rock outcroppings

i--probably--hate--you  asked:

I would also like to point out that not all AZA accredited zoos are good and live up to the AZA standards. The Memphis, TN zoo is one of them. They're very lacking in terms of space for their animals. The cats are often in small enclosures and pace around so much that the ground has ruts in it from their pacing. I know that repetitive behavior isn't always a bad thing, but to the point of having ruts in the ground? The elephants also look malnourished. They have very saggy skin.

So, yesterday we were talking about how as a guest it’s really hard to make judgement calls about the animals in a zoo because you don’t know anything about their history or how they’re being cared for, and that that’s why it’s really important to ask staff when you’ve got concerns? This ask is a pretty good example of that. 

I reached out to some Memphis staffers after receiving this ask, and was totally honest about why: I said we’d been discussing zoos on my blog and that someone had written in with a couple of specific concerns. Within a day or two, I’d been put in contact with the correct keepers to get answers to my questions.  

What you’re likely seeing as abnormal pacing in the big cats is anticipatory behavior, since that’s a very common thing their animals do when they can see or hear keepers near their exhibit. Trails do wear down naturally in exhibits if animals have preferred walking paths, more so in wet periods such as spring, and in older exhibits the routes most commonly taken by residents are fairly well developed. Since you didn’t specify what species of big cat you were referring to, I wasn’t able to get more specific information, except that there is one big cat who does display some abnormal pacing behavior due to some of her history and that the staff are aware of it and actively working on it. 

I couldn’t find any good photos of their cat exhibits to embed in this post as an example, but what I did see when searching google for images is that almost all of the photos of their cats are taken on perches in the exhibit, such as logs or rock outcroppings. It’s important to remember that for large cats, vertical space is just as important a factor as horizontal space - an exhibit that seems too small in square-footage may in fact have a large amount of usable space comprised of climbing structures, hammocks, and hidden perches. 

As to the elephants, they have saggy skin because they’re, well, elephants - and in one case, one of the oldest elephants in North America. AZA also recently did a large elephant welfare survey that’s being used to improve their elephant care standards, and according to the scale for that study the elephant at Memphis are in good body condition for their age and size. What’s more, they’re in phenomenal health: the Memphis Zoo staffers have been running a metabolic study on the three elephant ladies at their facility, so they’ve got the data to back up that claim. 

I would hazard a guess that if you’d taken the time to ask any Memphis staffers while on grounds, or to reach out to their social media team with questions after leaving, you’d have gotten the same information that I did. I know people really want to think they can make informed judgement calls about the welfare of animals in zoos, but unless you happen to have personal animal management experience with that specific species, it’s probable that you’re going to be completely off-base. Especially at AZA zoos, assume there’s information you don’t have and something you’re probably seeing, and ask a keeper for clarification. 

What Goes Around...

The party is travelling through the desert after having “releasing” a Dwarf into our custody (via Diplomacy check), who convinced us he possessed a treasure map. After having failed a few attempts at stealing it off him by the rogue (me), we accept the task of just following him. The desert is as inhospitable as you’d imagine, with giant wurms and exploding cacti. In the middle of one watch, atop a rock outcropping, another wurm had circled our camp and woke the party up. It passed us by but made me paranoid, knowing then that they were not strictly diurnal. The rest of the party went back to sleep.

DM: During your watch Kev (the Dwarf) is sitting on the edge of the rock with the map.

Me: I walk up to him and grab his collar and fake push him, and pull him back saying, “Saved you!”

DM: He’s surprised and begins sniffling as he puts the map away.

Ranger OOC: Aww, you hurt his feelings.

Paladin OOC: Yeah man, wow…

Because my character decided to stay up he was fatigued the next day. I decided to role play it out and had my character nodding off on the horse, as it was led by the party’s dromedary.

DM: Make a listen.

Me: -fails-

DM: As you nod off you begin to feel yourself fall off the horse. As you snap awake to catch yourself, you see Kev pulling you back and the racing ahead on his camel with a grin.

Me: Haha, good one!

Me OOC: -crying on the inside-

“No.” The mer dumped the human - gasping, shivering, inelegant - on the precarious outcrop of rock. Around them, the waves frothed and crashed with the charge of a small army of white horses. “You are no good in water.” The mer poked their chest. “Clumsy, soft soft and only little teeth. You would last five minutes.”

“I didn’t do it on purpose!”

“Stupid as jelly.”

“Oi!” They never thought a creature that saved their life would be so rude.

New Depths

Nesta has a fear of drowning ever since the Cauldron. She didn’t imagine though that she would be put in a similar situation. Or that anyone would save her. But there is someone. And he’s not about to lose her again even if it could mean the cost of his wings.

“You’re life is more important Nesta,” Cassian replied evenly as he continued to swim them to a large rock. “The loss of my wings is nothing in comparison if I lost you.”

TAGS: fear of drowning, comfort

Nesta was falling. The braid she tied back early now whipped behind her with strands coming loose. She stretched her hands out as if they were like the wings of the Illyrians who stood near the cliff side.

For a moment the exhilaration of the fall made Nesta’s heart soar. It felt freeing.

The wind rushed around her and she could barely make out a familiar voice that roared her name at the top of the cliff.

Or perhaps it was her screaming. Because two of the Illyrian males she was sparring with had accidently knocked her off the cliff edge and sent her tumbling to the cold sea water that waited below.

Fear filled her veins as she saw the water rushing up as she fell at an alarming rate. Too fast for any of the Illyrians above to catch her.

