transit area

The reason earth never made alien contact is because earth is in a natural reservation inside a non transit area inside a neutral zone between two warring empires in a relatively boring part of the galaxy.

me: hey since the new Monster Hunter game will have completely seamless maps with no area transitions then maybe that means the areas will be easier to navigate and routes will be simple to remember


me: I’m sorry I’ve even opened my mouth

True Void Energy Intro

Originally posted by the-devil-beside-you

Disclaimer: Please take into account that all of this is UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis). My experiences working with Void entities are deeply personal and might not reflect your own experiences.

Having addressed this, I will jump right into it and talk a bit about Void energy.

Many people seem to think that all Void energy is the same. Outer space and emptiness are talked about as if they are interchangeable or equivalent. In my experience, this is definitely not the case. While there might be similarities between Outer Space Void and what I call “True Void”, there are also some very evident differences. In my case, I work with True Void entities primarily, and the things I will be discussing throughout this series are relating to and can usually only be applied or generalized to True Void spirits & energy.

Where can I find it?

True Void energy is most frequently found in True Void spaces in the astral (however, it surrounds us in negligible quantities no matter where we are). It also tends to congregate in liminal spaces, in places of transition, and in areas that have been abandoned or dead for a long time.

What are its uses?

While True Void energy harnessed by a skilled energy worker can do everything from healing to serious offensive damage, the most common uses for True Void energy that I have witnessed are Void-walking (traveling from one destination to another through Void spaces) and a derivative of shadow work. (I say a derivative of shadow work because commonly, shadow work is about acceptance or working with the shadow-self. True Void Shadow Work involves the manipulation of Void energy to control darkness/shadows).


In terms of a specific description, True Void energy has a magnetizing quality to it that is difficult to put into words or understand unless you have worked with it before. This energy is incredibly adaptable. Oftentimes, it will take on the qualities of surrounding energy. For example, if Void energy is found in an astral space heavily populated by fire elementals, it might acquire the same properties as the energy they give off. It might become warmer, more volatile, and also easier to handle.

Yet, Void energy would still remain unmistakably….voidy. You’d still feel an underlying dark, cold pull towards it. It’d still be inexplicably heavy in your hands despite appearing almost insubstantial. Handling it for an extended of period of time would still leave you with the odd impression of frostbite dancing on your fingertips.

Working with it:

Working with True Void energy might leave you feeling ill or drained (especially if you are not “aligned” with it). Handling this type of energy is much more difficult for humans than handling other energy sources, due to the fact that most living things are not compatible with it.

Added to this, Void energy has the interesting property of “taking” from its non-native users (especially if they are not highly proficient at energy manipulation and knowledgeable of Void energy specifically). For an unprepared energy worker, it might replicate the effects of an energy parasite. These effects (physical, emotional, and energetic) might be felt for days after having worked with it. Think of it like a really terrible hangover.

My belief as to why True Void energy has this specific effect on things is that it tends to consume what is in its path in an effort to return it to a balanced, chaotic state. However, this does not mean that True Void energy is inherently evil. Additionally, it does not fit into the more common energy alignments of “Light” or “Dark”. Rather, it appears to have its own special classification.

Compatible alignments:

Void energy generally tends to attract parasites. From what I have seen, it doesn’t seem to have the same negative impact on parasitic entities as it does on other creatures. One explanation for this could be that parasitic entities have evolved and adapted to hide in True Void spaces to protect themselves. Alternatively, it is possible that they still experience negative effects, but are more resilient and able to endure longer exposure to True Void than other species.

Another True-Void “tolerant” energy alignment would be Death energy. Death workers like reapers and grims tend to be relatively comfortable in the presence of True Void energy.

Nature spirits, fae spirits, light-aligned spirits, and “livelier” energy-aligned beings, on the other hand, might find True Void to be repulsive. They might also feel particularly affected by its draining qualities. The nature entities that I have encountered generally tend to show a dislike for True Void energy workers.

Demonic entities (especially hellborn demonic entities) also appear to have a particular distaste for True Void. They might react aggressively or go out of their way to avoid encountering True Void entities. This seems to stem from a historical event that placed hellborn demonic spirits against True Void entities (and/or energy). While I am not privy to the details of this event at the moment, I will continue to update the series as I gain more insight into the situation.

