It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy…
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
it is a period of civil war. rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil galactic empire. during the battle, rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the empire’s ultimate weapon, the death star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. (insp)
For @skiretehfox’s Maximus AUwhich is one of my favorite iterations of Max (and it’s how I found your blog!) I fell in love with her at first sight and this is me singing praise and thanks for creating her and the whole AU. I hope I didn’t write her ooc and if I did, please correct me. Anyways, here’s the fic, enjoy!
Maximus was never one to be bothered to make an effort. In fact, she’s given up trying altogether. She’s learned at an early age that effort is futile but it’s not because of the ratio of attempts to failures, rather the opposite. Everything was just so easy to achieve and so predictable. The world was dictated by patterns and to accomplish a goal was to simply follow the set path with predetermined rules. Perhaps that’s why the only semblance to excitement there was in life for her was when she’s bending the said rules or when there were hardly any restrictions in the first place. Either works and since she gets bored easily, she doubles in both.
She majors both in Law and in the Arts, Photography in particular, at the same time. There’s a reason why she specializes in both of these areas. Manipulating the laws of legality was interesting enough to work as a brain-teaser for her on good days. Manipulating the laws of photography to get that perfect shot can be entertaining and fulfilling at times. And then there’s the hidden third Major in Time, manipulating the laws of space and time just because she can.
No, she didn’t fucking stutter. She has time powers, deal with it.
It’s a rather dull story if you asked Maximus and although it was surprising at the time, that excitement obviously didn’t last for the rest of her life. Actually, that got her the time powers in the first place: the end of her life, or at least it was supposed to be. Coming from a prestigious family has its own downsides aside from the boring parties filled with pretentious adults pretending to give a shit. For Maximus, she got kidnapped at the age of ten. The criminals weren’t even professionals and ended up accidentally shooting her. She would have died too or maybe she did die but her rewind just overwrote that history. Needless to say, someone other than her ended up with a bullet on that day.
Rewinding time? What-the-fuck-ever. She doesn’t give a shit.
Having time powers got old real fast. It was nothing that extraordinary for her as mastering any other skill. Within weeks she learned how to prevent the nosebleeds and within months, she could rewind for more minutes than she’ll ever need to. She’s confident that she knows how it works and mastered all of its tricks so much in fact that whatever thrill she felt on the first time had long since died along with the timeline where she’s supposed to be dead. The supernatural aspect of it has been normalized and has now become routine. In short, she got bored. She started to think that whatever this was just might be the most exciting experience she’ll ever get.
Her boring days carried on until she turned eleven and she attended a charity event in Seattle with her parents. She absolutely loathed these social gathering of hypocrites and if she had a choice, she wouldn’t be here at all. Unfortunately being a kid meant less free will on her part but at the very least she was allowed freedom to separate and roam on her own. The exhibit wasn’t even that interesting but it will have to do rather than the annoying adults that filled it. As she easily weaved through the groups of people she would have nothing to do with, she eavesdropped on voices that only spoke of bullshit.
Until she heard a voice that seemed to carry an IQ that was higher than the room’s average.
“What an insult.” The voice belonged to a girl with long blond hair and a scowl that matched her disgust. She’s standing by one of the art booths and muttering to herself far too loudly and condescending. “No one’s actually here to donate for the arts. Everyone’s too busy kissing ass with people instead of actually admiring the displayed masterpieces.” She glared at the room in general with great disapproval that Maximus couldn’t help but approve.
“Masterpieces?” She smoothly took a spot beside her with an amused smirk. “Point me at one when you see them.”
The girl turned to her, most likely surprised that someone would comment on her not so inner monologue. Her cheeks were tinged red with embarrassment but she quickly masked it under the guise of anger. She’s certainly a proud one. “Well of course I didn’t mean all of these!” She gestured to the entirety of the room and then crossed her arms. “There’s no such thing as a gallery filled with only the best works. More than half are usually dull stud shots just trying to catch a ride on the greatness of the actual good ones.”
