Hey guys, so I wanted to add to the humans are weird thing that’s going around, and this kinda came to me in the shower, so…enjoy?
Zah Rem was dying. They knew it the moment the Ra-Sek corridors
of the station began to feel cold. It had been easy to dismiss the chill at
first. The Humans always kept the main corridors to a barely tolerable 24
degrees Celcius, the Terran unit of heat. So Zah Rem had kept to Ra-Sek
corridors, content to survey the movement of their officers from the comfort of
But then they had Stopped in the Ra-Sek sustenance area. The
area was used infrequently as most of the new officers preferred to communal
sustenance area, and so some time had passed before a Terran ensign
accidentally stumbled across them. The human had run to get help, and that’s
how Zah Rem found themself in the infirmary, a heat unit glowing above their
bed as machines monitored every pulse of their internal fire.
To the Ra-Set, the Cooling was a very private matter. It was
some small mercy really- a natural death for a Ra-Sek happened over the course
of only days, and after the initial passing ceremony the Ra-Sek left the dying
in peace to contemplate their life. At least, that’s how it had been before.
A human, mouth closed
in a Ra-Sek neutral expression, sat at the end of their bed, eyes occasionally
flicking between the machines and their pad. This one was the human counterpart
of Zah Rems previous station and they knew this one well. She would not be
leaving unless the dying process miraculously reversed. Humans always seemed to
treat this like a logical possibility.
Zah Rem had lived such a long time, even for a Ra-Sek. They
had seen the rise of space travel for their people, the first contacts with
other races, some friendly, some hostile. They had seen stars flicker out of
existence. And then, they had seen the arrival of Terrans. What a ludicrous,
terrifying thing that had been.
The humans had arrived in strange, nonsensical machines
seemingly only barely capable of long distance space travel. Most of them had
arrived asleep. The Ra-Sek had initially been very wary of this smaller race. Humans
could regulate their own body temperatures. Humans lived short lives but took
life-threatening risks, seemingly for pleasure. Humans reproduced quickly and
freely, having offspring even in space, so far from their own world. Humans
would fight, losing limbs they could not regenerate, and then fight more.
In short, they were too dangerous not to make allies of. And
so the Ra-Sek had, and in their many years, Zah Rem considered this one of the
wisest choices of their people. The humans had helped them explore planets
previously thought uninhabitable. They had seen human shipmates run headfirst
into aggressive unknown flora and fauna and categorize it, collect it, and make
it known. In one instance, they had seen the entire brunt of humanity brought
to bear on a now extinct warmongering race, simply because this race had been dubbed
“bullies that don’t play fair”.
The human shifted in her chair. “Hey dragon, still alive?”
Zah Rem exhaled a plume of steam. They knew this word
referred to them, and that it was a reference to a Terran creature that may
have never even existed. They had seen a picture once, and they did see the
similarities to a Ra-Sek. That didn’t mean they had to answer.
The human sighed and flicked her eyes up and across, a human
gesture of annoyance. “I know you’re alive, your monitors are going. I wanted
to ask if you need anything.”
“Need? I am dying, there is nothing more I need.”
The human curled her upper lip, almost perfectly mimicking
the Ra-Sek gesture of annoyance. Human mimicry really was uncanny. “I know
that, but, is there anything you want? Water? Food? A book? Are you just…gonna
sit there until it happens? Aren’t you…y’know, uneasy?”
Now that was a strange word to use for this state, and Zah
Rem wondered if their translator had translated the Terran Common incorrectly. “Uneasy?
Why would I be…Uneasy?”
The general shifted in her chair again, suddenly transfixed
by her pad. “Well, I mean, are you…afraid?”
Zah Rem tilted their head, trying to mimic a gesture they had
seen humans use. “Why would I be afraid? I am dying, this is a normal process
for all living things.”
The human seemed frustrated, and Zah Rem once again saw the
wisdom of their own tradition of leaving the dying to cool in peace.
“I know that! I
just mean…aren’t you afraid of what happens next? Like, to you…after you die?”
her shoulders curled inwards.