Her feet dove into the water first followed by the rest of her body. The moment of impact was jarring. The frigid water stunned Nesta as she moved her arms to swim to the surface. Her panic to escape driving her upward.

Memories of drowning in the Cauldron made her pump her legs faster against the undercurrent that kept trying to drag her under. It felt like an eternity. The dark waters surrounded her and reminded her of darker memories.

Her head broke free in a splash as she struggled to stay above the churning water. She could only take in a few gasps before a wave crashed into her. It was difficult to determine which way was up or down as her body tumbled in the depths of the water. She was jerked forward in a current that swept her in an unknown direction.

With all the strength she could muster she attempted to swim, but was inexperienced. As a human there was never a need to learn since there were no oceans or deep rivers nearby.

Nesta’s lungs burned with the need to breathe as she saw the light of the sun break through the dark waves.

I can’t die like this again. I need to protect my sisters and fight for our people.

Those thoughts propelled her to keep trying to swim until she was able to make it above the water. She coughed up water and feebly attempted to make her way to one of the larger rocks that stood firm against the sea near the cliff. It was a miracle that she hadn’t struck one of them on her way down.

Except the waves were still brutally beating against her.

“Help-!” Nesta cried out before water splashed into her face and she was almost brought under again.

Someone please help me! Her mind screamed and her fear increased at the thought of drowning again.

Above she could hear voices yelling. The Illyrians were arguing and trying to tell someone not to jump.

But someone must have, because within seconds Nesta heard a splash near-by and a familiar male voice calling her name.

“Cassian!” Nesta tried to swim toward him. It was clear he was strong swimmer. He moved swiftly through the water. A determined expression and eyes hard set on Nesta as he closed the distance.

When one of his arms wrapped around her waist she made sure to hold on tightly with both arms interlocked around his neck. Her tears of relief mixed with the water splashing around them.

“I’ve got you Nesta,” Cassian repeated over and over as Nesta tried to choke back a sob. In his arms the waves didn’t seem so rough. She could almost have kissed him out of sheer joy if it wasn’t for the fact they were still wading in dangerous waters.

“Hang on and kick your legs so we can get to an outcropping of rocks. Can you do that for me sweetheart?” Cassian asked.

“I’m scared,” Nesta admitted in a cracked voice. Her thoughts went back to the cauldron. Of how she and Elain were tossed in to die. The water filling their lungs until it made them into something different. Turned them into fae.

“I know,” Cassian’s voice gentled. “I’m not going to let you drown. I promise.”

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Siren’s Gold Chapter 2

The adventure continues! Thank you all so much for the support and love, I’m so glad you love this AU as much as I do. Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we?

The other side of a chance encounter, and the first moments of a new beginning.

Read on AO3 HERE
McHanzo, Pirate McCree MerHanzo AU

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He’s only been walking for about a minute before something in the air changes. Frowning, Castiel Novak looks up from where he’s been watching his step to take a look at the copse of trees around him, shivering slightly against the wind. The rain has finally cleared to give way for sunset–gold light spilling across hill and rock. It’s beautiful in an ancient, abandoned sort of way… but something in the air has him alert and careful. 

This glen demands respect.

He pays special attention to his steps from then on, careful not to put his feet anywhere outside the marked paths. 

The more Castiel walks, the faster his heart beats and his body curls into itself, and suddenly, the nice Scottish man who picked him up on the side of the road and drove him to the fairie glen doesn’t seem so crazy.

“They’re there,” he’d said sagely, nodding up the road. “Ye canna see ‘em, but they are. And if they choose you, lad, well… ye best do whatever they want, because fairies are a fickle sort.“ 

Dunvegan, the faerie castle, is a big and imposing outcropping of rocks, and after seeing the old and new spirals on its other side, Cas carefully makes his way to the top. There are a couple of people making their way back down, and he nods to them as they pass. 

But to get to the top, he has to climb up a narrow passageway. He goes from thinking he can fit with his backpack, to being completely stuck.

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anonymous asked:

Hey if you have time: ReaderXChekov where reader gets injured on an away mission and has to go see McCoy but plot twist reader is afraid of doctors and tries to hide. Chekov finds reader and drags/coaxes them to med-bay and stays while they get treated and is in general a good partner and friend. Bonus points if McCoy is grumpy that they are being so affectionate while he is trying to work, but secretly is glad Chekov is there because he knows reader is scared of doctors.

Chekov X Reader – An Apple a Day

A/N – Writing for Chekov but thinking of Jaal in Mass Effect Andromeda.

Warnings – None.

Rating – T

Originally posted by mrsawkwardseb

There was no doubt about it. Being a red shirt officially sucked. Sure, you’d often heard jokes about it but you’d never actually believed it. Now, you were stuck behind a rock on a desert outcrop, shielding yourself from Klingon fire while Kirk and Spock did the same a few metres away. Ideally, you could have laid covering fire down all day until Scotty beamed you back aboard the Enterprise. The planet however, ruined that plan with its highly magnetic field, meaning that because of interference with the sensors, Scotty could only beam the three of you back if you were all grouped together; that meant you had to leave the safety of cover so as not to risk Kirk or Spock’s life. It’s not that you didn’t trust Kirk and Spock to have your back but being the only security member there left you wishing you were the one protecting your team, the way it was meant to be; after all, you were the best shot of the landing party.

I couldn’t have been more scientifically minded. Nooo, I had to decide punching things was more fun.” You grumbled silently, mentally preparing yourself for what was to come next.