Well she’s not wrong although Maximus wouldn’t want to inflate her ego by admitting that. At least this girl knew what she was talking about and she had the backbone to speak them out. Her eyes shone with the slightest of interests. “Huh, is that what you think so?” She tested her, intimidating.
“That’s what I know so.” The girl confidently replied and with a raised chin, she beckoned her, “And? What do you think?”
Maximus blinked. That’s new. So there truly existed a person who wouldn’t shrink from her. This girl could hold her own ground and who was Maximus to deny her conversation? “Hmm…” She hummed shortly and then pointed to one photo in particular. “Well this guy’s trying too hard to go for Avedon-esque.”
It was unexpected but the girl’s face lit up at the mention of the photographer. It was so bright and instantaneous that Maximus could have sworn that a flash literally went off. “You know Richard Avedon? He’s my hero!” She started excitedly and even jumped a bit when she fully turned towards her. When she realized that she had forgotten the proper but also boring TPO, she quickly composed herself. She held herself back but the embers in her eyes continued to glow warmly. “I mean… ahem, yes it is rather distasteful at how poor his attempt is. It’s an absolute disgrace. I can’t believe this crap is even here.”
So this girl apparently also knew how photography worked and Maximus is impressed because that’s already more than most of the guests’ actual knowledge of the art. “And how would your attempt be?”
“Obviously better than this amateur.” She scoffed and there was something with the way she said it, the power in her voice, that told her that she wasn’t just all talk. “See, the technique is just…” And then she proceeded to expound on how to pull off an Avedon photoshoot.
And although Maximus was not one to socialize, she thought that she didn’t mind spending time with this girl.
“Maximus Caulfield.” She finally said after their fourth conversation. There was a small but noticeable proud grin on her face. This girl had earned the right to her name and frankly, she enjoyed her company. “It’s a fucking relief to know that there’s someone here who isn’t a retard.”
The girl just nodded in agreement. “Likewise. You aren’t just air yourself.” Despite her proud attitude, there was a clear underlying tone of approval in her voice. “If you don’t already know, I’m Maribeth Chase. I suppose you can call me Mary for short.”
“Mary, huh?” She rolled the name across her tongue experimentally. Something about the name just didn’t sit right with her and she wracked her brain as to why. In the end, she couldn’t figure out the reason but she did figure out a new nickname. “Nah, I think I’ll just call you Vic.”
“Vic?” She repeated and with obvious confusion written on her face. “Why Vic?”
She shrugged. “Dunno. It just feels right.”
“Well I’m not the only one going home with a stupid nickname, Maxine.” She eyed her levelly.
“It’s Max, never Maxine.” Maximus shot back and then smirked. “I think we’re going to get along just fine, Vic.”
They got along more than just fine, so much in fact that their parents already arranged for them to get married in the future.
Not like that made any difference since Maximus wasn’t planning on spending the rest of her life with anyone else. She already spent her first eleven years with boring complacency and she’d be damned if that lasted any longer. So they meet again at another gala the next month and then after, they scheduled a meeting without the crowd of overaged morons. Maximus found Vic interesting enough that she dropped from her current school and transferred to hers. Vic couldn’t believe what she did at first but she may have half screamed half squealed when her parents confirmed the fact. Maximus later found out about it and teased the hell out of her cute blushing face.
By the time that Vic got her pixie cut, they were already dating. The confession wasn’t as much romantic as it was spontaneous.
“Date me.” Maximus just suddenly dropped out of nowhere during an ordinary drive to the coffee shop.
The confession was just so unexpected that it almost passed by Vic’s head. Almost. In a few seconds, her brain stopped and so did the car as her foot slammed on the brakes. Her head turned and faced her, gaping. “What did you just say?”
“Eyes on the road, partner.” Maximus teased. “Did you know that most car accidents happen because the driver is looking elsewhere?”
“Oh, don’t you pull that shit on me.” Vic snarled and Maximus smiled wider because even Vic’s angry face was cute. She didn’t share her same amusement though. She glared harder. “Did you just say what I think you said?”
