RAB: Shithole Countries and the Tide Pod Challenge

I was born in and interesting time.  For starters, it was the end of the 90’s boom when I am coming up.  I’m 29 years old, and I got to see the 90’s end, with the great technological boom ending with it.  Now we have the post-recession economy.  The job market is dead.  This country is stagnating.  With the legalization of pan (whoever gets that without looking it up is my friend) there is a huge boom to incomes of various states, my own among them.  With Jeff Sessions saying he is going to crack down on the legal market, you have states looking to fight back because they don’t want to lose the revenue.  It’s not even a million dollar market anymore.  It’s going into the billions.  States are starting to catch on that the safest drug in the world can bring absurd amounts of money into their economies, and so they are stepping up to fight the federal government.  It’s inspiring stuff.

We also have the age of the Internet and of celebrity culture.  Because if some celebrity isn’t qualified to be a leader of the free world, who is?  I am of course talking about President Trump.  When I was watching the podcast I referenced before, and how they talked about Trump running, it’s amazing how the opinions changed over time.  People all saw his running as a joke that would play itself out.  But as the Democratic party rigged the primary against Sanders (thank you Donna Brazile for exposing that definitively), and the Republican candidates all being boring as dirt, his candidacy become a reality.  Then, because the Democrats chose to rig the primary for a corporate shill who bought them out (Hillary signed an agreement to have the DNC basically as an arm of her candidacy), and she couldn’t even get her nomination to be cheered without hiring people to come into the stadium to cheer.  No joke, look that up.  Hillary hired actual people to come in and cheer for her at the Democratic National Convention because she was booed constantly, even when Sanders tried to pimp her out.

Because Hillary was an idiot and just assumed that the Rust Belt states would support her and didn’t campaign there, and because she is a corporate tool, she lost the election to Trump.  The result?  We get a constant stream of interesting stuff.  Trump’s Twitter account is comedy gold.  I never get enough of it.  From the insanely immature spat he has going on with Kim Jong Un, to what a butthurt little bitch he is about every slight, this man is part of what I am assuming will be a string of Clown Town Presidents.  Hell, we even got Oprah coming in to throw her hat into the arena.  Makes all the liberals who castigated Trump as a reality TV star look really bad when they cheer on Oprah.

Yesterday he got in trouble for a comment where he asked why we would want immigrants from “shithole” countries.  Comedy gold.  But the thing that got my attention was the media’s reaction.  They said that calling these countries shitholes is racist.  I definitively disagree.  If he called the people of those countries something derogatory, then there’d be an argument.  And sure, the xenophobia of his immigrants part doesn’t make him look good.  But calling these countries shitholes is not racist.  I have nothing against the people of Haiti, Venezuela, and Kyrgyzstan, yet you wouldn’t find me caught dead visiting them.  It’s not a race thing to point out that a country is a festering pile of shit.  Don’t think this means I support Trump.  I just found that reaction interesting.

Next up, we got Internet culture.  I’ve been living on the Internet (because I have no life.  At all) for some time, and I’ve seen stupid shit that people promote come and go.  Most recently, it’s been the various “challenges.”  You had the ones that may have been nonsensical but at least did some good, like the Ice Bucket Challenge.  My favorite of those videos was Patrick Stewart taking ice from the bucket, putting it in a glass, pouring some scotch, and then writing a check.  That’s great.  Then there was the Cinnamon Challenge, where idiots tried to eat a spoonful of cinnamon for views.  Oh, and let’s not forget the Kyle Jenner contest where idiot girls tried to fatten their lips to insane degrees.

A new player has come to the arena of retarded things that our dumb-shit youth partake in because apparently common sense takes a backseat to Internet views.  That’s the world we live in today.  I talk of course of the Tide Pod Challenge.  A challenge where you ingest the contests of a Tide Pod.  People put them on pizzas, in cereal bowls, and then there are the real “winners” who decide to actually eat it.  That’s right, there are videos of these fucking moron teenagers putting them in their mouths and eating them.  Or at least until the permeable layer melts, then spitting it out because it tastes disgusting.  So far these challenges have claimed six lives.  I like to think of that as natural selection in action.  I know that evolution would gets another shot at giving humanity its just desserts.