At Kirk’s nod, you sprinted the daunting gap which had seemed pitifully small only a few minutes ago. Seconds before you made it to safety, you felt a stinging sensation under your ribs. You knew all too well the pain of a phaser shot and this most certainly wasn’t it. A risky glance at your attackers revealed that the Klingons were accompanied by some form of unknown animal. It was a creature the likes of which you’d never seen before, an iguana-like animal, about the size of a large German Shepard, that apparently spat some form of acid. You felt tugging on your arm and in the next instance, the three of you were back in the transporter room.

Kirk gave you a concerned once-over, his gaze lingering on your torn shirt, the bile had lightly burnt the skin underneath. You glanced down at the injury; fortunately, it wasn’t causing much pain past a light stinging.

“Spock, comments?” Kirk demanded, never looking away from you.

“The Klingons have been suspected of creating genetic hybrids for some time now, Captain. Lieutenant (L/N)’s injury appears to be the work of the first one we’ve seen; effects are unknown. It is advisable that the lieutenant is escorted to med-bay for immediate treatment and long-term observation.”

Kirk nodded at the practical analysis, meanwhile, deep-routed fear clawed at the back of your mind, making you nervous about what could come if you didn’t act fast. Hiding your reservations, you tittered a small laugh, Spock raised a curious eyebrow.

“Come on guys, a doctor for this paper cut? I’ve had worse injuries from falling over, I feel fine, really.” You grinned breezily.

“No, Lieutenant.” Kirk argued. “I want you checked over by Bones.”

You held up your hands in mock surrender. “Alright, you got it. I’ll go to med-bay right now if it puts your mind at ease. Still, I really do feel fine so it’d be a waste of your time for you to escort me when I already know the way.”

“You sure?”

“Stop fussing, will you? I’ll see you later.”

Before any more arguments could be made you ran out of the room, taking a left for the turbolift but changing direction as soon as you knew it was safe to. If you were going anywhere, it was straight to your hab-suite for a change of clothing. Once in the safety of your room, you glanced at the wound which had dried out rather quickly, you hid it with the new shirt and left quickly, heading to the one place you would fade into the background; Engineering.

“Vhat do you mean ‘not here’? Vhere else could (s)he be?” Chekov asked McCoy dubiously. He’d come to pick you up from med-bay as a surprise only to find a disgruntled McCoy arguing with Spock over the comm-link.

“I mean that (Y/N) is not in this room, nor has (s)he been here since the mandatory physical at the beginning of the year.” McCoy growled gruffly.

“But (s)he’s hurt, zhe Captain said so.”

“I’m sure (s)he is but I don’t have time to play a damned game of hide and seek on a ship this big. You want my advice? Get a tracking device. Better yet, check with Scotty, (s)he’s probably with him in engineering anyway.”

“Really?” Chekov looked hopeful.

“HOW THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW?” McCoy burst out irritably. “You’re not gonna find anything here, go ask somebody else and stop wasting my time, I do actually have other patients, damn it.”

Chekov knew better than to provoke McCoy further, he left the doctor alone and begun his search for you, trying to reach you through your communicator every so often but receiving no reply.

You didn’t remember entering the empty storage room, in fact, you didn’t remember much at all. All you could focus on now was the debilitating effect the iguana-dog had had on you; evidently, the bile it produced was a fast acting venom with a delayed start, not an acid. Knowing what had damaged you however didn’t help, what you needed now was a cure. You were currently experiencing a wide-array of symptoms, each worse than the last. It had started with mild nausea and sweating. Then came the dimming vision. After that, your breathing had become shallow and laboured. Even if you wanted to see a doctor now, which you didn’t, it wouldn’t be possible; small movements alone caused serious pain to flare through your body, as if your skin was on fire.

The next stab of pain caused you to wonder exactly how much time had passed, it had lost its effect at some point around the dimming vision. Had it been seconds or hours? Was it even the same day or had you slipped into a different one? How long did it take for the various new symptoms to occur?

At some point during your suffering, mild delirium set in. You were stuck reliving the previous battle, except, with each rendition, there was something else out of place. In one battle, you were walking on the ocean’s waves, in another you were fighting the people you’d lost through the years. Finally, you could hear echoes of things you’d heard before while you fired your phaser at imaginary foes. One echo however, was new, something you’d never heard said before. The familiar voice resonated within your thoughts, bringing you briefly back into reality.

“Pavel.” You mumbled upon feeling his arms wrap around you, raising you into the air; it felt vaguely like flying.

“Argh, you stupid, stupid… Hang on, McCoy vill fix zhis.” Chekov stressed frantically. He couldn’t believe his eyes, your skin was almost translucent, revealing the veins and arteries underneath.

“No.” You batted his chest lightly, barely a tap. “I’m fine… don’ need him.”

Chekov wasn’t listening, he was too busy trying to keep you steady as he ran the way to med-bay.

“Don wanna hurt ‘gain.” You argued bleakly through laboured breaths.

“He’ll make you better lyublyu (love).”

“…Docs ’re dangerous.”

“Not zhis one. I promise.”

Fresh waves of pain coursed through you, you writhed against Chekov who tightened his grip on you.

The only indication that you’d reached med-bay was McCoy’s exclamation of, “Good God man.”

“Doctor.” Chekov pleaded helplessly, so sure that he was going to lose the one person he truly loved aboard the Enterprise.

“On the bed.” McCoy ordered.

“Don’t leave.” You whimpered, using your little energy to grasp Chekov’s shirt.

