one we’d left behind; and for Jamie, how much more raw that grief. For Fergus had been there with him for those two broken years, had been a joy and a comfort to him when little else could be; and we could never see him again. 

“Aye,” Jamie said at last, smiling weakly through reddened eyes. “Ian. Henry. Fergus. Beauchamp—”

Fraser,” we finished together in a whisper, all four hands covering our little boy. Life and loss, joy and mourning, so inextricably intertwined. 

There were tears in Jamie’s eyes, as there were in mine, and his voice was deep and husky with love as he looked down at our hands and rubbed gently. “You’ll do them all proud, Ian.”

And damn me, if our little guy didn’t kick, right on cue. 


Mirror of the Soul: Part 3 (Loki x Reader)

Note: Reader has the power to see people’s souls when they look in their eyes but doing so almost kills them. Please let me know what you think or if you want to be added to any tag lists!

Also, just saying, I have been this tired before and did spout some absolutely ridiculous things - I’m just glad it was to a friend who was equally as tired and thought everything I said made perfect sense!

Words: 1977

You can find the other chapters here: Loki Masterlist


You spent most of your time in the months that followed in Tony’s lab.

A few days after Tony had thrown biscuits around your room, the details of that moment had clicked in your brain. Somehow, you’d been able to meet your uncle’s eyes without any consequences. No pain at all. You’d not told him though. He didn’t need his judgement clouded by a fluke.

Whilst he seemed to be making progress - however painfully slow - you spent most of your days asleep on the small sofa in the corner of the room. For most of the experiments that your uncle ran you were actually rarely needed. He just sat talking to JARVIS, running hundreds of simulations.

When he did test his inventions on you, it was sadly never long before you ended up passed out on the floor or cradling your skull in pain. You’d had to limit the number of tests you performed as each failure had brought your heart closer to stopping. One disastrous attempt had ended with you blind to the world for an entire week. Despite this, you stayed by Tony’s side, always ready to give encouragement no matter how badly the tests went.

Occasionally, Bruce would join your uncle in his research but he never spoke to you. Not out of rudeness, of course. Aside from Tony, he was the only Avenger that seemed to understand the importance of leaving you alone. It didn’t mean he ignored you, though; every now and then he would throw screwed up pieces of paper your way with little messages scribbled across the pages. Your favourite messages were the ones were he complained about Tony. There were a lot of those.

The other Avengers still tried to engage you in conversation but, as bad as it made you feel, you’d started leaving the room whenever someone tried to talk to you. Contradictory as it may seem, around the Earth’s protectors you never felt safe. They were too kind, too caring. They made it too easy to forget how dangerous it was when you opened yourself up to the world.

               "Y/N! Wake up!“ Tony said, jumping up and down like a kid high on sugar. Shaking you by the shoulders, he practically screamed at you to get off the comfy sofa.

               "How long have I been asleep?” you grumbled, pulling the blanket over your head.

               "About ten minutes. Now come on!“

Trust Tony to finish his 48 hour long stint just as you drifted off to sleep. With a deep, unappreciative groan, you threw your heavy legs off the sofa and forced yourself to sit up. Rubbing your eyes, the world around you still blurry, you told him, "This had better be worth it.”

               "It will! I’m sure this will work.“ He dragged you over to his work bench and sat you on a tall stool. You had to lean back against the bench to stop your body from swaying in exhaustion.

               "Right, put these on for me,” Tony ordered, handing you a pair of glasses. The frames were attached to hundreds of wires which, in his haste, Tony had managed to pull into a very impressive knot.

He tapped away on his computer and the lenses soon acquired a blue tint. Looking over his shoulder, Tony asked you to describe the technical readouts that appeared inside the lenses. You didn’t understand a word you were saying but suspected it was good news when Tony poured himself a celebratory drink. “Okay, I think they’re ready. Do you want to try them out?”

You nodded nervously, now completely awake. Anxiously lifting your gaze to your uncle’s eyes, you stared on in amazement. Clear as day, Tony sat before you - without a shimmer! You focused harder, searching for any sign of the yellow mist that usually surrounded him but could find nothing. For the first time in weeks, you felt a stupid grin tugging at your lips.