I will never understand how people can be this dumb.  I may have liked dumb shit when I was a kid, but at no point can I imagine myself having ever been this stupid.  Ever.  To lack common sense or be willing to put your life in danger for something that ridiculous just makes no fucking sense to me.  Maybe one of you can explain this to me.  My hope is that ten years down the road, some of these kids get to look back and be like “Oh my Groj, what the fuck was wrong with me?”  That is if they don’t try the Run in Traffic Challenge next and die.  Just a thought…

Until next time, a quote,

“But let me tell you something, folks – you can’t fix stupid.  There’s not a pill you can take, not a class you can go to.  Stupid is forever.” – Ron White

Peace out,

Maverick

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Women Should Be Discouraged From Serving in the Military…?

I saw this rather terrible review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi that made me cringe a little.  It hated the movie as much as I did, but their reasons for hating it were just ridiculous.  It made these huge assertions about what the film promotes that just blow my mind.  I hate the film because it is a dumpster fire that butchers Luke’s character, has the biggest Mary Sue ever, and decided that instead of making a film that follows the plot from the last film, it is going to just go its own way.  Along the way we’ll get Leia Poppins and Tumblrina captain.  Great work.

But the video I mentioned had this weird contention that it said The Last Jedi was promoting – the idea that more women need to join the military, which the maker of the video said is wrong because women are weaker than men, on average.  To be fair, biologically that is true.  We are a sexually dimorphic species, and women are weaker than men on average.  Here’s the thing – how does this invalidate the idea that women should serve in the military?

One of my favorite women joined up with the Navy last year.  She is going into intelligence work, and her stories about life in the military fascinate me to no end.  Just makes me wonder what might of been had I not busted my skull open when I was 14.  I am immensely proud of her, and listening to her talk about her career with the military never stop being interesting.  She was telling me one day how she read an article about how the Navy SEALS were letting women join up.  She was skeptical of this for one simple reason – the physical requirements to be a SEAL are insane.  She broke it down for me, and to hear about that told me that unless these women were Olympians who train every day for it, the odds that they will meet the physical requirements to get past the initial phase that weeds out those who can’t measure up is ridiculous.  What’s more, she expressed the desire to not see the Navy lower their standards for women, because to be a SEAL, you need the physical conditioning that they require.  I totally get that.

Here’s what bothers me about this idea that women should not join the military – does this guy think that people see female soldiers as Black Widow from the Marvel films?  Yeah, in the regard it sounds ridiculous.  Seeing a woman who weighs very little taking on a ton of guys who would throw her against a wall is kind of silly.  But here’s the thing – that’s fiction.  And anyone with sense knows that.  Real combat, especially in the modern era, is so much different.  The reality is that you will hardly ever see combatants like in a CoD game shooting each other at damn-near point blank range.  In war you typically have combatants exchanging fire over huge amounts of distance and firing a ton of shots with very few hitting home.  Real war is messy, and complicated.  This isn’t Hollywood, and people know this.

But when you hear stories about the Kurdish women fighting ISIS and scoring real victories against them, or how women in Eastern Europe are forming militias that can stand up under fire, it really makes this argument that women should be discourage from serving not only sound kind of stupid, but more than a little sexist.  Can’t wait to see who calls me an SJW for that.  I said that an opinion someone has is sexist.  It’s true.  And I believe it too.  This guy is a sexist idiot who can’t look at reality and see that things are not as simple as rejecting the stereotypes in Hollywood.

Now look, I do firmly believe that the military shouldn’t lower their standards for women.  If you want to serve in a combat role, then you damn well should prove that you can measure up.  That’s only fair.  Demands for those roles are high, and those who want to take on that responsibility should have to prove themselves.  But while there are going to be less women up to the task than there are men, I whole-heartedly know that such women exist.

The real thing that irks me about the attitude of that guy is that that is part of the reason that the military has such a huge problem with sexual assault.  Sex crimes in the military is a fucking epidemic.  I can’t disclose what I have been told about what they tell women who join up behind closed doors about how to protect themselves, but it is scary stuff. Now granted, there are plenty of guys in the military who have just as much respect for the women they serve with as men.  But it’s like the cops.  You have a job that promotes gung-ho male toughness, you’re gonna get a lot of dumb-shit masculine guys with more penis blood than brain blood.

But the tide may be turning.  Now that women are being allowed into combat roles, things might get better.  For the women looking to serve, just make sure when you go places, you never go alone.  Build up a network of people you can trust.  It’s only smart.  See, unlike the people who say we need to tell men not to rape, I tell you to take sensible precautions because you are in a field where there are plenty of guys who only think with their cocks and leave their morals at the door.

