sheet metal plate

Can You Think Yourself Into a Different Person?

by Will Storr, Mosaic Science

For years she had tried to be the perfect wife and mother but now, divorced, with two sons, having gone through another break-up and in despair about her future, she felt as if she’d failed at it all, and she was tired of it. On June 6, 2007, Debbie Hampton, of Greensboro, North Carolina, took an overdose. That afternoon, she’d written a note on her computer: “I’ve screwed up this life so bad that there is no place here for me and nothing I can contribute.” Then, in tears, she went upstairs, sat on her bed, and put on a Dido CD to listen to as she died.

But then she woke up again. She’d been found, rushed to hospital, and saved. “I was mad,” she says. “I’d messed it up. And, on top of that, I’d brain-damaged myself.” After Debbie emerged from her one-week coma, her doctors gave her their diagnosis: encephalopathy. “That’s just a general term which means the brain’s not operating right,” she says. She couldn’t swallow or control her bladder, and her hands constantly shook. Much of the time, she couldn’t understand what she was seeing. She could barely even speak. “All I could do was make sounds,” she says. “It was like my mouth was full of marbles. It was shocking, because what I heard from my mouth didn’t match what I heard in my head.” After a stay in a rehabilitation center, she began recovering slowly. But, a year in, she plateaued. “My speech was very slow and slurred. My memory and thinking was unreliable. I didn’t have the energy to live a normal life. A good day for me was emptying the dishwasher.”

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“I have failed.”

That is probably Cassini’s last thought.

Earth gave her the specific instructions of:

  1. Keep pointing the main antenna toward Earth
  2. Run eight science equipment continuously
  3. Relay data – telemetry and sensors – in real-time

Cassini fought to maintain attitude, she fought so hard she managed to keep pointing her antenna to Earth thirty seconds longer than expected.

But then, the friction against Saturn’s atmosphere overheated her components. The outer shielding – flimsy sheet of gold-plated metal – passed the vapor point and sublimed into gas. Exposing the cables, which soon thereafter overheated and vaporized.

She failed #2 ask. She frantically switched to backup equipment. They are all gone.

The friction became much greater; her reaction wheel could no longer cope. Her thrusters are firing full time. Primary thrusters, years ago retired, pressed into service. Fighting, raging against the oncoming atmosphere.

And losing.

The propellant tank overheated and starting to rupture. She started to tumble. She was failing the #1 ask.

Her brain went into overdrive, trying to find solutions to her situation.

But there was no solution this time. She had tried everything, and came up empty.

While her antenna was still somewhat pointing at the Earth, she managed to send off the last bit of telemetry, data from the sensors had no longer coming.

“I have failed. I’m sorry.”

Then the end came rapidly as the fuel tank exploded, the RTGs break apart, and her brain no longer have power.

A billion kilometers from Saturn, an hour and a half after, her family received the news of her demise.

“You have done well, Cassini. You didn’t fail. Not at all. You have been faithful until the very end. Rest now.”

The New Agent of Overwatch, Genji (Ch. 2)

About: Jesse was intrigued by the rumors of an injured boy to become a new agent of Overwatch. What he didn’t know was how much that boy would affect him.

“’What’s it feel like then?’ Jesse asked.

‘Intense,’ he wrote before scribbling it out and writing, ‘Inhuman. I hate it. I hate all of this.’ This wasn’t so much as a surprise to Jesse as he’s had many friends become more cynical when stressed, but it made him wonder. What was Genji like before any of this happened? Was he happy? Jesse figured that he probably was and pictured Genji’s face from when he was laughing before. Jesse made it his goal for Genji to be able to laugh like that all the time.”

Ship: McGenji

Rating: G

A/N: I wrote this from like 12 to 4 am, so it’s probably not as good of quality as the last chapter, but it gets better I promise. Chapter 3 is already almost done, so stick around. I’ve only slept two hours out of the past 34 hours and all I had to eat yesterday was a cornbread muffin and three McDonald’s french fries lol. It’s better today, so I’m working on that next chapter. The tone in this chapter is kind of all over the place, don’t worry about it.

Chapter 2

Another day and there was nothing on the schedule. All agents were informed that they had a day off, but with the local Shimada clan being on edge, they were advised not to go into the city. Under no circumstances could the Shimada clan know that Overwatch was in Hanamura. That said, Jesse had no intention on going out at all anyway. Not when he had someone to apologize to.

Going from the cafeteria to the medical ward, Jesse made his way down corridors and through doors until he reached his destination. He breathed in then out before opening the door. There he saw Genji with Dr. Ziegler, apparently discussing something, but she stopped talking as she noticed Jesse walk in. She smiled at him. Genji waved.

“I’ll leave you two to talk,” Dr. Ziegler said as she walked to the door and out of the room. McCree awkwardly walked over to the bed.