“I’m here lyublyu (love), don’t vorry.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you’ll make my work much easier.” McCoy grumbled sarcastically, hiding his concern for you behind a disdainful tone.

Shouted words turned to fuzzy mumblings and then to nothing as your body finally gave in, though whether to exhaustion or medication, you weren’t sure. McCoy did his best to stabilise you, all the while issuing orders to Kirk and Spock through his communicator; if he was going to save your life, you’d need a different kind of help.

After hours of work, pumping you with endless hypos and chemicals, your survival became a waiting game, relying purely on the success of Kirk and Spock. Chekov stopped murmuring comforting words to you for the first time since he’d brought you in. Fresh tears fell freely from his eyes as he gripped your hand and steeled himself for the question he’d been dreading since the start.

“Vill-” He swallowed the lump in his throat. “Vill (s)he make it?”

McCoy sighed, lifting an uncomfortable hand to his face. “I don’t know.”

Although he’d been prepared for the answer, Chekov shuddered queasily. What he really wanted to hear was something along the lines of, “Yeah it looks bad now but it’ll be okay.” or, “(S)he’ll be fine after a good night’s sleep.”

It was foolish to wish for a lie but that was all he wanted to believe. Hearing the truth was acknowledging the likelihood of your death and that was something he simply couldn’t bear. After hearing that, Chekov couldn’t bring himself to ask anything else so he settled for whispering all his plans for the two of you in the future, slipping naturally into Russian as a small comfort to himself.

You struggled to open your eyes, squinting against bright light that forced you to keep them shut for a minute. You didn’t think you had ever felt worse, every muscle ached like it did after intense training, your mouth held the after-taste of vomit, and you could feel extra pain where you knew several hypos had been used; on top of all that, there was a heavy weight on your thighs and you wondered briefly if you’d been paralysed. You fought against the light again, forcing your eyes open until they adjusted. If you’d had the energy to smile, you would have, Chekov was sat on a chair next to your bed, his head was resting on your legs and his usually neat hair was ruffled all over the place.

“Glad to see you’ve joined the land of the living.” Nurse Chapel beamed at you, bringing a large glass of water with a straw in it.


Nurse Chapel help up a hand. “No talking. I expect you to drink that first and then you’re going to let me run some tests; when I’m done, you can talk, understand?”

You bobbed you head lightly, instantly regretting the headache it brought with it.

“Good. Glad we’ve come to an agreement.” She passed you the water, making sure you were taking steady sips before scanning your body and talking again. “You know, you’re lucky you got me instead of Doctor McCoy. He’s worked on you for almost 60 hours straight and let me tell you, he’s furious; still, underneath all that crabbiness lies a heart of gold, if he yells, it’s because he cares. Now tell me, do you remember what happened?”

Disjointed memories of your delirium came to you, the only true one being of the iguana-dog. You put down the now empty glass and cleared your throat, ready to test your voice. “Venom?” You croaked.

“Yes, venom that you foolishly tried to hide. Venom that we didn’t have a cure to.”


“Spock and Kirk had to ‘liberate’ one of the creatures that did it from the Klingon camp so we could synthesize a cure; I imagine they’ll want words with you too.”

You cringed, the thought of a telling off wasn’t appealing, surely the venom had been enough of a punishment already.

“Don’t worry.” Chapel smiled. “They won’t get to my patient until you’re fully recovered.”

You silently prayed that wouldn’t be for a long time so you could put off the punishment. “What about the iguana-dog?”

“Iguana-dog? Oh, the Triffid that poisoned you?”

You raised an eyebrow at the name.

“Yes, that’s’ in the animal lab being examined, though it made quite the effort to get to you. Spock believes that the scent the other Triffid made the creature friendly towards you; it’s tried to attack everyone else on the ship you know.”

“I always did want a pet that could kill me.” You joked, lying back uncomfortably.

“Well you’ll have to talk to Kirk about that, for now rest, it’s been a long-”

Chekov stirred, mumbling a tired, “Lyublyu (love).”

Chapel sighed sympathetically, “I’ll give you two five minutes together, any more than that and I’m fetching McCoy.”

Chekov stared blearily after her before coming to his senses and turning his attention to you. “(Y/N)!” he grabbed hold of you enthusiastically, quickly letting go when you cried out in pain.

“Shit, do you need a doctor, vater, sleep, tell me and I’ll get help.” He hovered uneasily, clearly ready to run wherever you needed.

“It’s okay, jus’ need a little rest and I’ll be right as rain.”

Chekov stared wide-eyed, unsure of what to say next. He was past anger and elation; right now, he just wanted to care for you and make your recovery his number one priority.

“Thanks for staying with me.”

“Lyublyu (love), I’m never leaving.”

“Good luck with that, five minutes and Chapel gets McCoy to throw you out.”

“I’d like to see him try.”

You managed a weak laugh at Chekov’s bravado, he was swelling his chest out to look bigger. “Easy there Rambo, McCoy would wipe the floor with a toothpick like you. What’s say we leave the fighting to a pro like me?”

“Leave zhe fighting to you?” Chekov tutted. “Zhat’s vhat got us into zhis mess.”

“Alright, alright, then you think you can stay on guard duty while I sleep? Who knows what kind of experiments McCoy’s ready to try when I nod off.”

“He vould never.”

“Wanna bet? I hear he’s pretty pissed at me.”

“(Y/N) please, zhe whole ship is pretty pissed at you.”