This has been my intro to Void energy! In the future, I hope to discuss more about True Void entities, their culture, and my personal experiences working with them.

In October 2013 workers in the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system went on strike, disrupting the daily commute for employees of San Francisco powerhouses like Google and Twitter. Tech company executives who like to think of themselves as rebellious “disruptors” of old economic models were furious that they had been disrupted by what they considered the most outdated relic of them all—a labor union.“Get ’em back to work, pay them whatever they want, and then figure out how to automate their jobs so this doesn’t happen again,” fumed Richard White, the CEO of something called UserVoice, whose website boasts that it helps organizations “find a better way to listen to their users’ voices.”
Richard White certainly wasn’t in the mood to listen to the voices of BART workers that morning, because they were reminding him that even Silicon Valley can’t run without train operators and bus drivers. Like all capitalists, but perhaps even more so, tech bosses prefer to imagine that society has no classes, only millions of individuals freely buying and selling their goods and labor to one another. If a few of them have more money than they can spend while most of us have more needs than we can afford, the rest of us shouldn’t get jealous. Just create the next big app and join them!
For four days in October, the BART strike punctured this fantasy by reminding our Captains of Digital Industry that the working class is real. Even worse (from their point of view), this class isn’t just an unfortunate object of pity but a potential powerhouse in its own right whose strength comes from unity, solidarity, and other age-old concepts that Bay Area bosses must have thought had been buried a thousand TED talks ago.
—  Socialism… Seriously, Danny Katch, 2015
🌳 What are THRESHOLDS? 🌳

Thresholds are border areas where one force, power, or element encounters another. These meeting areas are potentially the most highly magically charged of all. Thresholds exist everywhere: the seashore, that transitional area where ocean meets land; the foot of mountains, where land begins to rise; and caves, the subterranean thresholds between Earth’s outer and inner powers. There are architectural thresholds: doors and windows. There are thresholds in time: twilight and dawn, where an incoming power approaches before the out-going power has completely dispersed. Life cycles are thresholds: the birth of a new baby, particularly a first child whose birth transforms someone into a parent. Death is a threshold between one existence and the next. Someone who lingers in a halflife is described as having a foot in both worlds, straddling the threshold. Any transformative ritual is defined as a threshold, by virtue of its very capacity to transform. There are thresholds on the body: the mouth is the threshold between thought and speech. Thresholds are simultaneously the areas of greatest magical potential and also of extreme vulnerability. A vast percentage of protective amulets, rituals, and spells are designed to guard thresholds and the transformative process. In fact, every magic spell can be perceived as a transformative threshold, from a past that has left something to be desired toward the future that the spell hopefully produces. Most thresholds consist of a simple boundary: with one foot you stand inside the house, with another you stand outside. If your feet are small enough and your balance is good, you can stand poised, neither inside, nor outside. With one foot you stand in the river or ocean, with the other, you stand on the land. The ancient Egyptians called their country “the land of the red and the black,” because there was a distinct division, a visible dividing line between the black fertile land of Nile silt and the stark red land of the desert. You could literally stand with one foot in each color. Each color also typified a different kind of magic and a different spiritual ruler. The black belonged to Osiris, with his arts of orderly civilization; red belonged to his brother Seth, anarchic, chaotic Lord of Magic. These are simple boundaries: you can hop from one to the other. There are also expanded, exponentially super-magically charged thresholds.

Hey everyone, I’m Chris, game designer at Monomi Park.  I’m going to share a glimpse into the process of world building for Slime Rancher.  Please note that this just a lightweight overview on world design and it will also include images of in-progress content that is highly subject to change.

For ease of discussion, I’m simplifying the process into three phases: direction, layout, and polish.


Before I start building out a new area, Nick and I often discuss what purpose the space should serve.  Does the space primarily serve as a playground for many slimes?  Is it a traversal space for the player to get between two areas of heavy content?  Is it a hidden space for a treasure pod or other reward?

Once we determine what the purpose of the space should be, I start to think in the broadest strokes possible within the established framework.  What is the area’s central conceit?  What makes it unique but still a part of the larger world as a whole?  What can be added to sell the theme of this space?  This part of the process can involve sketches, quickly blocking out how assets can be used, and thinking about set pieces.  Decisions in this phase always inform later phases, even if the specific implementations change during layout and playtesting.