“Sorry, did I stutter?” Maximus leaned in close, so close that their noses were almost touching and their breaths were warm and mixing, and oh god it was intoxicating for Vic. In a seductively low voice, Maximus whispered, “I said fuck me.”
A delectable shiver ran through Vic’s spine and Maximus’ teeth showed. There’s also the obvious coloring of her cheeks but Vic was adamant on powering through this. “Maybe I’ll think about it when you say what you actually first said.”
“So that’s a yes on fuck?” Maximus grinned devilishly.
Vic’s blush burned to a darker shade as she stammered, “F-Fuck, Max! Just say those goddamned words already!” And in a softer, more shy voice she whispered, “I just… I just want to hear them and know this is real.” And that’s Maximus’s signal to quit messing around.
She schooled her face into one of seriousness as she gazed deeply. No more fucking around. “Date me, Vic.” Before Vic could answer, Maximus’ lips were already on hers. And when she pulled back, she faintly heard the reverent whisper of a “yes” that she pulled from Vic’s lips. Maximus licked her lips with pride. “We’re gonna fucking rule the world together.”
As much as Maximus would have loved to skip to the part where they rule the world, Vic thought it was imperative for them to continue their education and this was non-negotiable. So fast forward to now where they’re in college. At least they share an apartment so she thinks it’s not all that boring. Maximus still doesn’t give a shit about things but Vic does and she makes it a point that Max knows.
“Max, get your lazy ass up already or you’ll miss your defense.” Vic scolded her for the nth time this past ten minutes. “Don’t make me throw water at you because you know I will if you don’t get up in the next thirty seconds.”
“And ruin the bed? Where ever will we sleep then?” Maximus gasped playfully.
“Obviously I’ll be taking the sofa and you’ll be sleeping on the cold hard ground. Twenty seconds.” Vic tapped her foot irritably by the bedside.
“Hey, don’t talk about our floor like that.” Maximus pouted. “Besides, it’s more comfortable than you think. The coolness is perfect for the summer weather.”
“It’s officially winter in two weeks. And no, you’re not getting any extra blankets to touch our impeccable floor.” Vic pushed. “Ten seconds.”
“Vic, it’s eight in the morning. My defense is at nine. There’s no need to rush. Besides, the prof is just as tardy as I am anyways.” Maximus reasoned but Vic was having none of that.
“Five seconds, Max.” She announced tersely and raised a glass of water threateningly.
Maximus immediately shot up at the last second, reached for the glass and downed the whole drink. “There. Now where’s my morning kiss?” She smiled lopsidedly.
“That hardly bears merit for a reward.” Vic scoffed as she took the glass and set it aside on the bedside drawer.
Without warning, Maximus leaned forward and pecked her on the lips. “I’m taking it anyways.” She grinned toothily.
Vic’s already used to Maximus’ impulsive displays of affection but she never did learn how to tame her blushes. “You’re insufferable.” She muttered but not with a small smile.
“That’s so sweet of you to say, thank you.” Maximus replied with a chuckle that ended shortly when she growled lowly, “So where’s my morning makeout session?”
Vic blinked. Her eyes quickly flitted to the clock and then back to her girlfriend, debating. She bit her lower lip in thought as Maximus licked hers in anticipation. Until finally, Vic let out a sigh and leaned forward. “Fuck it. Ten minutes tops.”
Maximus just grinned in victory. “Negotiable, right?”
And sure, life was still boring as hell most of the time and Maximus could still never be bothered to make an effort. But it’s moments like these that make her consider otherwise. Maximus couldn’t care less about anything but Vic worries about everything. Life has been less boring with Vic around and Maximus will do everything within her power to keep this life. Whenever she thinks of Vic, she thinks that maybe she’d like to at least try. Effort has never been her thing but maybe that’s just because she didn’t have a reason worth it before— before Vic. It’s different now and maybe she’s changed as well even if only just by a bit.
Maximus puts in a little more effort nowadays and even more so when Vic rewards her.