“Oh yeah? What about you?”

“I’m zhe vorst of all, unfortunately I’m stupid enough to love you.”

You grinned and continued the conversation, quickly losing track of time. Nurse Chapel watched through the window in the adjacent room while McCoy complained at her about anything and everything he could think of concerning you. “-and on top of that Chekov’s still in there and I know he won’t (Y/N) leave to do his damned job; that’s distraction in the workplace.”

“Oh hush.” Chapel chided. “We both know you’re glad (s)he’s not alone.”

McCoy blustered. “No. I’d be glad if the idiot didn’t fear doctors, I’ve never heard of anything so ridiculous in all my years.” He kept complaining while rifling through drawers, making himself look busy as Chapel listened; she shook her head and continued to observe you, letting McCoy get all his ranting out before he could get to you, though she feared you would still get an earful anyway.

Canal Rocks, Yallingup.

The image below is of a stunning granite outcrop, “Canal Rocks” located in the Maragret River region of WA. Located around 3 hours south of Perth, it forms part of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.

The rocks extend out into the ocean, and the force of the waves have hollowed out a natural canal. A bridge has been constructed across the the smallest part, allowing visitors to gain the best view of the rocks.


Image: Frances Andrijich

Siren’s Gold, Chapter 3

Author Notes: Alright y’all, here’s some more. Sorry it took so long. This is Chapter 3 of the Pirate AU fic. I hope you all enjoy it! I’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to leave a reply or shoot me a message!

Read it on AO3 here
Ship: Pirate McCree/MerHanzo

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Is That a Yes?

Words: 1,607 

Because it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I wrote a thing.

Hanzo tilted his head, staring at the slim box McCree had shoved into his hands before he could even say hello. He found himself confused for a moment as he tried to think of a reason for the cowboy to be bringing him a gift before recalling the date. He bit the inside of his lip before looking up to meet McCree’s eyes. “I did not get you anything.”

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Dolly Sods sprawls across a high, wind-swept plateau of the Allegheny Mountains in the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia.  For me, it’s a mystical and primeval place, a connection point between the intimate and the infinite, between small miracles incubating in the cooling embrace of its sphagnum bogs and the great unfolding vistas of its heath-covered plains and their dramatic interplay with the sky.  It’s a land defined equally by flagged, stunted spruce scratching a living from bare rock and great outcroppings of sandstone pockmarked by quartz, the sedimentary bones of ancient Earth, bleached and laid bare by wind, rain and fire.

So it's mermay

Here’s some stovetuna babs for you

I actually abandoned this story awhile ago but decided to spin it into a oneshot for y'all


Steven had heard of orcas and their mer counterparts, but only in stories. For a mershark living in the pacific reefs, the idea of a whale or merwhale that could tip over and eat a white shark sounded a lot like a scary bed time story for pups. For all intents and purposes, Steven didn’t believe such things.

Imagine his surprise as he stared into the eyes of a terrrified merorca.

The situation as it turned out was fairly simple, Steven had journeyed to the east side of the farthest island off the reefs for privacy. It was late spring and being surrounded by pups all day was exhausting. A leisurely swim would do him some good. He stayed closer to the surface watching the bright moon rise and be surrounded by stars in the pitch blackness of night. It was calm and pleasantly quiet. The gentle current kept water flowing over his gills allowing Steven to slow and enjoys the warmth of the pacific. He stayed like that, floating in the open water until a large and blunt force plowed into him.

Steven panicked as the force of the crash tipped him upside down. His breathing stuttered and Steven could feel his senses numb from the trance-like affect. For a moment Steven believed he would suffocate, out in the open water, where no one knew where he was. It was a chilling and lonely thought.

A voice was muffled in his ears and something, or someone pulled Steven forwards. There was a firm grip on his shoulders and the muffled voice kept speaking. Through his clouded vision, Steven could make out a black lined figure. Blinking Steven realized it was a mer.


“Wha? Who are you?” Steven asked with his senses back, the white mershark was annoyed. For all the open space there was this mer chose to ram into him?

“I-I’m sorry I didn’t mean t-to…” The other mer looked quite skittish. Warm brown eyes looked back constantly. He was shaking slightly, Steven noticed, and would look back as if watching for something. In fact now that Steven was able to get a look he realized.

It was a merorca.

A very small one in fact. The merorca was chattering nervously about something. Steven really wasn’t paying attention although he should be.

“Aren’t whale mers supposed to be as big as their counterparts?” The mer stopped, looking at Steven with a petulant look of frustration. “Well yeah-”

“Because I’m a white shark and your smaller than me.”

“I don’t have time for this!” The shout echoed out through the open ocean. The mer yelped covering his mouth. He was shivering all over. Steven swore he might cry. What could scare an orca to the point of tears? The thought was interrupted by a low groan. It was loud and off putting. Whatever creature made it was obviously angry. Or hungry. Or both.

Steven grabbed the merorca’s arm and bolted. Racing away Steve guided them to a deserted rock outcrop. There was a small cave there that had been empty for years. They could hide there.

Steven dragged the mer into the small cave pulling him close as he dug himself into the corner and motioned for the mer to stay quiet. He was still shivering. They waited anxiously as the huge monster passed. Steve could feel the sheer power of its presence.

At least an hour or so went by before Steve dared to speak.

“What exactly did you do to anger that thing?” His voice was quiet just in case. The mer orca was still shaking and didn’t answer.

“Uh, my names Steve. What’s…yours?”

“Mhm tony.” Was the mumbled reply. Steve smiled.