After…death? Zah Rem snorted. “Nothing happens after death.
Death is the end of life…is it…is it not so for Terrans?” A pang of fear
twitched in Zah Rem’s core. Humans…died completely, true? They thought of all
their deceased human shipmates the other humans had burned, or buried under
soil, and suddenly they were…uneasy.
The general waved at
the air “Don’t call us that. And yeah, yeah, human’s die all the way too-“Relief.
“But, some humans…we have this…idea, that a part of us, the sentient part,
lives after we die. And, I don’t know where it goes, but death comes to collect
it, and guide it to where it’s supposed to go next.”
“Death…comes? As in, the concept of death is…sentient? and… travels to the location of the dying to
take their consciousness? Where? Why?” Zah Rem’s internal fire quivered, and the
monitors began to chirp and hum in complaint.
“Woah woah take it easy!” Their human counterpart stood,
touching their forelimb gently. This gesture would have been aggressive among Ra-Sek,
but they had long since learned that humans touched other beings freely. Her
hand was warm, and the heat soothed Zah Rem’s own heat. The monitors quieted.
“Y’know what? Forget I said anything, it’s just a dumb
Terran myth. You wanna see this picture of a cat I found?”
And, for once, Zah Rem really, really did.
The next few days passed quietly. Healers checked the
monitors as discreetly as possible and the general was a constant presence,
sneaking back in every time the Ra-Sek healers shooed her out. For the most
part, she worked on her pad, guiding the directors of her officers. Zah Rem was
mildly envious of this, but they felt the cooling settling in, and they were
content to reflect on past action instead.
Well, mostly content. Try as they may, Zah Rem could not
shake the idea of death as a sentient presence, and tendrils of fear began to
snake into the waiting, fear that, like in so many impossible ways, the humans
might be right about death. They did not want their consciousness to be taken. They
took to scanning the room when their human wasn’t looking.
This fear was probably what exacerbated the process. It
happened suddenly, their internal temperature falling, falling, and the general
was shouting, calling for help and Zah Rem knew they were beyond help, nothing could
help, but they were so afraid of Death being attracted by the cries, if only
And suddenly they were alone in a space that was not bright,
and was not dark. They…no longer felt cold, but not warm either. It made Zah
Rem…uneasy. And then they heard footsteps, and in the distance there was a
small flicker of light.
The light drew closer and closer, and with it Zah Rem began
to make out a figure in strange clothing. The figure wore long, black clothing
that flowed downward, with a hood that obscured the head. It was carrying a
long stick with what looked like a small ball of fire on top. They also saw the
glint of long, sharp looking metal, reminiscent of a Terran knife.
Zah Rem bared their teeth. A weapon. This must be Death. If
it was, it wouldn’t steal their sentience without a fight.
The figure closed in.
“Stop. Come no further.” Zha Rem growled. “I am Zah Rem of
the Ra-Sek. I have seen races rise and fall. I have seen stars flicker out of
existence. I have fought alongside humans.
I will not let you take my consciousness.”
There was a moment of silence. And then a strange sound came
from the hooded figure. A soft, musical sound, not unlike a Ra-Sek trill, very
much like…a human laugh. The figure lowered it’s hood.
Of course, Death would be a human.
Zha Rem felt the anger leave them all at once. The human
smiled, mouth closed, and reached its dark hand out to touch Zha Rem’s forelimb.
Their touch was warm, and Zha Rem felt the warmth coil around their core, lighting it once again.
Hey, sorry I'm a total n00b, but what's the deal with everyone repeating the "phil kessel is a stanley cup champion" thing? Sorry to bother you! x)
So, it depends a little bit on who you ask, the actual origin is a little unclear, but it is, essentially, a rally cry and big “Fuck You” to all the Phil Kessel haters, of which there are irrationally many. You probably need some backstory about Phil for it to make more sense -
First off, Phil is a great player - specifically, a great goal-scorer and even through some of the toughest times, he has throughout his career managed to put up a lot of points. He’s not what people might call a “200 foot player” who does everything all the time, he’s not a jack-of-all-trades but more of a specialist. A specialist who scores a lot of fucking points.
