when the pawn meets the king

3D chess

Also @blueoftheenterprise ‘s fault. Send all complaints to them.  I AM INNOCENT HERE! I was tricked into posting it D:

1163 words

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You’d seen him in one of the recreational rooms, staring intently at the tridimensional board. He was clearly playing the computer and you’d sat beside him to watch in curiosity. Spock hadn’t even blinked as you approached, moving a piece across his board before he typed in the move to the computer.

“Would you teach me,” you finally had the courage to ask. He’d look at you like he was just noticing you.

He glanced at the board and then back to you. “Chess?”

“3D chess,” you clarified. You knew all the basics of the two dimensional chess, but you’d never learned the more complicated game that you’d seen students playing at the Academy. ”Maybe when you’re done?”

Spock glanced over the board. “This game will commence in precisely 15 moves, wherein it will end in a draw. Computer, cease program.” Then turning to you he set the pieces up in a way that varied from the regular chess you were used to. “Allow me to assist you. We will begin with the basics.”

“You are still thinking two dimensionally,” he pointed out, moving his bishop across three levels in one sweep and taking your knight. You held back a groan and glanced down at the pieces in defeat. A week of trying games after shift had seemed to have been fruitless.

“You are greatly improving,” he noted, but you still felt as lost as when you’d started. Seemed every time you started to learned something, Spock found a way to counter it without a thought.
You studied the board for a long time before moving your queen out of the way of danger. Spock slid his rook across the board.

“I believe that is checkmate, lieutenant.”

It became a regular routine between you, meeting on the rec-deck to practice. It was usually only a game or two a day. After a few weeks of being terribly beaten, you’d finally taken on yourself to start looking up some help from the computer. There were a ton of strategies, and names of moves that you’d never even heard of before, but you’d tried a few against the computer until you were sure you could use them reasonably.

When you first started a game with a legitimate opening, Spock had simply raised an eyebrow and countered the move easily. It was like a dance as you both followed the opening, you cornering his pieces to move as you wanted them he until broke the chain with an unexpected move.

You’d moved your next piece with a lot less confidence.

“Why do you play with me?” you’d asked one day after losing horribly to him once again.

“I do not fully understand your inquiry,” he said.

“I mean, you taught me the game at this point, but I can’t be much of a challenge to you,” you pointed out.

“The alternative being the computer, which I have programmed myself?”

That caused you to blush in embarrassment. “I find it fascinating to see your continued development in this skill. The captain and I have a biweekly game scheduled if it concerns you. I enjoy your presence as an opponent.”

“I would not do that,” Spock pointed out as you reached for a piece. “See if you can spot the issue.”

You gave the board a hard look but came up blank. After you offered him a confused look, he pointed to a couple pieces. “Rook to D6(6), it takes your knight and you’ve exposed your queen to be taken by the bishop at C3(2).”

You sighed and nodded. Spock had started slowly giving you advice on moves, but he was careful in his guidance to not just give you the moves he would make and allow you to think things out for yourself. It still felt like he was critiquing every other move you made. But you could see that he was a good teacher, and you welcomed the advice to the silence that accompanied most of the other games. Spock was not one for small talk, and you needed to focus.

You glanced over the board and moved another piece, getting a short nod from Spock.

“I am impressed. You have started to think several moves in advance,” he pointed out as you had just managed to be stalemated by the commander. “Your actions are clearly more strategic, and you made several wise choices that I did not anticipate. Your defense has progressed exponentially and you have successfully blocked all of my attacks, clearly to the point of a stalemate.” He may have considered it a success but it still felt like a loss.

“I want to try again,” you’d insisted, reaching over to set up the board again.

“I cannot continue this evening, y/n, but I will leave you with the board for the evening as I find it often helps more than the electronic computer version. Please ensure you take care of it, it is a personal set.”

You didn’t expect him to trust you with something so valuable, but you assured him it was in good hands. You spent the rest of the evening working playing the moves from the computer.