The sharp lines on his face softened and his brown eyes shone in the artificial daylight of the lab. The transformation was stunning; he looked ten years younger, smiling in a way he’d not done since you were a child. However, moments later, a crinkle appeared on his forehead and you were blinded by a bright flash of yellow.

               "It’s not your fault, Tony. You’re getting there. This was a huge step forward! Y/N will understand. She knows that you are trying your best.“ Bruce’s soothing voice filled the lab and, even without opening your eyes, you knew that Tony would have visibly relaxed. "You’ll find an answer soon enough.”

               "I feel like I’m failing her,“ he admitted and you felt your heart break into a thousand tiny pieces. "Nothing I’ve tried will work as a long term solution and every time I fail Y/N has to suffer.”

Bruce was so busy trying to console his friend that neither man noticed you slip out of the lab through the back stairs.

               "JARVIS?“ you whispered as you made your way around the service corridors.

               "What can I do for you, miss Stark?”

               "Can you stop tracking me? I know Tony has you keeping an eye on me but I don’t want to be found. Not for a while, at least. I have to think.“

               "I can’t do that, miss.”

               "JARVIS, please!“ you begged the AI. You actually liked him a lot, being able to converse with him about all manners of topics without the fear of making eye contact. It had taken you a while to get used to chatting to an empty room but you’d quickly gotten over it and now looked forward to your daily conversations.

You could practically hear the computer trying to come up with a solution and swore you could hear a smugness in the metallic voice when he told you, "There are sensor blind spots in some of these service corridors. If you happened to be in one such spot when I ran a scan for your location, I would not be able to pinpoint your position. It would take hours to manually search the building.”

               "Thank you, JARVIS. Thank you so much,“ you murmured gratefully, heading off up the stairs. You found a small crook a few floors up, a tiny platform off the stairs with a window looking down on the city.

Lines of moving headlights flowed around the Tower like rivers of light. Occasionally you caught sight of bright bursts of colour, souls flaring up with emotion and calling out to you. It was too dark to see who the people were - and you were too high up anyway - but the busyness of the world below actually helped to calm your thoughts.

Hours passed and the sun soon began to shine. You were beyond tired; aside from your ten minute nap last night, and your brief stint of unconsciousness after the failed experiment, you’d not slept in almost 3 days. Even for you, surviving that length of time without rest was a stretch. However, the natural light kept you awake and you just drifted into a sort of trance.

               "Nice place you’ve found,” a familiar voice drifted down the staircase.

You turned your head over your shoulder to face Loki and mustered a tired smile. “I needed to be alone.”

               "I tried to visit you earlier. The AI said you’d left the lab so I went to your room but you weren’t there.“ A long silence stretched between you before Loki told you, "Everyone’s been trying to find you for hours.”

               "Remind me to thank JARVIS again,“ you whispered, rubbing your temples. Lack of sleep combined with a severe bump on the head from hitting the floor of the lab earlier had left you with a splitting headache. "Are you going to tell them you found me? Want to be the hero of the hour?”

Loki shot you a dark look that managed to perfectly convey his feelings on the matter. “No need. They’ll find you soon enough.”

               "You’re a good person, Loki.“ The world suddenly seemed to be at a strange angle but you realised after a long moment of confusion that that was because you’d slumped to the ground, your body no longer able to hold itself up straight.

Looking up at the god, who had moved down a few more steps to keep an eye on you, you muttered, "I think I’m very sleepy. Wouldn’t it be cool if the sky was purple? I love purple. There isn’t enough of it. Or stars. They’re only there for a few hours then poof. All gone. Wait. Not gone. Just hidden. It’d be so cool to be invisible.”

               "I’d say you’re probably right,“ he agreed, although you couldn’t be sure which of your statements the god was actually agree with. "I’d also say you are remarkably adorable when you’re tired.”

