The Other Commander Shepard, 15/?

Fandom: Mass Effect

Summary: Val Shepard is the survivor of Mindoir, Hero of Elysium, first human Spectre, Savior of the Citadel, Destroyer of Bahak, and savior of the galaxy…… or is she?  Waking up as an ordinary Alliance officer, Shepard tries to make sense of the world around her, where everything seems changed.

Length: This chapter, ~5000 words; overall, ~60,000 words

Links: AO3, ff.net

Credits: Thanks to @theherocomplex and @probablylostrightnow for thoughtful and invaluable beta reading!

Additional note:  Sorry for the delay in posting!

Val said, “All I’m saying is, there are other alternatives.”

Garrus’s mandible flicked. “In a hurry, Shepard?”

She made a face, drumming her fingers on the battered table. Her eyes drifted around the room, to the other groups of people talking or laughing. “I don’t like waiting,” she admitted. “We don’t know how long it’s going to take Alex to get information from his contacts, or even… what?”

“Nothing,” Garrus said, but he kept grinning at her, mandibles flared and eyes bright with amusement.

She let out a deep breath. Around them, the clamor of the bar covered their conversation, but they needed to keep things light. If she pressed Garrus, he was just going to offer more observations about how she was or wasn’t like John Shepard, and she didn’t want to hear it. Every comparison heated her irritation. Probably John didn’t try to hash out their options the way she was doing. Once upon a time, Val might have chosen a course of action more easily, but in this new environment, she still felt out of step. Probably John didn’t fidget as much as she did, either. Deliberately, Val settled her shoulders and put her hands in her lap, lacing her fingers together to still them.

“Fine,” Garrus said, relenting at her stony look. “You’re right, it might take a while to track down that Cerberus facility Alex was talking about. But what do you suggest we do? You and I both have duties here. You’ve already asked Traynor to keep an eye out for this Dr. Bryson. What else?”

Underneath the table, Val’s hands tightened together. “Liara. She has an orb, I’m sure of it. Or it has her.”

Garrus leaned back, his mandibles drawing in tight to his jaw. “Maybe she does, and maybe it was Shepard’s. How do you propose to go about getting it?”

Val shrugged. “Break in and have a look around. Isn’t that one of your specialties?”

His brow plates twitched. “Interesting that you would think that.” His eyes shifted to the side, taking in the bar around them. “You do know who she is, right?”

“You don’t think we can crack her security, is that it?”

“I’m not sure what kind of security she has.” Garrus’s mandibles twitched. “Besides, she considers me a friend. I could just go see her.”

“You think that would still work after our last visit?”

Garrus tilted his head down, mandibles flexing. “Point. Maybe, maybe not. Liara can be unpredictable.”

“Unpredictable how? Val asked. Thinking about Liara’s cold eyes and pointed intrusion into her mind made her feel off balance. Garrus and James and even Traynor didn’t seem so different in this universe; why was Liara so different?

"Maybe Alex has come up with something that can detect the orbs,” Garrus said thoughtfully, as if he hadn’t heard her.

“That would be nice,” Val muttered, frowning. She’d hardly seen Alex in the last two days. He surfaced for breakfast and dinners, gulping down huge quantities of coffee at each meal, but he didn’t say much about what he was working on. Mama had been too delighted with Talitha’s presence to prod him for details. She was so delighted, in fact, that Talitha herself hardly got a word in edgewise, even to answer Mama’s questions, so Val hadn’t gotten any update on their work from Talitha, either. She’d replaced Traynor as Alex’s research assistant, since the new surge in communications traffic kept Traynor busy at her primary job. Val wasn’t sure whether Talitha had volunteered, or whether Alex had conscripted her. Either way, the two of them spent most of their time hunkered down in the lab.

Traynor had apologized profusely about not being able to work on the project, but her darting eyes and fidgeting made Val think Traynor wanted to keep her distance from the lab, and the orb in it. Honestly, Val couldn’t blame her.

“Yo, Scars, Blondie, what’s shaking?”

Val started guiltily as James strolled up, looming over Garrus’s shoulder. She fumbled for something to say.