“Check.” You moved your rook to the fourth level, taking a pawn in its wake. If there was a little pride in your voice, you’d never let him know.

“Negative lieutenant,” Spock said, causing you to scan the board with a furrowed brow.

“How is that not check?” You felt defensive. “The move was completely legal and your king in jeopardized by the rook.” You pointed the line between them.

“It is not check, because it is mate,” he said simply, reaching over to knock over the king piece with a single finger. You looked again, and realized that by taking the pawn, your bishop was trapping the king from his only route of escape. You glanced up at his face but found it unchanged.

“Congratulations, y/n,” he nodded to you. You were still thinking on how that was possible when he stood and left.

The next evening you two were meant to meet, the commander was not in the hall as you expected. There was surely some reason he was running behind and you didn’t mind waiting. Moving over to the table you normally sat at, you saw something on it.

A closer inspection revealed it was one of the pieces from Spock’s set. The white queen. You picked it up delicately and rolled it between your fingers. Somehow you already knew what this meant. Spock was meticulous about his board, there was no way this was lost or forgotten. 

He was giving you so much more than the piece. There was so much more to the gesture than originally visible. Without the queen, the set was now incomplete. He was giving you a sign, an silent interest. You were his queen now.

You’d have to find him tonight and see where things went.

NYT: An Animator’s Death Releases a Flood of Sadness

Monty Oum Dies at 33, and His Fans Grieve

By Melena Ryzik -2/4/15-

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For fans of a certain kind of animation, Monty Oum was the Wizard — and the King, the Knight and the Pawn, all rolled into one. Millions of people watched his web series “Red vs. Blue” and “RWBY.” At conventions, thousands of fans, sometimes dolled up in the outfits of fantasy characters he created, waited for hours just to meet him.

Even in a scene known for its colorful personalities, Mr. Oum stood out. Clad in often over-the-top anime-style costumes — platinum wigs, rubber vests — with an unabashed energy and a robust work ethic, he served as an inspiration to audiences weaned on a D.I.Y. techno-culture.

So when his death was announced on Monday, there was an outsize outpouring of grief online — heartfelt tributes and teary condolences on Tumblr, Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, YouTube, even Google Docs.

“He changed my life and my outlook on work and creativity, on being a good person and a good friend,” said one, from the cartoonist Arin Hanson.

“I wasn’t expecting to feel so crushed,” read another.

Mr. Oum, had fallen into a coma last month after a sudden allergic reaction — news of that sent ripples of worry online — and died on Sunday at 33. At the gates of Rooster Teeth, the production company in Austin, Tex., where he was the director of animation, someone scattered rose petals in memoriam — a reference, perhaps, to the many flower images in “RWBY,” pronounced Ruby.

Even for people familiar with Mr. Oum’s presence and his work, the volume of grief was unexpected. The actor LeVar Burton was introduced to “Red vs. Blue” through his daughter, Mica, an avid gamer and anime fan. Ms. Burton, 20, a student at the University of Michigan, had called her father, upset, when news of Mr. Oum’s illness broke. Mr. Burton happened to be visiting her on the day the death was announced.

“When I arrived, she just fell into my arms, sobbing,” Mr. Burton said in a phone interview. She had met Mr. Oum briefly at a Rooster Teeth event, but “the depth of her grief was, and is, surprising,” her father said, a sentiment echoed by many parents this week. (He tweeted his condolences, too.)

Mr. Burton, the “Roots” star and a childhood hero to many as a host of “Reading Rainbow,” had his own theories about why Mr. Oum proved such a moving figure to young people. “The world has changed to the point that you can create and distribute without gatekeepers, and Monty was a wonderful example of that,” he said.

That Mr. Oum shared his idiosyncrasies, tastes and fears online also mattered. “He was somebody who was never cynical,” said Matt Hullum, the chief executive of Rooster Teeth.