A quick designer sketch of the large set piece on “Ring Island” in the Dry Reef

When developing entirely new spaces, there’s often a lot of back and forth discussions during this phase between Nick, Ian, and myself and those ideas build upon each other over time.  For example, when developing the new Ruins zone I found a few pieces of concept art online that hinted at visual themes that I thought were interesting.  I then quickly blocked out a vignette with white box and existing assets that helped early discussions of the zone’s style.  A lot of exploration in this phase is temporary at best, but it is still an invaluable part of deciding what we wanted as a team.

Experimenting with early visual themes and styles for the Ruins in small vignettes

Ian then took those visuals and applied his own ideas about how to unify and use them in a concept art piece.

Ian’s concept art based on the ruin vignettes with notes on art direction

That piece then helped inform me of the types of set pieces I wanted to capture in the slightly more detailed whitebox pass.

Starting to integrate Ian’s art direction into white boxed Ruins areas

Direction Summary:

  • What purpose does this area serve? - gameplay, hidden area, transition?
  • What interesting concept is central to this area’s theme? - ring island, marsh, sea bridges?
  • Utilizing sketches, hero props, set pieces, identifying central conceits


When it comes time to start building the space, I first block out how the critical and alternate paths take the player through the area and think about where the majority of the action is likely to take place.  Each area is usually a combination of open space and visual funnels that lead to new areas.

‘Ring Island’ during various stages of development

I then add some representative spawners to add slimes and resources to the mix.  At this stage nothing is balanced, but it helps to see how the slimes will behave in the space and where they tend to naturally congregate.

After playing the rough layout for a bit I try and figure out if traversal through the area feels intuitive and if the space accomplishes goals set in the Direction phase.  Afterwards, I go back through and do a little bit of “pre-polish” to further define specific parts of the space.

In the above example with Ring Island I started with the concept of a beach with a land-locked “tidepool” in the middle as its set piece.  As the beach developed, coral and grass were added to frame the sandy path leading further into the island.  These patches of flora also served to anchor where slimes and resources spawned from.  Color was also a consideration in aiding flow of the space.  Sand and warm colored coral and grass were used to lead the eye down the beach path, while water and cool/wet colored seaweed and moss lead through the alternative tidepool cave.

Layout Summary:

  • Main navigation and playable space.  Which space for slimes, which for traversal?
  • Props to further define areas, anchor resources and slime spawns
  • Representative resource and slime placement


In many art books, I’ve always jokingly referred to this phase as the “just add detail” step in the process.  Of course it’s never that simple, but at least during the first part of this phase I get to go back through each area and really double down on “art-ing” the space up.  Decorative elements, such as most of the flora and rocks, and additional navigation guides are added to reinforce areas of interest.  Audio and visual effects such as gusts of wind or fog are added to strengthen the atmosphere.

As more flora was added to to the marshy area of the Moss Blanket, glowing navigational guides were added to help guide the player.  This was even more important for traversing at night.

Many areas are actually much more straightforward than they appear, but become much harder to navigate with all the extra environmental decoration.

Props really transform early block outs of areas

Although that’s the more lighthearted fun part, a much larger part of the polish phase is balancing, playtesting, and optimizing.  I go back through and see all the parts working (or not working) as a whole and iterate, iterate, iterate.

Polish Summary:

  • Decorative elements for aesthetics and additional navigation guides
  • Audio and visual effects
  • Balancing, playtesting, optimizing, iteration

That’s all for this post, thanks for reading!

The High German languages or High German dialects (Hochdeutsche Dialekte) comprise the varieties of German spoken south of the Benrath and Uerdingen isoglosses in central and southern Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Luxembourg as well as in neighboring portions of Belgium (Eupen-Malmedy) and the Netherlands (Southeast Limburg), France (Alsace and northern Lorraine), Italy (South Tyrol), and Poland (Upper Silesia). They are also spoken in diaspora in RomaniaRussia, the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Namibia. The High German languages are marked by the High German consonant shift, separating them from Low German and Low Franconian (Dutch) within the continental West Germanic dialect continuum.