Continue reading on AO3 or ff.net.

cobrilee replied to your post “Ngoziu is a great illustrator, but a mediocre storyteller. It’s one of…”

I love you so much, you know that, right? I am sitting here giggling diabolically because I adore every word of this response.

I bow to you, GIF Yoda, for your invaluable assustance in finding appropriate non-verbal responses for when I was too flumoxxed to respond in words :)


replied to your post

“Ngoziu is a great illustrator, but a mediocre storyteller. It’s one of…”

what the actual hell??? THanks op for answering this… you didn’t have to but its nice to see a rebuttal to this kind of attitude i’ve been seeing -_-

I honestly wasn’t going to, but I was so aggravated by the discourse and the infighting, and this was just… ridiculous, and I couldn’t hold my tongue. Thank you for your support, I was pretty sure I was gonna get a lot of backlash, so this was helpful in getting me through that anxiety :)


replied to your post

“Ngoziu is a great illustrator, but a mediocre storyteller. It’s one of…”

“the story as it has been written since the kiss is flat and /yes/ uninteresting” umm, this is known as the third act, everything was building to that moment so the energy built was massive that doesn’t make the rest of the story THER IS STILL ANOTHER YEAR and A HALF of story to find another few obstacles and then finaly culmination. Check Please is not just Zimbits, it’s Bitty’s story all 4 years…you seem like the kind that only reads PWP

Pfft, I laughed out loud at that last line.

But yes, the “she’s a mediocre storyteller” part is extra ridiculous when you consider classical storytelling structure. Thank you for this.


replied to your post

“Ngoziu is a great illustrator, but a mediocre storyteller. It’s one of…”


Thank you for shouting with me, friend!


replied to your post

“Ngoziu is a great illustrator, but a mediocre storyteller. It’s one of…”

lmao what. i would read literal starbucks reciepts about these boys. this anon speaks for themselves

I know, right? I would happily read hundreds of fluffy, happy nonsense, whether it be written on coffee stained napkins or published paperback novels. I do not understand the random anti-zimbits/anti-happy Bitty and Jack that has been popping up, and it confuses me that people think a story about a happy, communicative couple is boring? Haven’t we all been writing and reading stories about all the ways these two get to be happy for over a year?


replied “Bless you”, which is not showing up in my notes list, but was very appreciated, thank you.

I was genuinely worried I was going to receive a lot of hate for this, so I want to thank you all for your kind words. I haven’t gotten any nasty messages or reblogs, so I guess also thank you to anyone that disagrees with me, for not piling on.

With the latest update, I hope we can all agree that Bitty is growing and learning so much, and so is Jack, and that they deserve to get through this obstacle together and happy. And now that we’re all feeling emotional and nervous for our sweet Southern hockey baker, let’s maybe remember that we’re on the same side? (Otherwise, I don’t know why you’re reading)

My 3 Unfortunately-Secret Programs for Illustrators

There are a few programs I use on an almost daily basis as an artist and illustrator which I find invaluable, but that seem to be unfortunately more secret than they deserve to be. Which is too bad, because they solve a lot of small workflow problems that I think a number of people would find useful!

I’ll keep this list limited to my big three, but it is organized in order of usefulness. (And incidentally of compatibility, as the latter two are Windows-only. Sorry! Please do still check out PureRef though, Mac users.)

1. PureRef

PureRef is a program specifically designed to make it easier to view, sort, and work with your references. I actually put off downloading it initially because it seemed redundant– couldn’t I just paste the refs into my PSD files? Indeed, the only real barrier to working with PureRef is that learning the keyboard shortcuts and the clicks to move around the program takes a little while. But getting over that hump is well worth it, because it has some distinct advantages over trying to organize your refs in your actual art program.

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Firstly, you’re no longer bogging down your actual PSD file with extra layers, nor having to fight with said layers at all– PureRef has no layer panel, so you never have to scramble to grab the right one. All images you paste into the program retain their original resolution data, so you can resize, rotate, crop, etc as needed without distortion. If you find yourself needing to adjust the values, color, etc of a ref image, you can just copy paste it into Photoshop, make your adjustments, and copy paste it back into PureRef.