Good afternoon folks - and welcome to our first odds map of Eurovision 2017. Every year, I take odds from as many bookmakers as I can - of songs winning, reaching the top 10 or qualifying from the semi-finals - and aggregate them. I then convert their odds to the percentage of probability they imply: decimal odds of 5 or fractional odds of 4/1 imply a 20% chance, for example. Today, we’re going to have a look at the current odds given for songs to win Eurovision 2017.
At the minute, the bookies seem pretty confident about the prospect of our first Big 5 win since Lena’s: according to them, Italy have a mammoth possibility of getting a third victory, the first since Toto’s in 1990 - with 39.7% chance of winning the contest, three times as much as any other country. Lagging behind them, but still able to join a rarefied group of only 4 countries given more than 10% chance of a win, are the perennially highly-rated Sweden (12.6%), along with a country that made a huge splash on their return, Bulgaria (13.1%) and, given their third strong year in the odds, something of a nascent powerhouse in Belgium (10.4%).
Three more countries join the select group of 8 whose songs have a 1/20 (5%) chance or better of winning. Australia (5.1%) has been consistently highly rated by oddmakers since joining the contest, and Armenia (6.1%) with 9/10 qualifications and 7/10 top 10 finishes are seldom underestimated, but the biggest - and for me, most pleasant - surprise of this year is to see Portugal (8.1%), with its nigh 60 year history of being underesteemed at the contest, up there as the song with the fifth best odds of winning. (I will make a little confession - in 30 years’ viewership, I’ve never felt so close to being “done” with the contest as I was last year. My hopes for Portugal’s timeless and moving song are a big part of what have kept me interested in 2017.) The top 10 is rounded off by the stylish effort by Azerbaijan (4.8%) and Russia (4.9%) - because, even though it seems that they will not send another singer, bookies don’t want to take the risk of them having to pay out if they do.
There are some remarkable geographic divisions when it comes to odds of winning - which I’ve tried to make stand out even further in a second map, where we divide this year’s songs into three categories. At the top of the pack, we have songs that are considered to have more chance of winning than the average song this year (the sum of probabilities calculated by bookies always exceeds 100% - because of this overrounding, our 43 songs this year have a total probability of winning of 160.5%, thus 3.73% average.) The second category are countries that do not pass the average song’s odds, but do have a higher chance of winning than the purely mathematical average of 1/43 (2.33%). The last category are countries that have a lower chance than that average.
From this, we see an exceptionally poor showing from central Europe, with Poland (2.4%) being the only country narrowly rated above the purely statistical average. Years of dubious selections and underperformance have taken the shine off the once much-vaunted Nordic superpowers - these days, it feels like Sweden et al, and indeed, only Denmark (and if one includes them in both this and the Baltic branch, Estonia) exceed the statistical average (2.6% each). The Baltic countries, whose collective star has been in the ascendant for the past two years, seem to be slipping too - whilst the biggest contiguous group of countries tipped for the top this year are in the east of the Balkan peninsula - where we find not just 2nd placed Bulgaria, but also Serbia, Romania (3.9% each), Macedonia (3.4%) and Greece (3.1%) amongst those with better than statistical average odds. You can check a full list of current odds below.
We will come back to look at the odds at regular intervals before Eurovision - one can only wonder how much they will change in the next few weeks, especially as pre-parties and other opportunities to hear the songs live can make a big impact. Will our winner this year be one of the current top 5?
What normal people see: Oh look, the cuties from NCT Dream!
What NCT fans see: Oh look at them babies, when did they grow so much in 20 days, look at their broad shoulders, look at them sitting, they look as tall as Doyoung, how did they grow so fasssttt is such a short amount of time????
It had been going on for a while. Rival papers, rival journalists. Clarke would get the tip, Lexa would arrive first at the scene – or vice versa. She rather liked it when it was her getting the story first, but her victories were just as frequent as Lexa’s.
There had to be a traitor in her office – there was one in Lexa’s after all, with Niylah feeding Clarke scoop after scoop just as soon as Lexa got word of them. Was Lexa flirting with one of her co-workers too? The thought was… oddly unpleasant.