I honestly would love to see the guy who made that video say that shit to one of the Kurdish women fighters.  They’d probably punch him in the dick.

Until next time, a quote,

“We have women in the military, but they don’t put us on the front lines.  They don’t know if we can fight, if we can kill.  I think we can.  All the general has to do is walk over to the women and say, ‘you see the enemy over there?  They say you look fat in those uniforms.'” – Elayne Boosler

Peace out,

Maverick

The Relationship Development Issue in Gaming

You know what I hate – when a series of games allows me to develop relationships, yet it feels like they aren’t complete by the end.  Or there is something flawed in them.  I’m going to be talking about two examples here, but there are more.  Lots more.  See, for whatever reason, game developers have a gift at making games where the relationship is developing really nicely, but then totally botch it later on because you don’t see real development.  For my two examples, I think there are different reasons, but I think it is something worth addressing.  Let me get into my examples.  That will help illuminate what I mean.

Mass Effect

In my initial run of this series, I had Shepherd going after Liara.  They were a totally cute couple.  Femshep was my character of choice, namely because Jennifer Hale had 1000X more personality than the guy who did male Shepard’s voice.  I don’t know why they picked so bland a guy, but he was dull as dirt.  Femshep was an interesting character.  And the romance between these two was cute.  I genuinely like both characters, so I wanted to see them together.  For the first game, the development of their relationship really felt genuine.  Liara doesn’t understand humans, so her bond with Shepard feels very exploratory for both of them.  Her being an alien is addressed as well.  It’s neat stuff.  We get to learn about her species and her character at the same time.

The second game rolls around, and this felt really good.  When you see Liara again, she’s become someone else.  The time apart has had a real effect on your relationship.  There is real distance that you are unable to address.  I like that when you see her again, she wordlessly says something to you and there is intimacy before she has to shut it down.  Then you get the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, and the distance between them is beautifully addressed.  I genuinely loved that.  The way the tension builds and builds until it all blows up and she acknowledges the feelings that were always there is just fantastic.  But they also address the reality that what Shepard is involved in is violent.  He/she could be killed at any moment.  That’s hard when you want to build a future.

Then we get the third game, and here is where my gripes come in.  Shepard has been incarcerated for months, and then are reunited with Liara on Mars.  That should have been a very intense scene.  A lot of emotional outpouring should have happened.  But it’s fine.  I can handle the little gripes.  My biggest gripe is that it really feels like the game is sending you back to square one with their relationship.  Why?  After having been together for years, these two should really be in a place where they are looking at their future and thinking about something more.  Liara talked about it at the end of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC.  She wanted to know what Shepard was hoping for with their future.  Now here you are, and she asks if you want to pick up where you left off.  Of course I said yes.

And yet, from that dialogue, it feels like you two are distant again.  Why?  You just said that you wanted to continue where you left off, after having addressed building a romantic future between you.  Shepard even joked about marriage and making babies with her.  So why does it feel like I’m having to win her back?  There should be more closeness between them that was tragically missing in a lot of scenes.

I said that I believe I have an explanation for why.  Here’s what I think happened in this game – they had to leave it open to the player wanting to go another route.  So they give you a chance to set things up with another character.  But see, that makes no goddamn sense.  Because Liara asks you if you want to pick up where things were left.  If you said yes, that should have just locked the player into that arc.  I know it’s cheating player choice, but you gave them the chance to back out.  It’s on them if they chose not to.  To see their relationship grow to something where they are talking about making babies and building a future together, maybe having the last scene be Liara asking Shepard to marry her.  To have that be the culmination of their emotional arc would have been fantastic.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it did have some closure in the Citadel DLC.  I really loved how they treated their relationship there.  Still, in a game all about building a narrative journey across three games, that seems like a no-brainer in developing that to see where it ultimately goes.  Would make Shepard’s passing in the end (if you chose one of the stupider endings like taking over the Reapers or the Synthesis ending which is bafflingly stupid) even more intense.  Seeing Liara in a room sobbing as all the chance to see her girlfriend survive is lost.  Of course, if the ending to the series hadn’t been so fucking stupid, we could have had options to have Shepard live.  I’ve already bitched about that enough.  Wrote a whole post about it.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Now, the original game had its own issues with a lackluster ending.  See, the original game had it where the only time the game would acknowledge Max and Chloe’s relationship is if you pick the ending where you let her die.  That bugs me.  But that’s nothing compared to how annoyed I am at this game.