He’s an olympian, he’s a cancer survivor, he’s dedicated as shit (like he misses a game or a practice waaaay less often than other people, i forget the exact stats but yeah, super dedicated), iirc he does good charity work, he’s reported to be a good guy by everyone who actually knows him.
Phil’s also not your typical hockey bro - he’s a bit soft spoken and he’s too ginger and too round-faced. While I and many others find him delightful, there’s a certain percentage of people who he just rubs the wrong way - which hey, fine, not everyone gets along! He’s maybe a little shy, a little awkward, and he’s maybe a little quick to get defensive/irritated - though in my personal opinion I’d be a much bigger bitch to people if I were as talented as he is and had my work ethic questioned and talked down to as much as he is.
For several years prior to this last season, Phil Kessel was a major player in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ team, but for a variety of reasons, the team’s management and the media there didn’t really click with his personality. I’m not a Leafs fan or anything so I’ve only heard a lot second hand, but they didn’t really have his back, put a lot of pressure on him and blamed him for the team’s continued failures (even though he was one of the only ones actually performing well and they really were doing a bad job managing the team as a whole) instead of letting him just be good at what he does. Plus there has been a lot of media bullshit talking about his temperament and his weight and his - i swear to god - eating of a hotdog (which is actually most likely completely fabricated, but it tells you the quality of journalism). He was supposed to be their star and they should have supported him and been proud, and instead they treated him like shit. I mean, this happens on a lot of teams to a lot of talented players, but Phil’s case has always been a bit strange because he still performs and people ignore it and continue to hate a lot.
Which is when the Penguins come in - last summer they traded for Phil Kessel - a move which had Phil haters crowing with glee that he was leaving their leafs and laughing at the Pens for doing something so “stupid”. There was a lot of horrified talk about how bad a choice it was, how big a waste of cap space it would be and how much they’d regret it and how he’d ruin the team. I’m exaggerating but I’m not.
Now, the Pens team culture is a different one, a little unique in the league. Some teams decide on a personality, a message, and a culture, and they try and mold players into conforming to their perspective - which, good, you need an identity, sure, but several teams take it too far - to the level of making players all get short haircuts and be clean shaven and such things (creeps me the fuck out). Usually comes with a very authoritarian and narrow-minded coach who thinks their personal winning way is the only winning way. Which, will get results, to a certain degree, it’s true. As a personality psychologist, I can tell you that’s a huge waste of human talent though, especially at this level. You don’t want a team made of robots, you want to coach and manage your team so that the things that make your individual players special and above and beyond are the things that fit together. You make careful combinations so the jagged edges balance each other out, become complementing strengths, and letting the best features flourish and shine. The Pens are a great example - especially with the addition of Sully’s coaching style - of how to really play to your strengths. To not try and force guys to be something they’re not, to save their energy for their best features. The Pens kindof have to be like this - you couldn’t have guys like Malkin and Crosby on a team if you weren’t willing break a few molds.
The Pens embraced Phil and all his personality ‘quirks’ and took off the bullshit pressure gave him places to shine, to make his best talents a priority and not ask him to do things that aren’t. And he fucking did it, he flourished. He did good work all season, and when they came through the playoffs he lit it the fuck up! He led the team in points - 10 goals, 22 points in the playoffs. Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe because he was also an amazing leader and a play maker for others in addition to scoring points himself during their run, but many people agree Phil was just as much a contender for it. They would never have won without him. He has worked so hard for so long and put up with so much shit, and when you put him on a great team that embraced him (and the guys really have embraced him, they make a point to talk about his accomplishments and call him “Phil the Thrill” and cheer him on when he doesn’t meekly lay down and take people’s bullshit because his team actually finally fucking has his back - e.g. them cheering him in the background when reporters were asking about his salty team USA tweet)
So, what it comes down to, is when someone says “Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup Champion”, they’re saying fuck you, everyone who trashed him, who treated him like crap and then threw him away. It’s all of us who think he’s great showing our solidarity and pride in him for proving them wrong.