As a technical term, the “high” in High German is a geographical reference to the group of dialects that forms “High German” (i.e. “Highland” German), out of which developed Standard German, Yiddish, and Luxembourgish. It refers to the Central Uplands (Mittelgebirge) and Alpine areas of central and southern Germany, it also includes Luxembourg, Austria, Liechtenstein, and most of Switzerland. This is opposed to Low German, which is spoken on the lowlands and along the flat sea coasts of the North German Plain. High German in this broader sense can be subdivided into Upper German (Oberdeutsch, this includes Austrian and Swiss German dialects), Central German (Mitteldeutsch, this includes Luxembourgish, which itself is now a standard language), and High Franconian which is a transitional dialect between the two. High German (in the broader sense) is distinguished from other West Germanic varieties in that it took part in the High German consonant shift (c. AD 500). To see this, compare English/Low German (Low Saxon) pan/Pann with Standard German Pfanne ([p] to [p͡f]), English/Low German two/twee with Standard German zwei ([t] to [t͡s]), English/Low German make/maken with Standard German machen ([k] to [x]). In the southernmost High Alemannic dialects, there is a further shift; Sack (like English/Low German “sack/Sack”) is pronounced [z̥ak͡x] ([k] to [k͡x]).

Old High German evolved from about 500 AD, around 1200 the Swabian and East Franconian varieties of Middle High German became dominant as a court and poetry language (Minnesang) under the rule of the House of Hohenstaufen. The term “High German” as spoken in central and southern Germany (Upper Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, Bavaria) and Austria was first documented in the 15th century. Gradually driving back Low German variants since the Early modern period, the Early New High German varieties, especially the East Central German of the Luther Bible, formed an important basis for the development of Standard German.

Family tree

Divisions between subfamilies within Germanic are rarely precisely defined, because most form continuous clines, with adjacent dialects being mutually intelligible and more separated ones not. In particular, there has never been an original “Proto-High German”. For this and other reasons, the idea of representing the relationships between West Germanic language forms in a tree diagram at all is controversial among linguists. What follows should be used with care in the light of this caveat.



Pre-op and post-op photos from today!
I have never felt better and am amazed at how fast I turned around! I woke up an hour after the end of surgery and was entirly coherent! I asked for my wonderful girlfriend and some ice chips and both were granted within 15 minutes! Not long after I was discharged!
I took some vicodin when I got home and now I’m relaxing watching netflix.

Honestly, the minute I woke up and looked down at the binder I never felt more confident and happy with my decision to get top surgery. I smiled at all the nurses who came by and was joking with everyone who helped me.

I am so happy.

Dark Souls 1: More on Quelaana’s Spawning Trigger

Over a year ago I made a post which demonstrated the known triggers for spawning Quelaana:

The tl;dr was that:

  • She will appear if you have a +10 Pyromancy Flame or higher
  • She will appear if another player (invader or co-op summon) enters your world while in Blighttown, and they have a +10 Pyromancy Flame or higher

There was a lot of speculation about other possible triggers, but I tested a lot of different things and nothing else ever worked. This made me pretty confident that confusion over summoned/ invading phantoms having the Pyro Flame on them explained most instances where people wondered why she showed up.

But since then, reports of doing neither of the above and still being able to see Queelana have been slowly building up. A recent reddit topic pointed me in the right direction, where someone noted that while they weren’t invaded in Blighttown, they were invaded in The Depths.

Earlier testing I had done made me think that encountering phantoms outside of Blighttown wouldn’t be sufficient, because I tested that in The Burg and Anor Londo, and that didn’t work. But then I realized, maybe the Depths invasion worked because it’s near Blighttown. And as it turns out, that is correct.

To understand why that works, it’s helpful if we take a look at how neighboring areas “queue” or “pre-load”. Here’s a screenshot of me standing in the middle of New Londo Ruins:

You can see a submenu in this debug menu titled m16_00_00_00, which is the New Londo Ruins map. It contains a list of all enemy characters/models that exist in New Londo Ruins, which makes sense because I’m currently in that level. You also don’t see any other maps listed out here, you only see m16.

But what happens when you approach the beginning of New Londo Ruins, bringing you closer to the Valley of Drakes? The map data for Blighttown, m14_000_00_00, appears.

Even though these other maps aren’t fully rendered at this stage, the game is at least “acknowledging” the existence of the creatures that can load in those areas. So as it turns out, phantoms entering your game (with the sufficiently upgraded Pyro Flame) will still unlock Queelana in your game, as long as you’re in Blighttown, or near Blighttown, in one of these neighboring transition areas.