See, the crux of what made this prequel work is building up the relationship between Rachel and Chloe.  You had to be careful how you set it up.  The wrong things said could derail all the romantic elements you are going for.  I liked that.  Made my investment seem like it was worth something.  Seeing how you go from acquaintances, to how fast these two can fall in love, it wasn’t like some Disney 3-day romance.  Here it feels like two people drawn together by a love that was beyond either of their control.  Which culminated in the second game to them kissing in a scene that was legit wonderful.  Especially after the amazing stage scene I got to have between them where Rachel pretty much says that she has feelings for Chloe in a way where it fits with the play at hand.

But then we get to the last episode.  This bothered me.  These two just made out, and all the momentum is in their relationship.  It felt like they should really be under the spell.  But nope.  The plot got in the way, in all the worst ways.  There were narratives that had to be wrapped up, and this game did it in such a piss-poor way.  It should have ended with Rachel meeting her mother.  Or maybe a plot about Sera being involved in bad things and the game acknowledging that.  Could have left things open for a sequel where the two meet her, and you have to figure out what to do next.  Options are there.

Instead, the game treats them both like they are friends.  The only time they acknowledge what happened in the last episode was via text.  Are you kidding me?!  Young love here, idiots!  Stupid teenager who should be all hormones and passion.  Granted, some serious shit happened with the revelation of Sera’s relationship to Rachel, but this game spent so much time grounding these two’s relationship as the center of the narrative, then totally ditched that.  It’s frustrating, to say the least.

Once again, I think I have an explanation.  See, in the game that this is a prequel to, the relationship between Rachel Amber and Chloe is deliberately ambiguous.  I was at first assuming it is so you can see in this what it was all like.  But since this prequel had to keep to the canon of the original (for reasons I will never understand.  There are so many narrative reasons around that with alternate timelines), it couldn’t let you be definitive about it.  Doesn’t help that I ostensibly set up Chloe to find out that Rachel was cheating on her with Frank.  Ouch.

So what do you think?  Why is it that game devs seem to have an issue bringing resolution to relationships in a game or game series.  Some do it better than others.  The relationship between Chris and Ashley in Until Dawn had some resolution if both of them lived to see the end.  I dug that.  And don’t even get me started about how they fucked the relationship between Femshep and Garrus.  That just bugged me!  Between games should have been nothing for them.  Anyway, that’s my thoughts.  Let me know yours in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

I don’t think you can analyze love. It’s the greatest mystery of all. No one knows why it happens, or doesn’t. Love is a chance combination of elements. Any one thing might be enough to keep it from igniting – a mood, a glance… a remark. And if we could define love, predict it – it would probably lose its power.” -Neelix, Star Trek: Voyager