And he was considerate of all of his fans: “Fun fact,” he once wrote on Twitter, referring to players who like to dress in costumes. “I try to make sure all my characters are designed with pockets/pouches so cosplayers will have places to put their phones/wallets.”

In the industry, Mr. Oum’s dedication was legendary. “He was just one of those people that was ferocious about the need to create,” Mr. Hullum said. “I used to say that he was on a ‘Men in Black’ schedule — he would work for 31 hours and then sleep for 12. He was just so excited about what he was doing.”

Continue reading the main story

Continue reading the main story

Mr. Oum made his name on a self-released video called “Haloid,” a mash-up using characters from the video games Halo and Metroid, which circulated online in 2007. It was part of a burgeoning form called machinima, which merged video game characters and cinematic animation — fan art across two genres.

Upon seeing it, “I remember thinking a) Who is this guy? and b) How did he do that?” recalled Carl Goodman, the executive director of the Museum of the Moving Image, which first hosted a machinima festival in 2003.

As a relatively young art form, machinima was “still waiting for its first auteurs,” Mr. Goodman added, “and that was him.”

When he joined Rooster Teeth, Mr. Oum worked for several years on “Red vs. Blue,” a wry machinima series based on Halo characters, now entering its 13th season. But he eventually moved on to his own anime-style show, “RWBY,” which focuses on four female warriors and in which he sought to blend Eastern and Western folklore and fairy tales with slick fight scenes. It was a quick hit, cementing his reputation. “You have a whole generation of creators who are even influenced already by ‘Red vs. Blue,’ ” Mr. Goodman said.

Mr. Hullum said the company plans to continue and expand “RWBY,” soon to be a video game. “Everybody wants to see Monty’s legacy continue,” he said. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the company asked that mourners simply create something. “Use your imagination to make the world a better place in any way that you can,” Mr. Hullum wrote.

That message reverberated online, where thousands posted tribute art, and off. In Corona, Calif., Adrian Valdivia, 17, a high school senior, heard the news at school. “It really, really hit me,” he said. “When I got home, I tried hard not to cry.” He thought of Mr. Oum’s hard-working ethos and his own aspiration to be an animator in his footsteps; for three years he has been working on a “Red vs. Blue”-like series.

“Before, I was like, I have this whole time in the world, I could probably make this during my YouTube years,” Mr. Valdivia said. “But after hearing about him — he was working on things, he wanted to do stuff, but now he never got a chance to do it. Now I have to get this done while I have the chance.” He would dedicate the effort to Mr. Oum, he said, “to know that he’s the one that made me get past all my limits, and push forward.” 

Birthday Ficlet for Leepala

Happy Birthday leepala! Here’s a poopy ficlet from your resident fandom slug.

Sometimes Charles got tired of being so charming all of the time.

That’s not to say that he was insincere; Charles honestly, genuinely enjoyed the company of most people. He also enjoyed riling up pessimists and cheering up people who he could feel were emotionally under the weather, so really, his charming nature came naturally in almost every social situation. His telepathy only added to his success, and according to Raven he was a walking ray of sunshine.

She’d taken to wearing sunglasses indoors when she wanted to be a brat.

Regardless of how he was a genuinely cheerful person or had the advantage of knowing just what to say to keep people happy, sometimes Charles just… didn’t want to. Everyone was that way, and although they’d usually express their unexplained hostility on unwitting strangers, Charles valued his reputation too much. When he needed a break from all the wooing and smiling he did, Charles would go the park, sit down at one of the public chess tables, and don his most unfriendly expression while he played by himself.

Playing against himself helped him to clear his head, and exuding an aura of being generally curmudgeonly and unapproachable helped vent that excess negative energy without actually tarnishing his reputation.

So when, in the midst of a complicated play against himself on a comfortably balmy Thursday afternoon, a man around his age dropped unceremoniously into the seat across from him, Charles did exactly what he felt like doing;

He glowered.