These areas include:

  • The opening area of New Londo Ruins
  • Almost the entirety of The Depths
  • The Demon Firesage boss room

So we can now add three more areas to our list of places where multiplayer activity can potentially spawn Quelaana for you. I’m hoping this ties up all the loose ends of this mysterious trigger. Unless reports still come rolling in of people still seeing her without any of the above happening, I think we’ve finally got this nailed down. I’m not expecting any additional triggers not related to the +10 Pyro Flame.

Special thanks to  certa_sprezzatura for their recent inquiry on reddit, and Liberty Prime for helping me confirm this by invading me in the above locations.

How the Houses Work in Astrology 101

Of course the sun rises in the east, sets in the west, and the other celestial bodies do as well. So if you’re born at sunrise, your sun would be on your Ascendant, as planets on the ASC are Rising. If an astrologer told you that you have “Jupiter rising” that means Jupiter was passing up the eastern horizon on the moment you took your first breath. (In a future post I shall explain what it means for each planet to be rising in one’s birth chart!) So after any planet crosses the Ascendant, it goes up into the 12th house, then the 11th, then the 10th. At noon, the Sun is close to the MC, or the “Zenith”. If you have any other planet on the MC, that shows that this planet was at the top of the sky right when you were born, giving this planet an emphasis in your whole life.

Then after the sun crosses the Midheaven, it descends to the west, thru the 9th house, then the 8th, then the 7th, and reaches the Descendant. Since planets in the 7th house are giving out their last breath before heading below the horizon, the planets are weakened, less personal to yourself. That’s why we interpret 7th house planets as how we discover ourselves thru others, 1st and 12th house planets are very personal to us, but 7th and 6th house planets are across from us and portray how we relate to and serve others.

The sixth house is just below the western horizon and the sun proceeds down to the 5th house after sunset, then the 4th, and reaches the IC, or “Nadir” of the birth chart. If someone is born at midnight, their sun will be close to the IC. Then the sun rises up the 3rd house, then the 2nd, then the 1st, and rises up the eastern horizon again. Planets move clockwise thru the houses as time goes by. Houses on the left are eastern, houses on the right are western.

If you are born at or around sunrise, your rising sign is the same as your sun sign. If you’re born at or around sunset, your rising sign is opposite your sun sign. If at a given moment you do not have access to a birth chart calculator and someone tells you what time they’re born, you can estimate what house their sun is in and what their rising sign is. The closer you were born to the equator, the more equally sized your houses will be. People born in Alaska, for example (or other latitudes far from the equator), tend to have a few houses that are enlarged, and a few houses that are squished. If there are multiple signs in one house (intercepted signs), then you will get extra transits through that area of life! The houses that are squished will likely be areas of life that you do not get to fully explore.

Now I take you a step further to learn how different House Systems work, I realize it may feel like a lot to grasp, but this is absolutely essential to learn if you are seriously dedicated to Astrology.

In the Placidus house system, you might or might not have intercepted signs inside of a house. For example, my 8th house cusp is Leo, has Virgo intercepted, and Libra is at the end of my 8th house. Pisces is intercepted in the 2nd house. Gemini is double, as it is my 5th and 6th house cusps, then Sagittarius is at my 11th and 12th house cusps. The Ascendant is the same as the start of the first house, the IC is the same as the 4th house cusp, the MC is the same as the 10th house cusp, and the DSC (Descendant) is the same as the 7th house cusp.

The Koch House system will give you the same Ascendant, but different intercepted signs and different double signs. Some professional astrologers swear that the Koch house system is more accurate than Placidus, and I cannot tell you with all certainty which one is better. I met the great Robert Hand and he told me that he used to like Koch the best but now he uses Whole Sign System, claiming it to give him the most accurate predictions in his highly acclaimed readings.

The Whole Sign house system starts every house at Zero Degrees of each sign. The Ascendant is NOT the same as the first house cusp in the Whole Sign System, for example, my Ascendant is 16 degrees Capricorn for all three house systems I have mentioned thus far, so it puts my ascendant right in the middle of the 1st house. The IC is not the same as the 4th house cusp, the descendant is not the same as the 7th house cusp, and the MC is not the same as the 10th house cusp. You will not get intercepted signs with the Whole sign system. In Placidus and Koch I get a 12th house stellium, but it moves down to the 1st house when I use Whole Sign. I recommend you use to look at your birth chart in each of these systems to see for yourself how it works.