The other great advantage is that you can toggle the program as ‘Stay On Top’ and keep it above Photoshop (or whatever else)– which was always a problem when trying to make a reference collage in a separate PSD file. I find that I just don’t look at my references as much as I should when they are on a second monitor, and this solves that problem.

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I’ve used it religiously for about a year now, creating a new PureRef file for every illustration I do, as well as a few for specific characters, cultures, or settings in personal projects. As you can see in the example above, I like to sort my images into little clusters or 'islands’ of specific content, so that I can easily scroll out to see the entire reference map, then zoom in to the relevant cluster easily.

There is one big tip I would suggest for using this program, if you have the harddrive space: As soon as you get it, turn on the 'Embed local images in save file’ option. This will make your PureRef files bigger, but you’ll never have to deal with a 'broken link’ if you move around the source files you originally dragged in.

2. Work Timer

This is such a simple little app that it doesn’t have a very formal name, though I think of it as 'Work’ or 'Work Work’ (for some reason.) It’s a timer that counts when your cursor is active in any (of up to 3) program you set it to count for, and stops counting when you change programs or idle. No starting, pausing, stopping, or forgetting to do any of those three things.

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I use this one to accurately track my hours, both to inform myself and for commissions or other client work. At the end of a work session, I take the hours counted and add them to the hours I’ve already spent on that image in a spreadsheet.

I have it set to count my three art programs (Photoshop, Painter, and Manga Studio), so based on the settings I use, it doesn’t count time that I spend doing relevant work in my browser (such as looking up an email to double check character descriptions or ref hunting), so to counter that, I set the 'Timeout’ option in it’s menu to 360. This means it will count to 360 seconds of cursor inactivity before it considers me idle and stops counting. Since it instantly stops counting if you switch to 'non-work’ a program, I figure this extra time just about cancels out relevant time that it ignores in 'non-work’ programs by counting an extra minute or so when I walk away from the computer to grab some water or what-have-you.

3. Carapace

I use Carapace the least of these three, since my work doesn’t often have a need for creating perspective lines. But when there is architecture involved in something, this proves invaluable in simplifying that process.

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Carapace lets you copy paste an image into it, and then drop in vanishing points and move them around to create perspective lines. (Though you’ll want to scale down your full res drawing or painting a bit to avoid lagging the program.) Like with PureRef, fighting the shortcuts is the worst part of it, though for myself it’s more of an issue in this program because I don’t use it often enough to remember them. Still, it gets the job done, and it’s easy to adjust the points to feel things out until you get them 'right’. Then you just copy and paste the grid back into your art program and you’ve got that information to use as need be on its own layer.

Of course, using Carapace isn’t a replacement for actually knowing how perspective works– you still have to have a sense of how far apart the vanishing points should be placed to keep things feeling believable. But it sure does save you a lot of trouble once you do have that knowledge.

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So, there are my big three recommendations for programs to help your art workflow. I hope people find them useful– if you do, please share so that they climb a little higher out of their unwarranted obscurity! And if you’ve got a favorite tool like this that I didn’t cover, feel free to share it in the comments. I know I’m curious to see what else is out there, too. Also, if Mac users have any suggestions for programs that fill similar functions, feel free to share there as well!

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anonymous asked:

Hello! I saw the prompt request and thought of maybe an AU where Laurent and Damen are both Art majors in university, but Laurent is a classical painter and Damen is a sculptor who is very adamant on having Laurent model for his project. Laurent is not impressed but is still secretly amused.

“Surely,” Laurent says, “you can find someone else.”

“I want you,” Damen says.


Laurent waits for some kind of stammered comment about his looks; maybe Damen will be very original and invoke someone other than Botticelli. Laurent spent enough time staring into mirrors during self-portraiture class to know exactly what he looks like. This is not the first, second, or fifth time he has been approached about modeling.

“Your charming personality, of course,” says Damen dryly.

Laurent gives him a flat look.