“It’s nice to meet you, tony. So what exactly happened that made that thing chase you?” Tony laughed on a broken sob. He had stopped shivering but still clung to Steve like a life line. Steve found that he didn’t really mind.

“It’s uh, a really long story…”

Steve smiled relaxing against the smooth wall of the cave.

“I’ve got time.” Tony blushed.

anonymous asked:

Can we get more Collision Course?

More than happy to oblige. 

- Mod Lenny

Collision Course - Part Seven

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six

The morning they were supposed to leave, Claire emerged from the cave to wait for Frank and help Murtagh and Jamie ready the horses. Frank had been quieter the last few days and despite her meager efforts to get Jamie alone again, she hadn’t succeeded and wouldn’t have known what more to say to him if she had; she just… wasn’t ready to say goodbye––didn’t know how to say goodbye.

Murtagh was busy loading the horse that he would ride with the necessary provisions for the few days it would take them to reach Craigh na Dun. Claire’s medical kit was already strapped into place on her horse.

“It occurred to me,” Murtagh said, not turning his head from his task as she quietly approached, “I ought to have asked if yer man would be able to handle the reins wi’ his arms and hands bundled as they are.”

“Oh…” Claire frowned in thought. “You’re right… He’ll be able to hold them but not tightly––not enough to direct the horse very effectively, I’m afraid. And he’s not a very strong horseman to start,” she added in a lower tone on the off chance Frank had succeeded in readying himself for their journey. Jamie had sacrificed his coat and a spare shirt to help Frank appear less obviously out of place––though there was little that could be done about his trousers; Frank had no interest in donning a kilt even if there had been one to spare and seeing Frank in a Fraser or MacKenzie tartan had been more than either Jamie or Murtagh was willing to suggest.

“Ye’ll need to have him ride wi’ you then,” Murtagh declared with a nod. “We’ll no need the third horse then. I’ll leave him hobbled wi’ a note for Jamie to find when he comes back later.”

Claire’s head jerked up. “He’s not coming back before we go?”

“Nah. The lad needs to get his head right before he goes down to the house. Ye ken what he faces there, no?”

The home and remaining family he hadn’t seen in four years; it had been one of the things he’d talked about most in the brief time between their wedding and this mess. There had been pain when he talked about it with her and told her what Lallybroch was like. He had been proud when he told her she was officially Lady Broch Tuarach and that he would do whatever it took to clear his name so they could live there without threat or shame.

Now he would be taking that step alone… and with the threat looming over his head more darkly than ever. How long would it be before Captain Randall had his way and the English soldiers descended on Lallybroch again to search for him?

“He… he can’t stay long,” she murmured. “It won’t be safe for him here; it’s––”

“He’ll only stay till I get back to let him know ye’ve made it safe,” Murtagh assured her with an uncharacteristic gentleness. For a moment she thought he might reach out to comfort her in a more tangible fashion but instead his face reddened and he turned back to the ropes that would keep their bedding on his horse. “It’ll be a danger to go back to Leoch after that, too. Might be able to convince him to head to France again––or maybe to his grandsire at Beauly though that’s no likely.”

“I feel absurd,” Frank declared as he emerged from the cave.

The stress of the two weeks since he had inadvertently traveled through the stones had taken a heavy toll on Frank. He hadn’t been able to bathe properly and lying on a dank and dusty cave floor hadn’t done him any favors; a layer of grime helped balance out the pallor left behind by the fever that still rose and fell irregularly. It had affected his appetite so that his already thin face appeared drawn and gaunt, the natural lines about his mouth and across his forehead emphasized in a ghastly way thanks to the shadow of the uneven growth of beard on his chin and cheeks.  Jamie’s coat and shirt were too big and too long even with the remnants of his own clothes beneath. His trousers––previously gray––had become the same muddy brown as the ground he’d been sleeping upon and would continue to sleep upon until he made it back through the stones.

“Ye look absurd,” Murtagh agreed with Frank, frowning as he glanced the man over. “D’ye need a hand to get up or can ye manage?”

Frank rolled his eyes as he strode over to the third horse.

“Not that one,” Claire explained. “Your hands; it could be dangerous for you to try the reins. I’ll ride in front and you’ll just need to keep your seat. Murtagh has most of the supplies so he should bear our combined weight without incident.”

Murtagh gave Claire a leg up once Frank was comfortably seated. She felt him wince as she jostled him, settling herself in and taking up the reins, but a moment later his arms had slipped around her waist to help with his balance. His thighs pressed against hers through the layers of her skirt and there was the unshakable awareness of something at her back but it made her want to lean forward and shy away, untrusting.

“We’d best go lass,” Murtagh said, leading the way down a path that was shallower than the way they’d come. “We’re taking the long way round and staying as clear of the main road as we can get wi’out losing our way.”

“You’re sure he knows where he’s going?” Frank inquired quietly in Claire’s ear.

She snapped the reins and their horse started forward after Murtagh.

“Yes. And I trust him with both our lives. Be sure to let me know if you need to rest; it won’t be easy terrain and it’s more tiring to just sit there than you realize,” she advised him.

Murtagh had consulted Jamie on the best route to take through the Lallybroch lands, where to cross back into MacKenzie territory, and how to skirt the field at Culloden Moor to get round to Craigh na Dun without exposing themselves too obviously.