Keep reading

T  h  e    B  e  g  i  n  n  i  n  g

(My own spin to the beginning of beginnings. Yep, I took the liberty of bending S1-S2 canon. See you below.)

————

When Caroline was a young girl, Bonnie’s grandmother Sheila made her a prophecy.

One day, she said, you’ll meet a man – your prince – with eyes of blue and gold.

She was six then and like every other six year old, she believed in magic and fairytales.

So Caroline vowed to wait for that one day.

One day that she’ll have a prince.

————

When she was twelve, she met cornflake-haired Matt.

He was a shy boy of thirteen with an easy smile and the bluest set of eyes –

But he had eyes only for Elena.

And that’s okay, Caroline told herself. Someday, her turn would come.

Someday there would be someone for her too.

————

When she was sixteen, Stefan Salvatore came to town.

Transfer students were like rockstars in Mystic Falls so of course she and Bonnie stalked him the moment he entered the school.

He had a nice butt, Bonnie noted but Caroline only had eyes for the pair of Ray Bans he had yet to shed.

Stefan smiled at them as he passed by, at last removing his sunglasses.

Green. His eyes were both green.

Beside her, Bonnie was practically vibrating as she giddily sent a text to Elena while Caroline felt nothing but foolishness hoping the guy had heterochromia or something –

Yes, Caroline did her research.

But she couldn’t help but thinking maybe, just maybe there’s no man, no prince after all.

Maybe there’s no magic after all.

————

When she was seventeen, a rude awakening came to her in the form of the palest blue eyes and the most charming smile.

Upside? Damon Salvatore made her realize that there was magic.

But not the fluffy fairytale magic she used to believe. This was a different kind, cruel and dark and destructive.

Downside? Well, she died –

Kind of.

————

When she was seventeen and a full-pledged vampire, there was Tyler and his black and gold eyes.

Gold means wolf, they warned her and she told herself that didn’t mean anything to her at all –

Until Klaus came to town.

————

When she first heard his name, they didn’t know anything about him, not even what he looked like, only that he was evil and he only wanted Elena.

The part that he was a wolf came later, when she found herself chained in a tomb as a sacrifice.

This was no fairytale, Caroline accepted long ago, and she’s not in any form a princess but God

She’s so fucking tired of being pushed around and played. Once upon a time, she had her own story, her own purpose, but now she’s nothing but a pawn in this terrible game.

A game where her friend ended up dead in the arms of the biggest villain, Klaus and his thousands of years and his wolf eyes –

Gold.

Like the moon.

Like all the things she was warned about.

Like the prophecy

Elena fell to the ground, beside Jules and Aunt Jenna. In the distance, Stefan let out a pained cry but all Caroline could think about was what color Klaus’ eyes were when he’s not a wolf.

One day, Grams Sheila said, you’ll meet a man – your prince – with eyes of blue and gold.

But Klaus was no prince.

He was a king

And he was watching her with his golden gaze, looking impatient for a man who just broke a millennium old curse… until she saw a flash of his real eyes.

They were blue.

Klaus smiled then, all knowing and proud, and at that moment, Caroline knew that he knew.

About her.

About the prophecy.

And all this time, he was the one that’s waiting. He was the one who found her.

seto’s mom making him bento boxes for lunch and making a little dragon shape out of the food because her precocious little kindergartener is obsessed with dragons

seto’s mom buying him his first duel monsters cards when he was five, look at these, seto, but wash your hands first before you touch them, your fingers are all sticky

seto’s mom showing him how to play chess. this is a pawn and it moves like this, this is a rook and it moves like that, this is the queen who protects the king

seto’s mom who took her eldest son’s hand and placed it on her rounded belly, saying, can you feel that? that’s your little brother kicking, he wants to meet you and when his eyes grow big and wide she smiles and cups her hands around his childish cheeks and kisses him on the temple, her little boy

seto’s mom upon whose image her elder son is modeled in height and grace and passion and intellect, she died first but he let go of her last