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Doug and I had this idea of this love token of Uhura’s coming back later in the film to help them find out where she was located. So we had this idea of a radioactive mineral. We saw the humor that Spock is basically keeping track of her! But we didn’t have a name for it, so we reached out to the guys who created Memory Alpha, which is this Star Trek Wikipedia. It was an exhaustive, invaluable resource for Doug and I since we would fact-check everything, like what’s inside of a frozen torpedo or what year the first annex vessel made its maiden voyage. And we wrote to the guys and we said “Look, we have this thing and it needs a name, and we’d like you to be part of this movie and have your name in the credits, can you name it for us?” and they came back in about two hours with a really detailed, etymological breakdown of the word Vulcya [edit: Vokaya] in its syllabic structure, where it was from, what part of Vulcan, how it had evolved, etc. It just goes to show how awesome Star Trek fans can be. We just wanted a name, but fine, we’ll take this encyclopedia of the word and use it in the film. It was a nice way to include the fans in this 50th Anniversary. If it weren’t for the fans, the show would’ve been cancelled in its third season. It’s been kept alive by those people.

Simon Pegg about Uhura’s necklace from star trek beyond

edit: memory alpha calls the mineral Vokaya

Shoutout to the many disabled women who can’t see themselves in the picture of a self-reliant, independent woman that feminist movements praise and promote. Shoutout to the disabled women who can’t hold a job. Shoutout to the disabled women who are unable to support themselves economically. Shoutout to the disabled women who need assistance with cooking, cleaning and organizing their lives. Shoutout to the disabled women who are dependent on the help and support of others in their everyday lives. Shoutout to the disabled women who can’t do it on their own. Shoutout to the disabled women who require help and assistance that most people don’t need. We are all as important, invaluable and irreplaceable as ablebodied, neurotypical women.


Worbla sealing technique

I’ve been asked many times how I sealed the Worbla on my Wrathion costume for it to look this smooth. I don’t have progress pictures but I can explain since it’s pretty straightforward. This technique not only allows you to have a smooth surface, it gives you the chance to refine the shape and erase seams if, like me, you’re unable to form Worbla perfectly. Also, if you use a flexible paint and varnish on top, your piece will remain bendable without cracking.

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In the land of Hyrule, there echoes a legend. A legend held dearly by the Royal Family that tells of a boy… A boy who, after battling evil and saving Hyrule, crept away from the land that had made him a legend… Done with the battles he once waged across time, he embarked on a journey. A secret and personal journey… A journey in search of a beloved and invaluable friend… A friend with whom he parted ways when he finally fulfilled his heroic destiny and took his place among legends…


make me choose → anon asked: kasumi goto or zaeed massani

At great cost and effort, we have tracked down the master thief Kasumi Goto and convinced her to work with you. Very few people have ever heard of her, and fewer can claim to have seen her in person. She is unequaled at stealth and infiltration, and her skills will prove invaluable.

A great flowchart about if/when your dog should be on a leash (hint: it’s almost always). 

A woman I know is currently having to retire her seeing-eye dog. Why? It’s not because he’s old or sick. It’s because he was twice attacked by off-leash dogs in public while doing his job. Dogs who had “never done that before” and were “good dogs” whose attacks came “out of the blue.” Her dog was traumatized by the experience and became reactive to other dogs, and almost two months of attempted re-training through the organization that provided him has failed. He will never be a guide dog again. 

Because of the irresponsibility of other dog owners who thought it they were exempt from leash laws because they’d never had a problem before an invaluable and irreplaceable working dog can no longer do his job. My friend is having to give up a dog who has been an intimate part of her life and also her independence during the process of finding another service animal. 

Leash your dog. 


Pioneering Cartoonists of Color (2016)

“Syndicated cartoonist and illustrator Tim Jackson offers an unprecedented look at the rich yet largely untold story of African American cartoon artists. This book provides a historical record of the men and women who created seventy-plus comic strips, many editorial cartoons, and illustrations for articles. The volume covers the mid-1880s, the early years of the self-proclaimed black press, to 1968, when African American cartoon artists were accepted in the so-called mainstream.

This project strives not only to record the contributions of African American artists, but also to place them in full historical context. Revealed chronologically, these cartoons offer an invaluable perspective on American history of the black community during pivotal moments, including the Great Migration, race riots, the Great Depression, and both World Wars. Many of the greatest creators have already died, so Jackson recognizes the stakes in remembering them before this hidden yet vivid history is irretrievably lost.”

By Tim Jackson 

Get it  now here and leave a review if you can.

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