Of course, there were the times when their rivalry, known (and barely put up with) by all, took a slight… detour and things between them would heat up in a very different way than usual.
Even though she would never admit it to anyone, those were the times Clarke revelled the most. Those were the times that made losing a few first hand stories almost worth it. Lexa didn’t need to know that, though.
“Penny for your thoughts.”
The voice, softer than her own, pulled the corners of Clarke’s lips up into a smile. She lay her chin on the chest underneath her, blue eyes playfully meeting green ones.
“Thank God none of our friends know about this,” she admitted, placing a soft kiss between Lexa’s breasts. “Raven and Octavia would tease me endlessly.”
To Clarke’s surprise, Lexa didn’t smirk; she frowned. “You haven’t told your friends about us?”
Clarke laughed and got off of Lexa, opting to lie down beside her. “What, like you have?” The deepening crease between those striking jade eyes was answer enough and she didn’t know how to react. “There is no us, Lexa.”
Suddenly Lexa was up, throwing covers off her lithe body and searching for her clothes among the jungle of Clarke’s bedroom floor. Clarke, in turn, was utterly confused, taken aback by Lexa’s sullen behaviour.
“Where are you going?”
“What does it look like, Clarke?” Lexa snapped as she pulled pants up to her waist. “I’m going home.”
“Why? We were just relaxing, I don't– what the hell is wrong with you?”
Lexa finished buttoning her shirt and heaved an exasperated sigh, turning to Clarke with a cold gaze.
“I get it, Clarke. We are rivals, we steal each other’s stories, and then we fuck to keep the adrenaline pumping.” Lexa’s voice was as gelid and stoic as her eyes. “It’s just curious that you still see it as that when we have been staying the night for over three months.”
Feeling exposed all of a sudden, Clarke sat up and pulled the blankets up to cover her chest. “We agreed that it was easier if you caught the morning train to your place,” she said defensively.
“I’ve got a drawer in your wardrobe, Clarke!”
“Not my fault you leave your clothes here all the time,” the blonde shrugged.
Lexa’s eye roll was worthy of some Olympic back flip medal or something. Were there Olympic medals for back flips? Clarke didn’t really know a lot about sports.
“You call me aloof and emotionally constipated, but I am not the one who keeps believing those easy ways out after three months of mornings after,” Lexa claimed, a hue of hurt in the rainbow of feelings in her voice.
Clarke was at a loss for words, so she said the first thing that came to mind. “We fuck. What’s the big deal about that?”
Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say, for Lexa just turned away with a huff and walked out, making sure to slam the door as she left.
They hadn’t talked for a month. Lexa had been keeping her distance: not coming any close to her stories, leaving Clarke alone to make the most of her own scoops. It would have been paradise, if not for the gaping absence of teasing remarks, insufferable smirks – any words at all. Clarke kept trying to steal some scoops for herself, but Lexa was relentless, never letting Clarke win.
In a fell swoop, Clarke had lost her fuck buddy and her rival. Every time she got to a place, Lexa would either be long gone or never show up at all. Journalism just wasn’t as fun anymore.
Clarke had loved the whole enemies/lovers dynamic, sleeping with none other than your greatest rival. After every hustle, they would fall into bed together, releasing their frustration and satiating their rivalry in each other’s arms, mouths, fingers. It was something Clarke had never experienced.
Clarke was snatched out of her thoughts by a binder falling violently on her desk. She looked up to find Octavia glaring at her.
“What now, O?” Clarke asked impatiently. “Too much paperwork for your lazy ass?”
“Wow, Lexa really left your panties in a twist,” her brunette friend chuckled dryly. “Can you two please go back to fucking?”
Clark’s bewildered gasp and choke would have been funny if not for the situation they were in. “You know? she choked out in a spluttering mess.
“Of course I do,” Octavia frowned. “We all know Lexa lets you get half of her stories and then you two go home and fuck each other’s brains out. Or, well, did. Now you two just mope around like you lost your favourite candy.”