               "You know what else is adorable?“ you asked as you pushed against the concrete wall, twisting your body into another strange - yet surprisingly comfortable - position. "Tigers. They look all cute and fluffy but they’d bite off your hand in a second. I like that.”

               "Is that so?“ Loki asked, leaning forward on his knees. His eyes crinkled around the edges as he smiled, clearly amused by your exhausted ramblings.

               "You’re a bit like a tiger. Cute on the outside and all dangerous on the inside. Or maybe it’s the other way around… All dark and murder-y on the outside but soft and sweet inside. Like… Like whatever animal that’s like,” you said, descending into hysterics. “Like a burnt cake!”

Loki raised his eyebrows, muttering something along the lines of, “cakes aren’t animals” before shuffling down the final few steps to reach you. He brought his head down to yours, which was now basically supporting the entire weight of your body as you twisted into a know to rival a professional contortionist. “Do you want me to tell you a new story?”

               "I’m not a child,“ you said indignantly, collapsing into a heap. With a sigh, you stretched out across the step and looked up at Loki. "I’m sorry. I’d love to hear another story. Please?”

With a small smile, he began telling you about the time he and Thor had pretended to be the most beautiful goddess of all and her handmaiden in order to reclaim mjolnir after it’d had been stolen. “Of course, it was me that did all the work when it came to finding my brother’s hammer…”

               "I bet you looked amazing in a dress,“ you yawned, unable to keep your eyes open any longer.

               "You should have seen Thor,” Loki said fondly, absentmindedly tracing the edge of your jaw line with his fingers.

               "I love your stories,“ you told him. At least, you thought you said it out loud. You might have just thought it instead. Dreams and reality were getting a lot harder to separate now.

               "Tony! I’ve found her!” You heard a loud voice shouting somewhere nearby. It wasn’t smooth and silky like Loki’s. It was much higher. Much harder. Definitely a woman.

Rolling off your step, groaning as you hit the one below with a thus, you looked up and said dreamily, “Hey, Nat… You’re definitely a tiger.”

               "Oh, Y/N.“ She swept you up in her arms and threw you over her shoulder, jogging down a few steps until she bumped into your uncle. "She’s fine, just delirious. Nothing that a good sleep won’t cure.”

Tony nodded, his face pale with worry. He let Natasha carry you back to your room before tucking you into bed - but not before getting JARVIS to double check the bump on your head from earlier. When the scans came back negative for a concussion, Tony grabbed a spare pillow from the end of your bed and made himself comfy on the floor.


  @naniky  @justonemore-fic @aekr @marvel-fanfiction  @archy3001 @imboredsueme 

anonymous asked:

Heyy, can you give us some super fluffy headcanons??? 😜

I certainly can

1. On one of their missions together Han witnesses Leia have her favorite drink for the first time since Alderaan’s destruction (probs space hot chocolate let’s be real) and he doesn’t say a damn thing but literally for the next three years he always has the Falcon stocked with it and Leia doesn’t say anything either but they are both aware that Han is going out of his way on his supply runs to acquire a special treat for her on a regular basis

2. At some point Han and Leia get a pet rixx cat and Han pretends like he can’t stand it but secretly he approves of how protective it is of Leia and if anyone but him were to insult it he’d be real mad and he begrudgingly really has a soft spot for the thing and lets it sleep in the bed with him even when Leia isn’t there

3. Leia gets ridiculously ill on Hoth but won’t admit it and finally when she’s legit delirious with fever at her post Han is like this is ridiculous and takes her to the med center and then brings her back to the Falcon and tucks her super cozy into his bunk and spends the next three days taking care of her even when her fever breaks and she insists that she’s well enough to go back to her own quarters (which she doesn’t because really no one has taken care of her since Alderaan and she hasn’t been able to trust anyone to do so in so long and it’s very nice to snuggle up on the Falcon with Han bringing her tea)

4. A few weeks later, to his extreme displeasure, Han also gets sick and can’t live it down because the whole time he’d been taking care of Leia she’d been worried she’d infect him and he kept boasting about his perfect Corellian immune system. Leia awkwardly lurks around the Falcon trying and failing miserably to make him soup as a repayment and is so mortified by the results that she almost just hightails it out of there until Chewie sees her distress and helps her out and then she sheepishly presents Han with what is very clearly 90% Wookiee-prepared soup with a “don’t you dare say a word to make fun of me” glare. Han only lightly teases her but mostly he can’t believe that the princess tried to make him soup and really he made a pretty damn good choice sticking around, didn’t he?