Peace out,

Maverick

Bonds Deeper Than Blood

“Kay, I can’t dodge all of it!  Eyes on the battle!”
“Bite me!” she snarled back.
Her screen was absolutely lit up.  The process of this was so unbelievably taxing.  Every battle left her so mentally and physically drained.  She didn’t like to complain, looking back up and seeing her companion in the seat in front of her, desperately moving to dodge and attack.  For whatever reason, command always saw fit to have them right in the thick of whatever fight.  The assertion was that since this unit had a shield that was nigh-impenetrable with the right crew, why not have them dealing with the worst of every battle.  Enemy armors were everywhere.  Just everywhere.  Bogeys on her screen and energy lances in all directions.  Made sense why her head was killing her.
Quinn was doing everything she could to move and return fire.  A unit decided to try its luck and come in close.  Bad move.  Energy blade sawed it right in half.  An enemy cruiser was coming up.  This was bad.  They could handle enemy fire from units, but beam weapons on these monsters was unstoppable.  They hadn’t gotten the order to retreat yet, so all they could do was avoid fire.
“Command, Protectorate cruiser incoming!  Request permission to withdraw!”
“Negative, Killer Bee.  Keep at it.”
Switching the comms to the ship off.  “These fuckers wanna kill us!”
Hard for Kate to argue, but she couldn’t respond.  Now things just got worse.  Their units were doing the best they could, but already they had lost five.  This was supposed to be an elite squadron, yet so many of their best had already been killed.  It hurt to see all the racks having to get reassigned.
The cruiser was lining up their guns.  It was clear that the Killer Bee was the target.  This unit was giving the Protectorate hell, now they wanted it dead.  Quinn decided on a desperate gambit.  She hit the boosters and flew hard at the cruiser.
“Are you nuts?!” Kate yelled.
“The closer we get the less guns there are shooting as us!  I can’t dodge particle cannons and defense lasers!  The shield can’t take the cannons, and you can’t deflect all the lasers.  I can hear you cracking.”
It was hard to admit, but it was true,  She was getting sloppy.  They hadn’t taken damage yet, but they would be soon.  Her endurance was failing.
“Sorry.”
“We’re not dead yet.  No apologizing.”
“Right.”
Killer Bee swooped in over the gray hull of the enemy ship.  Blue beams came like shafts in the black void.  Meanwhile, yellow particle beams from massive guns were also coming out.  Quinn trained the cannons on the nearest laser emitters and opened up, blowing holes in the hull.  They flew right at the nearest cannon and let loose on that as well.  The gun was blasted full of holes and stopped firing.  This weapon was too big to blow up.  At least not without missiles.  They used those up during the ambush.
A voice suddenly came onto the comm.  “Relax, everybody!  The cavalry has arrived!”
Massive explosions suddenly coated the back of the ship, right at the engines.  Quinn pulled up and started moving away.  The lasers had trained on new targets.  A series of bombers had come from a ship that was hiding behind one of the larger asteroids.  More explosions.  They ignited the drive core!  This ship was as good as dead.
“All fighters and armors, return to the fleet!”
“About fucking time!” Quinn snarled.  They quickly shifted back and she hit the accelerator as fast as it would go.  Just below the speed where their particle field couldn’t keep up.  Kate was breathing heavy as she leaned back in the seat, turning off her console.  The exhaustion was catching up fast.
“Take a look at this,” her pilot said, pulling up an image on the display.  It showed the cruiser they had been fighting.  Shimmering particles were flowing out.  The drive core was leaking.  It was going to blow!  Kate leaned across Quinn’s seat.  In a brilliant shimmer of yellow and green light, the drive went up.  The explosion was massive, sending particles everywhere.
“Beautiful…” she marveled.
“Yeah.  Amazing.”  There was a string of explosions afterwards.  Part of the risk of the Nova Engine is that once the particles are caught up in an explosion, it doesn’t just blow up and then go away.  The particles ignite for a time afterwards.  Hence why the drive is in the center of any ship with extensive shielding over it.  Once a drive goes up, any ship nearby has to flee, fast.
The armors, fighters, and the bombers that joined them headed back towards their ships.  Enemy fighters and armors were headed away, now in a pretty pickle.  If there were no ships within range, they couldn’t make a jump to sub-space on their own.  All they could do is sit and wait.  If your ship was blown up and you had no support craft within distress beacon range, it was typically better to just surrender.  The alternative was either your power running out and you freezing to death, your oxygen running out and you suffocating, or any emergency water supplies being depleted and you dying of thirst.  None of which were good ways to go.  The enemy wasn’t surrendering, so they must have known reinforcements were close enough.  A good sign to vacate the area, with haste.

Back on the ship, the Killer Bee was docked in its hangar, where the repair technicians looked it over.  Aside from heating of the guns and some minor repairs, they were being kept very bored.  Kate was a master at what she did.
In the dressing room, the two women were stripping down.  Both were utterly exhausted.  After they got out of their g-suits, now they were only wearing flight jumpers.  Once those were off, Kate sat on the floor.  Freezing cold, but she would take it.  Eased the tension on her skin.
Looking over, Quinn cocked an eyebrow.  She was struggling to put on her underwear.
“You okay?”
Shaking her head.  “No, I’m not.  So fucking exhausted.  But my body is so damn tense.  My head is killing me, and my body feels like a spring being pressed on.  It almost hurts how tense I am.  But I don’t even have the energy to get up.  So done with today.”
Walking over, Quinn held out her arm to her compatriot.  “I can help with that.  But first, let’s get that naked butt off the floor.  You’ll catch cold doing that.  Not gonna have you in our bird sneezing.
Taking her hand, Kate smiled.  “Okay, Harley, what do you have in mind?”
“First that you put some clothes on.  I can’t take you where I want to go naked.”
Both of them cracked up.