The knowledge that Lexa was doing just as bad as her gave Clarke an odd hopeful feeling. “She’s moping?”
“Of course she is. How would you expect her to react to a break up?”
“This was not– We weren’t even together.”
This time, Octavia laughed heartily, taking more than a minute to gather her bearings and turn to Clarke with a mocking expression.
“Sweetie, like or not, you two were dating for the past three months. You don’t do the morning after with someone you don’t care about.”
There it was again, the morning after. Clarke didn’t understand what relevance it had to the case. “I still don’t know why the morning after seems to be so important,” she grumbled.
Octavia just shook her head in disbelief. “You may be blonde, but you’re not blonde, Clarke. Don’t lie to yourself just because you’re afraid to face the truth.”
Clarke was determined to get this right. This story was Lexa’s, Niylah had promised, and she was going to get there fast enough to catch the brunette before she could leave.
She would also steal the story, but that was another story. Pun fully intended, Clarke decided in that moment.
When Lexa showed up, she was the image of beauty. Long brown curls tamed in a ponytail, her face was clean and open and probably what heaven looked like. Emerald eyes didn’t hide their owner’s shock to see her.
Clarke had to remember the speech she had practiced at home, in front of her mirror, like a romantic loser.
“Lexa, I– Can we talk?”
Lexa eyed her suspiciously, but eventually agreed, with a discreet nod of her head. They headed to another room, making the interviewee wait for its five minutes in the limelight.
“What do you want, Clarke?” The hostility of Lexa’s tone made her flinch. She had a lot of explaining to do. “I will not go back to the way we were before.”
“I know, I know,” Clarke rushed to say, promising her memories of Lexa writing under her that she would give them full attention once she got home. “I don’t want that either.” At Lexa’s frown, she ploughed on. “I don’t want to go back to the way we were before, because I want so much more. I thought what we had was just an easy rivals with benefits situation. We would do the rivalling during the day, fuck during the night. You kept clothes at my place so no one would ever see you leave with the clothes of the day before on. In the middle of all the lying I did to keep myself from panicking, I forgot to realise that you started staying the night because I asked you to. And it went on for three months because I wanted you to. And I would ask and want you to stay the night because I needed to fall asleep and wake up next to you, because there is no greater feeling in the world than that of spending every hour of your day with the person you love.”
Lexa’s eyes were wide like saucers, but Clarke couldn’t stop now.
“That’s the other thing I forgot,” she admitted, her voice small. “I forgot that slowly but surely, I was falling in love with you.”
Lexa pressed her lips together pensively, letting the silence stretch before she broke it. “Why didn’t you tell your friends?”
“The same reason for all my other fuck ups: I was afraid. Telling them would mean they would be able to give me the advice I was dreading: that all those mornings after did hold meaning after all and that I couldn’t hide from my feelings anymore.”
Lexa nodded this time, still not making a sound. “Will you tell your friends now?”
Clarke couldn’t help but smile. “Already have.”
Another nod. “Are we still rivals?”
“You’re as much my enemy as when we started this whole thing.”
Lexa was sporting a small smile now, a crooked little thing that Clarke had always found adorable. “I would not have it any other way.”
“But Lexa, now you’re also my best friend and… If you give me the honour… My girlfriend.”
Lexa’s shy smile turned into a smirk. “Only if you admit that Polis is the superior newspaper.”
Clarke didn’t even gasp. “For you, I would quit the Arkadia.”
Lexa’s amused smile, however, showed she was just kidding. “No need. Wouldn’t want to end the rivalry, would we?”
In that moment – and the moment after, when she finally got to get reacquainted with Lexa’s lips –, Clarke knew that she wanted all the mornings after and the nights during and the afternoons before.
It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy….
The restoration is complete with the car returned exactly back to its
original 1966 Dutch Championship winning specification, down to every
last nut and bolt and finished in the livery of the car’s first victory @
Zandvoort in July 1966 driven by young talent Wim Loos. The results are
spectacular and the car represents a wonderful tribute to both
Autodelta & Team Slotemaker in this the 50th anniversary year of the