Now in the daylight, he could see the reality of the situation. All of Genji’s bandages were replaced so there was no blood, but there were stitches on every fleshy part left of Genji’s body. Everything else was a sleek silver metal. It covered his lower torso, shoulders, upper chest, and neck like oil on water. Smooth and flat. Genji was no longer strapped to the bed, but he looked like he was more on edge than before. The visible parts of his torso were colored like a painting with bruises.

“How ya doin’?” McCree asked tentatively, still inspecting Genji. He could his face growing warm, thinking about how everything that happened the day before was his fault. He could feel the boy’s eyes on his skin as if he was being put up for trial.

Genji quickly scribbled down, “Don’t look at me.”

“Uh okay sure thing,” Jesse stammered, looking down at his feet before getting to the point of coming here. “I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for what happened yesterday. I didn’t meanta freak you out or anything.”

Genji wrote again. “Yeah I heard you blubbering to Dr. Ziegler yesterday. She said it was a severe stress induced panic attack.” Genji pushed it to the end of the bed where it would be in Jesse’s view. If Jesse didn’t feel embarrassed enough before, he did now. Was the boy getting enjoyment out of embarrassing him?

“Well, that’s all I came here for, so I guess I’ll be on my way,” he said and turned quickly, walking away.

There was no time for Genji to write anything to him, and the man was moving fast out of the room. Genji looked around for a way to get his attention, but couldn’t see anything. He wrote, “come back!” on the board before swiftly throwing it at him and hitting him in the head. The force knocked Jesse’s hat off and made him stumble a bit, making Genji cover his mouth with his hands in shock. He certainly did not mean to throw it that hard.

Jesse was bewildered. There’s no way that boy could have thrown anything in his state that far with such strength, and yet his hat was laying on the floor in front of him, his hands were gripping at the new bruise on the back of his head, and there was a whiteboard with the words “come back!” written on it behind him.

“Dear lord, did you do that?” he asked in amazement. He looked back to the boy in the hospital bed who was now silently snickering with both hands still over his mouth. Jesse could see his cheeks raised and the laughter lines appear around his eyes. At first he was slightly perturbed, but seeing him laugh so carefree… It made him feel proud almost. The little trouble-maker. He chuckled a bit himself before walking back to the bed, sitting on the edge, and handing the whiteboard back.

“Well if I had known you wanted me that bad, I’d’ve stayed longer, darlin’,” Jesse flirted, tone light and cheery after making someone he thought surely hated him laugh. After taking some time to try to figure out what “I’d’ve” meant, he realized that Jesse was flirting with him! This time, it was the boy’s turn to turn red. Genji had flirted with plenty of people before, but he’s never had someone come on to him, it was always the other way around. Especially so forward like that, surely the practice was American. And especially when he looked the way he did. Jesse must be a fool.

Genji wrote on the newly returned board, “Please don’t look at me.”

“I don’t get it, why not?” Jesse asked, purely curious, but looked away anyway. Genji wrote on the board once more.

“I’m disgusting,” written in small letters. That was a shock to Jesse. Surely he didn’t really think so, and even if he did, why would he tell him something so personal so soon after meeting? I guess the only other person he had to talk to was Mercy, and he couldn’t tell her what he really thought because she was the one doing it to him and she was only doing what had to be done to keep him alive. And since he’s joined Overwatch, he doesn’t know anyone else here, so Jesse was really his only friend.

“What? Why do you think that?” Genji snatched the board and began again.

“Do you not see me? I’m not even human anymore. Everything feels different, like it’s not real.” Jesse read the words slowly, then over again to try to really get the meaning, but he just couldn’t relate.

“You seem fine enough to me,” Jesse said. This time, Genji leaned forward and shifted around on his bed so that he was turned all the way around, careful not to accidently disconnect any wires or tubes or anything.

“I can’t see it, but I can feel it’s different,” Genji wrote and slid it back to Jesse. He was right. Jesse looked over the sheets of metal plated on Genji’s back. They were stacked and trailed down his spine. Jesse had the urge to touch them. He reached out his hand and slowly ran a finger down one plate before he stopped when Genji jumped and stiffened.

“Can you feel that?” Jesse asked. Genji nodded.

“Do ya want me to stop?” he asked. Genji paused a moment before nodding. Jesse gently retracted his hand.

“Sorry,” Jesse muttered, slightly embarrassed again from doing something so awkward. Genji turned back around and settled back into the bed. He wrote on the board.

“There’s something else.”

Jesse remained quiet while Genji slowly removed the sheets covering his legs. Other than the heavy bruises and multiple cuts scattered around his legs, they seemed fine until Genji grabbed on to his leg a twisted to where Jesse could see the underside. There was a horrid straight gash down the back of his leg like a river of red. The wound was stitched, but it didn’t keep Jesse from gasping.

“What happened here? Genji, what is this?” he demanded. Genji was caught off guard by first and sudden use of his name. Genji looked at the cowboy as if to say “be patient” and starting writing.