Jamie saw the horses carefully picking their way up and out of the valley from his own perch on a rock outcropping similar to the one that concealed the cave and knew that whatever danger he’d been in of breaking down and begging Claire to stay had passed. But there was no relief in the knowledge, only the continued sinking in the pit of his stomach. Surely, whatever it was inside him that was falling would hit the bottom sometime soon; he would be able to begin crawling up and out of this misery at some point, wouldn’t he?

He waited until they had long disappeared before tracing his way back to the cave and the remnants of their camp. Murtagh had left plenty for him to finish clearing up for which he was thankful; it gave him something mindless to do while he waited to stumble across some semblance of meaning. It took longer to clear away the evidence of their fire limited to one hand as he was. Claire had given him instructions for caring for the injury to his hand; he was on his own as concerned his less visible wounds.

Jamie hadn’t expected the horse to still be there waiting but Murtagh had left his note prominently pinned to the horse’s mane with one of Claire’s hair pins.

Frank cannot ride alone so only need two horses. Will not be able to go fast so four days to the hill. Leaving Dòchas for you. I shall meet you at Lallybroch in one week’s time if I don’t see you sooner. M

Jamie crumpled the note in his good hand and clenched his teeth, silently cursing his godfather for tempting him like this. Dòchas was easily the fastest of the three horses and with just Jamie to carry––despite his considerable size––it would not take long to catch them up and Murtagh also had laid out exactly how long he had to change his mind.

“I said what I needed to say to her,” Jamie told Dòchas in an effort to convince himself. “It’s no my decision and she’s made hers and that’s that.” He brushed his hand down the horse’s neck then reached for the bridle to guide her down the slope toward Lallybroch. Seeing Jenny again and learning all that she’d suffered in his absence wouldn’t hurt nearly as much as it would have before losing Claire had left him so numb––there was that to be thankful for, at least.

With every step toward Lallybroch, he tried not to calculate how far they would have gotten, how long it would take to reach them if he left just then.

“Jamie!” He heard Jenny’s familiar voice calling and it startled him out of his reverie. He couldn’t see her but he’d distinctly heard her calling him so she must have seen him.

“Jamie, ye rascal,” she scolded––she must be on the other side of the gate putting something away. “Where have ye been and just what have ye been gettin’ into? Dinna look at me like that.” A child’s giggle stopped Jamie in his tracks. “Ye’re in for a hidin’ if ye dinna get inside to Mrs. Crook for a right washin’ ‘fore supper. Go on, now.”

She hadn’t seen him and hadn’t been talking to him at all. Confusion and a place to put his anger pushed him to finally step through the gate and into the yard, his jaw clenched as he saw a small boy with dark hair vanish into the door leaving Jenny behind wiping her hands on her apron while a basket of dirty laundry sat on the ground beside her.

She looked up and smiled, overcome for a moment, before his dour expression sank in and her own brow knitted in confusion.

“Jamie? Is… What are ye doin’ here? We had word from Murtagh that ye’d made it safe to Leoch but nothin’ about you coming home… Not that ye’re no welcome,” she added hastily, her relief at seeing him alive again overpowering her cautious edge.

“And just who might this ‘we’ be?” Jamie asked, his own edge sharp and at the ready. “Ye thought Dougal wouldna tell me about yer wee bastard there? Hmm? At least he had the decency no to tell me that ye’d named the lad for me.”

Jenny’s good humor faded fast. “Dougal MacKenzie?” She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. “And just what would he ken about it? He’s no set foot here since Father passed and good riddance. Or are ye truly prepared to take the word of our dear uncle over that of yer own sister?” she challenged. “My wee Jamie isna a bastard and that’s the last I want to hear on the matter or ye can turn yer sorry arse around and leave again, James Fraser. We’ve managed wi’out ye for four years and this is the note ye care to return on?”

“Jamie?” Ian called from across the yard.

Jamie’s face went momentarily slack as he saw his friend throw down the piece of horse tack he’d been carrying in order to hurry over faster.

“Yer brother-in-law,” Jenny informed him with smug satisfaction before Jamie met Ian halfway and wrapped his friend in a hug.

“We werena expecting to see ye anytime soon,” Ian commented. “Was it you who was stayin’ out in the woods up near that old hunting cave? I told Jenny I thought I saw smoke out that way but she… Are ye all right, Jamie?”

“Aye,” Jamie croaked and nodded, looking down in an attempt to blink the tears back. “I’m fine. And aye, it was me out at the cave. Something… something happened and I had to find a safe place for a few days––didna want to put anyone here in danger if it could be helped,” he rambled as he turned his back on both his friend and his sister to Dòchas leading her toward the stable around the other side of the house.

“So whatever danger it was it’s passed now?” Ian squinted at Jamie.

“For now. English soldiers might be by in a few weeks lookin’ for me but Murtagh will be back and we’ll be gone again by then,” he told them, for Jenny had followed the men as Ian bent and picked the dropped equipment up again.

Why will there be English soldiers lookin’ for ye this time?” she asked none-too-gently.

“I dinna want to talk about it,” Jamie responded with enough force––and obvious pain––to put the matter to rest for a while. “I just… I need to wait for Murtagh.”

He lead Dòchas into a stall passing between Jenny and Ian on his way. Ian shook his head at Jenny and she clenched her jaw but nodded; her brother appeared to be even more altered than what Ian had told her he’d witnessed in France after the death of their father and she would get to the bottom of it sooner or later.