Campanus, Porphyry, and Regiomontanus are other Houses Systems that will each give you different intercepted signs, different double signs, etc. but I will not go into detail about these because Koch, Whole Sign, and Placidus are the most popular ones. No need to concern ourselves with too many methods.

The Equal House System makes all your houses look like evenly split pie slices, regardless of what latitude you were born at. Every house cusp is at the same degree of each sign. For example, since my ascendant is 16 Capricorn, my 2nd house would begin at 16 Aquarius, my 3rd house would begin at 16 Pisces, and my IC would be 16 Aries, and so on. There are no double signs or intercepted signs in the Equal House System. Many astrologers criticize Equal House because it’s too convenient to the point of giving inaccurate interpretations, it oversimplifies astrology which isn’t meant to be watered down.

I am not qualified to say which house system works the “best”, I have been studying Astrology off and on since I was ten and I can honestly tell you that I’ve met some professional Astrologers who swear by Whole Sign, or Koch, or Placidus. Even among astrologers who have decades of experience, there is still debate about which house system is the most accurate.

If you have any questions, please message me so I can give you a lesson, I can explain all this further for those of you who are budding astrologers! I also offer readings about your soul’s mission.

Originally posted by katekarma

New Beginnings - Sixteen

You genuinely weren’t sure how you felt, hearing Morgan say those words. 

On one hand, you knew now that it was definitely him. On the other hand, you knew that it was definitely him. 

You could hear Hotch speaking in the background but his words weren’t making any sense to you. 

“Guys, I’m sorry. I need a minute.” You pushed open the office door, heading out into the corridor and into the ladies bathroom. You locked yourself in a cubicle, pushing the toilet lid down and just sitting on the seat. 

‘You’re okay. You got this, you’re okay.’ You kept repeating to yourself. 

“Y/N. Open the door please.” Spencer must have followed you in. 

You unlocked the door and Spencer slipped in the cubicle with you, shutting it again behind him. 

“I’m sorry. I just needed to get out of that room.”

“I know. I get it. Hotch gets it, Penelope gets it. We’re all in this together. Nothing’s going to happen to you though. We’ll find him and we’ll protect you.”

You looked at him, a realisation hitting you. “What about you though? Spence, he killed that girls boyfriend and posed him how you’d been sat. You heard Rossi yesterday. It’s not just me that’s the target. He knows about you. Being with me has put you on danger.”

“When I joined the BAU I accepted that danger was part of the job just like you did. It comes with the territory.” He shrugged, taking your hands into his and trying to calm you down. 

“Yeah but it’s not just because of the job this time. It’s because of me. If you hadn’t met me, you wouldn’t be in danger.”

He lowered his head, resting his forehead against yours. “Y/N I wouldn’t change any of this. Alright so at the minute we might be in danger but two months from now it could be a different type of danger.”

“I guess. I’m just sorry. I feel like this is my fault. If I’d have died then those four people wouldn’t…….”

“Do not even think that. Say you hadn’t have survived the first time, he could have still ended up going on a spree. You don’t know these things. No one does. That fact is, you are here. And I’m so happy you are.”

He kissed your forehead gently. “Are you ready to go back?”

“Yeah, I am.”

An hour or so later there was another breakthrough. 

“I think I’ve found his car,“ Penelope called. 

You gathered round her desk again and she clicked through the screens. “So we know Kennedy Marshall signed into the gym at 7:45pm. At 6:58pm you can see a grey ford transit van turn into the same street where she’s parked. I’ve searched the cameras at the other end of the street and although they don’t cover all angles, I can’t see the car emerging again.”

She hit a few more buttons. “You can see the same van though pulling out of the street at 5:35am the next morning. I mean, they could have legitimate business to be there or……" 

"Cane’s intelligent enough to know that we’d be looking for a car approaching and leaving the area around the time Marshall left the gym so he purposely waited a while, in the hope that we wouldn’t check that far before or after,” you continued for her. 

“Exactly. The only issue is, I can’t get a good enough picture to get the plate number.”

“So run a search for all grey ford transit registered in the area,” Hotch began. 

