okay but…james rhodes’ mad scientist aesthetic. the kid went to MIT to study aviation engineering, he is a little nerd, okay. so like. imagine mit era rhodey and tony renting out a lab space in school to share for the school year (other science/engineering students are like “???are they allowed to do that???” and honestly the professors don’t know but they’re pretty sure howard stark came and made the dean cry when he tried to tell them no so they’re just letting it happen.)
everyone expects Tony’s half of the lab to be messy and for him to always have something slightly on fire.
what they don’t expect is rhodey’s fucking catastrophe of a work station. there are spare piece of metal everywhere, empty coffee cups, old to-go boxes. his computer is missing its back panel because he cannibalized it for parts. he once fell asleep there with goggles on and had an indent on his forehead for days. There was an Incident That We Don’t Talk About™, that left his neck and chest GREEN. (D O N O T A S K W H Y H E I S L E G A L L Y N O T A L L O W E D T O S A Y)
He’s not quite covered in oil or grease, but his dark circles are in a league of their own, and his hands and arms are permanently littered with bruised and cuts and burns from building prototypes, and experiments gone wrong.
Just, James Rhodes’ being a scientist.
There’s something I need to admit to you all. The url is a lie. I am not a graceful ace at all. I’m an extremely clumsy ace. I stub my toes 24/7. My room is a mess. I eat like a pig. Nothing about me is graceful. I’m so sorry for lying to you all.
fanfic where Cas dies and come back repeatedly, everyone is tired, every time he dies people go “Oh, he died again lol” but one time he dies for real and Dean rolls his eyes and continues with life because he knows Cas will come back but he doesn’t, and he never did.
As a mostly closeted ace, I just want to give a shoutout to those not out. It’s okay if you don’t come out yet. It’s okay if you only want to come out to a handful of people. It’s okay if you want to come out but feel like you’re trapped. It’s okay if you never want to come out at all. It’s okay if you’re not out for fear of rejection. It’s all completely your choice. No matter what you choose to do or who you decide to come out to, this blog and I will be there for you. I love you all. Stay strong.
Captured by pirates, Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano and Padawan Learner Obi-Wan Kenobi lead their fellow prisoners to freedom. Now in possession of the very ship that boarded their own cruiser, and surrounded by the rest of the pirate fleet, Ahsoka Tano must strike a hard bargain with the pirate matriarch Mama Ohnaka if she and Obi-Wan want to make it back to Coruscant and the Jedi Temple in one piece.
Let’s hope this works, Ahsoka thought to herself as she stepped forward to face the viewing screen, noticing out of the corner of her eye Obi-Wan stepping up next to Hondo in case he decided to try anything foolish.
She wasn’t sure if Obi-Wan was fully capable of handling Hondo at fifteen but she didn’t have time to worry about that right now.
“I would like to propose an exchange, Mother Ohnaka,” Ahsoka said, holding open her hands. “You see, we both have something the other one wants. Your son’s pirates have control of my ship, and I have your son, his ship, and his crew.”
“You are a Jedi,” Mama Ohnaka snickered, waving a dismissive hand. “It is against your Code to harm an innocent like my precious little gorka berry.”
Obi-Wan frowned at that. “What is a gorka berry?”
Hondo rolled his eyes and leaned over to mutter to Obi-Wan. “A sweet fruit my mother favors above all others save peaches from Naboo. She thinks it is a charming nickname.”
“Hondo, I can hear you!” Mama Ohnaka shot back, her beady eyes narrowed at son. “Oh, what happened to my sweet little boy? Where did I go wrong? How could you have fallen prey to Jedi of all people! They do not know the value of credits! They do not even like credits!”
Obi-Wan and Hondo exchanged looks and wisely went silent.
“Mother Ohnaka,” Ahsoka interrupted what looked like the start of a long tirade against the Jedi with a forced, bright smile. “While it is true that we Jedi are taught to eschew the search for credits for credits’ sake, we do understand that there are some things that are worth more than credits.”
Mama Ohnaka scoffed at that. “Oh? Like what?”
Ahsoka activated her blade in a bright flash of blue and held it up to Hondo’s throat. “This.”
Are you still doing the Animorphs reviews? If so, Megamorphs 3: Elfangor's Secret.
Short opinion: One of my friends was gently poking fun at me for reading trashy sci fi paperbacks meant for small children*, so I read the scene from the beach on D-Day aloud to the whole room. No one has poked fun at my reading material since then, and two people have since asked to borrow my copies of the series.
Elfangor’s Secret might have the most social commentary of any book in the entire series—even #9 and #40 pale in comparison—but it delivers that commentary in a way that is subtle, nuanced, and doesn’t resort to black-and-white thinking. The way it accomplishes that goal is through using the opening scene to suggest that even Our Intrepid Heroes have the potential to develop some incredibly toxic ideas if raised in a society that sufficiently encourages them.