Oh man oh man, you guys. I am OVERJOYED to talk about this! <3

Jaal’s first “oh, damn” moment came during the initial excursions on Havarl. He, Vetra, and Gemma had been slogging through some dense plant growth for hours when he spotted a shortcut from his childhood. It involved a lot of climbing, and Vetra gave him a (gentle) hard time about it, but what Jaal remembers is Gemma staring up the incline, a little frown on her still-strange face. When he asked her what she was doing, she said “I’m trying to figure out if I can do it in four boosts, or three”. Then she grinned at him, and said “I bet three,” and took off. He watched her jet to the first outcropping of rock, catch it, and leverage herself up, and then keep going. 

She made it in three, and laughed when she reached the top. 

He lost his handhold just before he reached her, the rock crumbling under his hand, but Gemma was already there, so fast he never even knew she had moved, and she had her hand locked around his wrist before he could yell for help. And to this day, he remembers the jolt that went through him at the contact, and how her grip did not falter – and how bright her eyes were as she pulled him up. Oh, he thought. This feels familiar. 

No, he added, only to himself, when Gemma – this alien woman – grinned up at him, this feels good. 


Gemma’s moment came later; it was seeing him on Aya, after they rescued the Moshae. She found him on a balcony, looking out over a forest so green it hurt her eyes. For the first time since she woke up, she had a moment to pause, and breathe, and not worry about getting attacked, and she was happy to just bask in the sunlight and the rustle of wind through the leaves with a friend. 

She would have been content to stay quiet – Jaal didn’t owe her conversation after all her prodding back on the Tempest and in the Nomad – but he started pointing out the farms where he had worked as a teenager, his favorite place to watch the sunset, the races he and his siblings used to run near that river to the west – and she felt every knot in her spine coming undone. 

He spoke with so much love for everything around him, and Gemma was so tired and lonely and hating being either of those things that she started crying. She’d always been one for a good stress-relief cry, but this was exhaustion, and longing for home, and grief, and the pressure of knowing everything depended on her. 

She tried to keep quiet about it – not really good diplomacy to start bawling in public, especially if you were the damn Pathfinder – but when Jaal noticed, he just put his arm around her shoulders and told her no one would shame her for this, of all things. 

Gemma tried to make a joke – cover my back for a few minutes till I stop looking like a boiled tomato, okay? – but he was looking at her so sincerely, so gently, that she just nodded and maybe – maybe – leaned into him a little. Jaal was alien, half his people wanted to kill her, and she didn’t really blame them – but he was warm, and solid, and he didn’t let go till her tears were done. 

anonymous asked:

It’s kind of an unspoken rule for us mermaids to not reveal outselves to humans, but I’ve been watching you work as a life guard on my beach and I think it’s about time I try this “drowning” thing you humans do that always brings you into the water

I cannot resist mermaids!

How Big, How Blue

There was something odd about the human.

He’d managed to startle her the first time she’d seen him. In her habitat, a place where he should be the one lacking in grace. It had been very late, the skies dark and the moon, a few days shy of full, the best illumination. She’d ventured close to the surface knowing that the humans would have long since retreated from the ocean.

They had such trouble with it even during the day when the sun shone and warmed the water, forever shrieking and splashing and hopping out to apply that odd white paste only to hop in again and go through the same routine. Once night hit and temperatures cooled they preferred to stay on the shore, light their fires and cook their food on sticks while huddling close together under piles and piles of fabric.

At a young age Caroline had taken a liking to their music. She took every opportunity she could find to listen to it, often found herself humming along and swaying, taking care to keep herself obscured either by drifting just below the surface or hiding below the docks.

The evening she’d first encountered the human who’d piqued her interest she’d been doing just that, floating on her back to keep her bright hair obscured. There were only a few people out that night, she could see faint white clouds every time she exhaled. Her eyes had been closed so she’d felt the disturbance in the water before she’d seen it and had immediately submerged herself with an ungainly splash, slipping deep into the water until he hands were brushing the sandy ocean bottom.

Wide-eyed she’d watched as a human passed over her, his long limbs cutting through the water in powerful strokes.

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Rebelcaptain Celebrity Pretend Relationship AU || Poultry Edition, Part 2: Ralph the Duck

Jyn reeks of mud and algae and she can’t wait to just get in the shower, put on the fluffy terry cloth robe hanging on her bathroom door, and fall face first into her bed. She’s bone tired, covered in dirt, and she’s still cold from shooting all day, alone, and she swears, if Cassian or anyone else bothers her or keeps her from getting her beauty rest…

“What happened to you?” Cassian looks up from his spot on the porch at their cottage at the woodsy B&B in Wisconsin. He’s wrapped in a blanket, mug of tea in one hand and a script in the other. His feet are bare, toes pressed up against the wicker table between himself and the railing.

She trudges up the stairs and frowns.

“Long day?” he asks.

She rolls her eyes and rubs her sore shoulders. “It’s Draven. He of the ‘five hundred takes and settling in the first one he shot five months later.’ He had me climbing this rock outcropping and jumping from it over and over again. Then I had to fall into the lake for no reason except to ‘try it.’ I smell like a fish kill. And make-up is going to have a hell of a time covering up my bruises tomorrow. Here, look at this.” She walks over so that she’s a foot away and pulls up the hem of her shirt to show him the already purpling bruise rising just above her hip bone.

He reaches out his hand, as though to touch it, then seems thinks better of it and says, “Maybe put some ice on that?”

Embarrassment roils through her. She hadn’t meant it that way, but she realizes too late how it is a gesture that is just too familiar, and at the obvious rejection she lets the fabric drop, turning her head away to head inside.

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