“Wait one second!“ You remembered something from the footage of Kelly Casey and Paul Matthews. You pulled it up on your screen, fast forwarding through the frames until you saw what you wanted. About 17 seconds after Casey and Matthews crossed in front of the only security camera you’d managed to catch them on, you could see the same grey transit van. And the picture was much clearer. 

“I can make out most of the plate number.” You read it out to Garcia
, only missing the last two digits. 

Her fingers flew across the keyboard accessing the programmes she needed. 

“And boom! We’ve got it. We have a 2004 grey ford transit reported stolen six weeks ago in Charles County, Maryland. Report was filed by a Robert Nash, says the vehicle was stolen overnight from outside his property. Residential area though, so no cameras.”

“He’s been the country for six whole weeks then?” You couldn’t quite believe it. That meant he’d left the UK pretty much straight away. 

“If that’s the car he’s using and I’m betting my sweet, sweet ass that it is, then yep!”

“I’ll get an APB out on the vehicle. Good work ladies.”

Penelope raised her palm in the air and you high fived her. It was something small but at least you had something to go on. 

“Reid,” Hotch turned to address Spencer. “Has the owner of the pawn shop got back in touch yet?”

“He asked me to give him an hour whilst he checked his records. He’d only just opened when I’d called. I’ll try again.”

Spencer left the room, heading to your office to make the call in private. 

You started searching for the videos taken from the security cameras close to the library where Charlotte Days had been last seen. Finding the ones you wantedyou settled down, clicking through the images. 

The van was there again. You saw it pass down the road in front of the library minutes after Charlotte had exited. You clicked onto the next street camera hoping to track the car and saw something you didn’t expect to see. The car pulled up next to her and a few seconds later she got in. 

“What the fuuuck?”

“Hotch!” You yelled, replaying the images when he stood looking over your shoulder. 

“She knew him.”

You nodded, echoing what he was thinking. 

“Guys,” Spencer had re-entered the room. “Cane sold five out of nine of those first additions to that store.”

“For how much?” you asked. He told you the total figure. "But that’s nowhere near the amount he should have got for them?“ 

"Yes but he obviously wanted a quick sale. And cash. The owner offered him more when he bought the first one in but Cane told him he wanted cash. The owner told him of he wanted cash he’d have to wait whilst he contacted buyers he knew would be interested and pay upfront. That’s why he went back to the store so many times. They were sold to individual buyers. He could have got more if he’d agreed to a bank transfer or cheque payment but he obviously wanted to avoid a trail.”

“And the owners sure it’s Cane?” Hotch addressed him. 

“Yep,” Spencer nodded. “He recognised him from the photo I faxed over. He obviously hadn’t changed his appearance at that point.”

So now you knew what he was driving and how he had funded himself. 

“There’s a chance he’s bought the remaining books over here to sell,” you pondered. 

“I’ve already thought of that. I’ve sent the list of the remaining books and a photo out to various rare book collectors and pawn shops in and around Virginia. If he tries to sell them, if he hasn’t already, then we should be notified.”

You were actually getting somewhere it felt like. These were only small advances but at least you now had something. 

Hotch had sent Rossi and Prentiss back out to interview Charlotte Days’ friends and family again. You’d all agreed that the only way she would have got in that van if she’d known Cane somehow.  

Derek had joined you back at the BAU, the crime lab not being able to pull anymore prints from Marshalls car. You overheard him and Hotch talking about the statement Hotch was planning to release the following day. 

“Are you sure it’s a good idea, Reid won’t like it one bit.” Your ears perked up. 

“Won’t like what?” you walked over to the men. 

You saw them exchange looks before Hotch spoke. “We were debating whether to have you read the statement.”

“Me?” Normally this was something you often did, it being part of your role as media liaison. Given the circumstances though you’d assumed that Hotch would be the one in front of the camera. 

Derek looked at you. “Cane is obviously doing this to get your attention. If you deliver the statement to the press and he’s sees it…" 

"Which he will,” you butted in, knowing that he’d be following any media attention given to the case. 

Hotch continued where Derek had left off. “If he sees you delivering the statement he’ll know that he has your attention and may try to make direct contact with you.”

“No.” You hadn’t heard Spencer entering the room. 

“Reid, you know we’ve got a point.” Derek tried to appeal to him. 

“No. She’s not doing it.”

“Spence…… They’re right,” you told him softly. 

“You’re not doing it. It’s a stupid idea.”