Tobias opens the book by wistfully watching some humans slaves (apparently) enjoying themselves, because in this universe he’s an ignorant little jerk who has been taught not to consider the extreme drawbacks of being enslaved and can only see that the slaves get to be on the beach while he does not. Marco is living with two healthy, engaged parents and his very own Pong system… at the expense of referring to people of Latino descent as “jungle rats” (MM3). Cassie is at least kind to her slaves, which doesn’t exactly nullify the fact that SHE OWNS SEVERAL SLAVES. Ax and Rachel end up outside of the Racist Hatefest for different reasons (Rachel, at least, tried to fight back—go Rachel). Jake engages in so much xenophobic, narcissistic, paranoid posturing that he might as well be POTUS wearing his insecurities printed on a t-shirt. Although the book’s narration doesn’t excuse his behavior, it does explain why he’s so desperate to fit in with the status quo: in Nazi America, he has grown up his entire life being told that he is inferior because of his “Jewish blood” (MM4).
This book wastes no time at all in thoroughly condemning everything from Jake’s contempt for other races to Cassie’s and Tobias’s willingness to minimize the horror of slavery. It shows that in a world where the U.S. doesn’t take advantage of the innovative ability of all its residents—regardless of race or religion or nationality—its technology and economy not only don’t advance but actually backslide by several decades. Not only does the book condemn the atrocity of imperially-driven foreign war, but it actually lampoons the concept by showing the idiocy of Jake and Marco being so concerned with whether “decent” people own all the land in Brazil when they have much bigger concerns like, say, the impending annihilation of their entire species by the yeerks. But the opening sequence also shows how easy it is to slide into that kind of counterfactual thinking.
The Animorphs aren’t inherently bad people (well, maybe—but that’s a debate for another time) but they develop a lot of truly atrocious ideas when they’ve grown up their whole lives drinking the poison of their uber-nationalist white-supremacist government. It’s the same poison that the Princeton student who can’t see beyond Cassie’s skin color long enough to treat her as a human being has been drinking all his life. The same poison that makes several hundred English archers believe their only path to glory or meaning in life is through slaughtering hundreds of French knights as a part of some conflict they don’t even understand. The same poison that drives the Nazi soldiers to try and conquer the world so they can wipe out anyone who doesn’t look like them. The same poison that makes the sailors at Trafalgar look at Rachel as an object not a person. The same poison that causes Visser Four to view the humans as livestock to be corralled or slaughtered.
However, as disturbing as this book is in its portrayals of nationalism and racism, it also shows that anyone who is willing to overlook surface differences not only can but must fight back. As horrifying as Nazi America is in the first scene, it is still a world in which Rachel is definitely a “subversive” and Cassie is probably on her way to becoming one as well. When Tobias first pops up in Princeton in the 1930s, he gets a skin-crawly sense of wrongness at the realization that 100% of the students are white males even though he himself has the necessary privilege to “belong” there. Marco describes his own decision to kill Visser Four as a “stain on the conscience,” correctly realizing that just because the yeerk isn’t human doesn’t mean that he isn’t killing a sentient being, much less an unarmed prisoner of war—and even then he only kills Visser Four quickly to spare the yeerk a slow death. Ax spends a lot of this book desperately trying to find some greater meaning in the battles he witnesses, but after Rachel describes the Holocaust to him he comes to the realization that sometimes the only way to stop an unthinkable wrong from happening is through committing a wrong as well.
The ordinary humans themselves also come out of the woodwork to protest the divisions between them. The one Princeton student, Friedman, immediately speaks up on Cassie’s behalf when Davis addresses her with a racial slur. Ax is moved by the devastating kindness of “Doc,” an Allied soldier who dies trying to comfort a fatally injured comrade. Adolph Hitler himself, raised in a world different from the one that let him become a demagogue, is a humble truck driver who hesitates to shoot an alien he doesn’t know anything about. All of these people—and the Animorphs themselves—face a choice. They can do what is easy, through accepting the message that they are somehow superior simply because of their birth status or national identity. Or they can do what is right, through fighting back against those divisions long enough to reach out to their fellow humans and make radical steps toward peace.
*Just to be clear: I am not in any way implying that the Animorphs books aren’t trashy sci fi paperbacks meant for small children. They were literally commissioned as a marketing tactic to sell AniTV and transformer toys to kids, they use alien species and fictional technologies to ask important questions about the boundary conditions of humanity, they were all (except Visser) published straight to paperback, and they are deliberately written in a way that children as young as six or seven can enjoy but also learn from them. I’m saying that the fact that they are trashy sci fi paperbacks meant for small children does not in any way preclude them from having extreme violence, literary merit, or moral imperatives.