5. At some point Han and Leia go on a mission together wherein OF COURSE for the sake of the mission they have to pretend to be married and so naturally at some point they must share a bed and Leia is Not Happy about it (on the inside it’s because she’s all kinds of anxious about it) and then she wakes up in the middle of the night and she’s cuddling with him and thinking he’s asleep she doesn’t move away and allows herself to enjoy being held by him and feeling how warm and nice he feels next to her but little did she know that she woke him up when she woke up and he knew that she chose to keep cuddling with him and go back to sleep

6. On one of his supply runs Han comes across a beautiful Alderaanian ring (think like a claddagh ring but the Alderaanian equivalent) and gets it for Leia despite the fact that it’s obscenely expensive–he doesn’t even know if it’s authentic but he knows an appraiser and eventually finds out it’s real–and agonizes over how to give it to her because he doesn’t want to scare her off by presenting her with a kriffing RING but how could he not have gotten it for her when it’s an Alderaanian object and she’s the PRINCESS of Alderaan and not only does she have no personal belongings to her name, but she also doesn’t have a single relic of Alderaan or her life before to remember her home by. So eventually he just settles on pretending like he picked it up on a whim and in his anxiety he kinda ends up shoving it under her nose and going “hey princess you want this?”

This is towards the end, leading right up to ESB but before the mission to Ord Mantell when they’re both wavering right on the edge with each other. Han is thrilled when Leia accepts it but rather put out that she doesn’t wear it ever. He tries to tell himself that she just didn’t want to lose it or that a military base isn’t the place to wear jewelry and really it’s way out of line for him to think she’d walk around wearing a ring from him on her finger who does he think he is anyways??? He’s just some scruffy smuggler and she’s LEIA. But then a few weeks later she leans down to look at some readouts over his shoulder and a dainty little chain slips out from under the collar of her shirt and his heart is soaring for the rest of the month when he realizes that she’s been wearing the ring he gave her on a little necklace over her heart. And he doesn’t know until years later that Leia cried the night he gave it to her, because her father had given her mother a ring just like it when he’d courted her, and her mother had worn it on her right hand until the day of her death.

7. Luke becomes hugely obsessed with this Oreo-type sandwich cookie after Han and Leia get married, and they’re always finding boxes of it in their apartment. Leia however isn’t a fan of the cookie part but she likes the filling, and Han only likes the cookie part, so when they eat the cookies Leia pulls them apart, licks off the filling, and then hands the cookies to Han to eat. Luke thinks it’s disgusting and refuses to be in their presence when they do it.

8. Leia’s feet are ICE COLD and she always puts them on Han in bed to warm them up and he always gives her a hard time about it but really he loves her tiny Leia feet and he gets hot under the covers a lot anyways so he doesn’t even mind

9. Han overhears a senior officer questioning Leia’s judgment when she volunteers Han to be her partner on an extremely dangerous mission and Leia very coldly and immediately says that she trusts Han and points out all the brave and heroic things he’d done for the rebellion despite not even being enlisted and that’s the first night he actually entertains the idea that maybe a princess and a guy like him really COULD…

10. Leia has these wispy, fluffy little baby hairs at the nape of her neck that Han thinks are literally the most endearing things he’s ever seen in his life and he loves playing with them when they’re snuggled up together. Similarly Leia thinks Han’s hair when it’s all messed up from sleeping is unspeakably attractive and even after years of marriage she loves seeing him like that both because it’s sexy and cute but also because of the intimacy in that she gets to see him in the morning when he’s all sleepy eyed and stubble and wild hair and groggy voice, instead of the sharp as a whip scoundrel that he is during other hours.