“Spencer, she wouldn’t be in any danger. She’d be surrounded by agents, and it would be in a controlled location with press only." 

"You essentially want her to communicate with the man who raped and tried to kill her.” He was beginning to raise his voice and you winced at his words. 

“We think if she does, he’ll attempt to make contact with us and then we can track him,” Hotch stated calmly. 

“We’re tracking him anyway! We’ve got leads, we’ll keep following them!” You could see how agitated he was getting.

“If he makes contact with us directly, which we think he will as a result of Y/N reading the statement, then we’ll be able to track him quicker though.”

“Or you could get her killed. She’s not doing it.”

“Dr Reid.” Hotch was sharp now. 

“Spence…. ” You put your hand onto his arm and spoke. “You don’t have a say in this. It’s my choice and I agree. I’m doing it.”

He stared at you and then you felt him yank his arm away, turn on his heel and walking straight out the room, slamming the door closed behind him.

the grey area of transitioning.

one thing i rarely see talked about, is the mental vulnerability of someone in the middle of a long transition. 

the first few months on T, there are a lot of rapid changes. for me, i was noticing new things every day, learning new things about myself, experiencing a steady increase in everything i wanted, overly elated all the time.

at the 6-8 month mark, changes became less frequent, less exciting, less validating. some days, i felt uglier than ever before. overall, my happiness and comfort has dramatically increased, but as changes move over into the takes-years-to-really-set-in mark, it’s hard to not feel like things will never change. you might feel stuck in a grey area, stuck between the big things that happen fast, and the longer ones (ie facial hair, final voice). like the light hair on your upper lip is all you’ll ever achieve. 

i am so comfortable, absolutely sure about my identity. as a trans man, as a gay man, i have never had so much love for myself since beginning my transition and asserting myself in the world as me.

in an ideal world, those of us who are as sure about it as i am would be able to socially and physically transition at once. had i the money, i would have started T and gotten top surgery around the same time. because it is incredibly hard, very, very hard, to live as someone nearing 9 months on testosterone and still having breasts. it causes me a lot of stress.

it scares me a lot. i am very self-conscious sometimes, worried about what people will think if they see that i have both a mustache and breasts, of being outed, of everything, and there’s a lot of stress that comes with that. 

what you need to know is this: in a transition that takes years, you’re going to have bad days. you’re going to have days where you don’t love everything about yourself. where you feel scared, nervous, worried. T, transitioning, it isn’t the ultimate cure for everything, sometimes it makes things harder, but so long as the positives outweigh the negatives, i persevere. and every time i’ve faced these problems, i have overcome them, and found myself happier than i’d ever felt, over, and over, and over again. to this day. every time a bump happens, the product is better. 

i have thought, over these last few months, the following: “i will never make it to where i want to be.” “maybe other people were right.” “what if i really am just confused and don’t know what’s best for me?” “what if i’m just not trying hard enough to be a girl and making this hard for myself for no reason?” “what if i regret this?”

it takes time. it takes patience. it’s a very hard journey, but it’s one i’m willing to do and it’s one i’ve seen bring other men like me to the best they’ve ever felt. it’s brought ME to be the happiest i’ve ever felt. i KNOW it’s right for me. it might not be for other people, but I know what i need.

we all have moments of weakness, but i find this very common around the stagnation of change that happens around this time. every trans man i’ve talked to about this has said, “i get it.” every trans man who persisted with hormones as long/longer than me has said, “i got it, but not anymore. it’s normal.” doubting ourselves is unfortunately part of being alive. 

i just need to remind myself that for every day i doubt myself, there’s a month that i don’t. there’s a month of happiness, of excitement, of energy, of elation at every change that’s come to my body. 

i won’t regret it. i know myself well enough. i know myself better than anyone else could ever hope to. i know this is what i need now, and that these feelings will pass. i will become the man i dream of, it’s just harder because the process is longer. that’s okay. that’s life. life is full of ups and downs, regardless of transition. 

being weak, feeling unsure, is a part of being alive. be honest with yourself and be careful with yourself. understand yourself. have conversations with yourself about what you need. transitioning isn’t the ultimate cure or the ultimate truth, but think about the pros, the cons, whether you have the will. if it’s for you, if this is the road you travel knowing at the end there is bliss, you will make it through it. and there is bliss there. i see it, and i’m getting closer every day.