“They replaced the bone here with something stronger, the cybernetics,” he wrote. He erased before continuing, “It’s like this in multiple places. I’ve lost some feeling in a lot of those places.” Jesse felt like this was personal and was a little honored that Genji trusted him like this.

Genji wrote more, “There is feeling on the metal though. I don’t understand how it works, but it doesn’t feel like normal touch.”

“What’s it feel like then?” Jesse asked.

“Intense,” he wrote before scribbling it out and writing, “Inhuman. I hate it. I hate all of this.” This wasn’t so much as a surprise to Jesse as he’s had many friends become more cynical when stressed, but it made him wonder. What was Genji like before any of this happened? Was he happy? Jesse figured that he probably was and pictured Genji’s face from when he was laughing before. Jesse made it his goal for Genji to be able to laugh like that all the time.

They talked on about simple things for about an hour. Genji would sometimes stop in the middle of a conversation and stare at his wounds or touch the metal plating on his body for a minute before continuing. Jesse was patient and tried not to stare. Once or twice Jesse was able to get him to laugh. That made it a lot more difficult not to stare, and he found himself looking despite himself. Genji was so pretty, it confused Jesse why he couldn’t see it.

At that moment, Dr. Ziegler walked into the room, interrupting Jesse’s thoughts.

“Genji, I have some news for you,” she said pausing, looking at Jesse, “Is it okay if he is in here? This is pretty personal information.” Once again the green-haired boy took a moment to think. He nodded once.

“Okay, whatever you’re comfortable with. We are going to be finished with the rest of your cybernetic suit tomorrow morning,” she cheered. Jesse looked at Genji who smiled faintly and went back to frowning again.

“Not only that, but the voice box correction unit we installed should have healed enough for you to use by tomorrow,” she said. This time, Genji looked surprised, as if to say, “Really?”

Since it was around two o’clock by then, Jesse decided to go back to the cafeteria and have lunch. It was strange to him how quickly he became attached to the injured, green-haired boy, but he didn’t think too much on it. Instead he just ordered his meal and waited.

Genji was feeling tired finally after not sleeping for a few days so he asked Dr. Ziegler to tell McCree that he was going to rest and wait for tomorrow morning for the doctors to put the rest of the cybernetics together. He asked her to tell Jesse to come visit after then.

Jesse wasn’t happy about not being able to see Genji, but he understood that he needed to rest. When going to bed that night, he found that resting wasn’t easy when someone was occupying your mind the entire time. Genji found that out too. 

So much for rest.

| Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five |


   Extremely Rare World War II Auto-Ordnance/Thompson Experimental Submachine Gun Serial Number “T2" 

from Rock Island Auctions                                                                                      

 This is a beautiful example of a super rare early WWII Auto-Ordnance/Thompson experimental SMG. This weapon was designed/developed in late 1941/early 1942 based on the request from the US Army for industry to develop a standardized 45 ACP SMG, as a replacement/substitute for the Thompson M1928 SMG. This is "One of Two” examples ever manufactured by the Auto-Ordnance company and tested at Aberdeen Proving grounds. The other example as we understand is still held by the Government. As we know it competed against several other SMG designs namely the Marlin M2 and the General Motors/Inland Div., M3 Grease Gun. All were developed with the intent of being a low-cost war expedient weapon intending to reducing the numerous parts and machining operations that were used in the Thompson. This gun is very unique in that it was developed along the same lines as the British STEN submachine gun in that it uses a straight tube receiver with a round machined bolt. It still used some of the M1 Thompson type parts such as the non-finned barrel, and front sight. It does have a completely unique full length one piece walnut stock with a fixed vertical pistol grip and top handguard. The actual receiver and barrel groups are held in the stock by two wing-bolts that served as simple take down mechanism. It has a fixed front sight mounted on the end of the barrel and a simple fixed rear sight that was mounted on the rear end of the receiver tube. The internal trigger pack is comprised of a machined frame with the hammer and trigger mechanism inserted/installed in the frame and covered by a stamped sheet metal plate on the side. The top of the receiver tube is marked: “THOMPSON SUBMACHINE GUN/CALIBER 45  T2/AUTO-ORDNANCE CORPORATION/BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT, USA”. This specific weapon was actually tested by Aberdeen Proving Grounds and the results are documented in Ordnance Test Program number “5082”. A Copy of the cover sheet is included with this rare SMG, and a full copy could be obtained from the Government. The consignor also included some informational research with this weapon that discusses the performance of this gun during testing. As we all know this design did not win out against the General Motors/Inland Div. designed M3 Grease gun. It was noted in the report that this example had several stoppages and malfunctions as well as a small stress crack at the tail end of the trigger housing, all of which helped contribute to it being eliminated. Notwithstanding this is a very rare experimental SMG. Additional Information: This rare submachine gun lot now includes a photocopy of the original Aberdeen Proving Grounds Test report (Ordnance Program Number 5082) on the functioning and performance of this weapon.