It was dark inside of the Constellation Chamber.  One of the most underutilized rooms in the entire ship, this was a place where one could have darkness and see the stars.  They could also turn off the gravity inside and just rest.  A projection of the stars would appear overhead, along with all sorts of stellar phenomenon.  You could see the gaseous clouds of a supernova.  It was something they had recorded.  What was on the viewer tonight was a brilliant particle clouds from that night.  Someone one the ship was nice enough to record it and now it was displayed, making the whole room shimmer.
Kate was on her stomach, with Quinn on her lower back, her hands working up and down.  There was soft music playing, with the two just enjoying the silence.  For Kate’s part, she was loving it.  The tension was easing up.  This woman’s hands were magic.  The lights reflecting on the floor from the bench they were on was so soothing.  Part of her was thinking she was going to fall asleep.
“It’s okay, you know,” Quinn said.  “If you start snoring.”
Raising her head up.  “Hey!  It is not cool to be in my head!”  Like she could complain.  After all the time they had spent together in training, the two women might as well have the same mind.  They were so synchronized that you would catch them finishing each other’s sentences.  The two were always together.  Always.  They were virtually never seen apart.  Led a lot of the crew to wonder what their deal was, but no one would say it publicly.  After their victories in battle, both had earned a huge amount of respect.
“Just count yourself lucky.  My first piece of advice was that we should hit the showers and I would have given you a rub there.”
Kate groaned.  “As if we need more rumors about us.”
A chuckle, and she went back to her work.  The quiet classical music continued.  The mood lingered on, with the quiet suddenly becoming more pronounced.
“Hey Quinn?”
“Yeah?”
Another pause.  “Why have you never made a move on me?  I mean, everyone already assumes we’re together.  Why did you never make a move?”
The girl stopped for a moment, resuming.
“Because for the longest time I hated your guts.  The two of us damn-near tried to kill each other for our entire time at boot and then for weeks when we met up here.  There was just so much negativity.  Then things turn around, and we got to know each other.  You were always talking about your boyfriends and how close you were to them, so I just figured that you were straight.  Why do you ask?”
Kate shrugged.  “I don’t know.  Just thinking out loud.”
“Oh.”
The quiet came back, and now both women were awkward, yet the rubbing continued.
“Have you been thinking about it?” Quinn asked, finally.
Looking down for a moment.  “Maybe, a little.  I mean, we’re always together.  You even came to my rack when you had the nightmare.  It was always on my mind why you never expressed any interest.”
She smiled.  “It’s not like I haven’t thought about it.  But you know all the rules about fraternization.”
“Oh please!  As if the rules have ever stopped you from doing something.”
“Fine, you caught me.  Maybe it was me wondering if what we had going was something real or just a battle thing.  You know?  Like we were just bonding over the war and being afraid of dying?”
Wiggling to let her know she wanted up, she looked over at her pilot.  “Do you still think that way now?”
Head down, then back up.  “I don’t know.  Like, it’s always in the back of my mind, but then I think of how we laugh at each other’s jokes and how every time I am away from you I don’t wanna be.  Then I think about what will happen when all this is over, if the two of us are alive, and I feel really scared because I don’t want to imagine you being far away and me not being with you anymore.”
Kate grabbed her hand.  “Hey now!  When we’re done here, I am so taking you back my colony world!  I wouldn’t let you go back to that tiny apartment now.  You’re too important to me to just leave behind once this is done.  And to be honest, I kinda think the same thing.  Like, about how I don’t know what I would do if you weren’t with me.  And yeah, I guess I have been thinking about it.  Before we really started to mesh, after all the negative stuff got out of the way, I never thought about that sort of thing before.  I mean, there’s always that one insanely hot girl that everyone is staring at, but it never really occurred to me before now with myself.  You’re just so…different.
The two women were so close now, looking right into one-another’s eyes.
“You promise?  That you’ll take me back to your home if we survive the war?”
Kate nodded.  “I wouldn’t lie about that!”
“I’m not saying you would.  But you have talked about how your family is very colonial.  Not sure they would dig how I am.”
Shaking her head.  “I don’t care about what they would think.  It’s what you think that matters.”
For a long time they just sat there, staring at each other.  Kate smiled at her companion.  Quinn took her hand and kissed it.  The two were now closer than ever.
Looking at her seriously, Quinn said, “don’t make the move, if you don’t mean it.”
Pulling her close, their lips touched.  After a few moments together, they pulled apart.
“I never knew how much I needed to do that before now,” Kate whispered.  And with that, the song ended.  Quinn hit a switch, and the image changed to a glowing red dust cloud.

Until next time, a quote,

“Every seaman is not only a navigator, but a merchant and also a soldier.” – William Petty

Peace out,

Maverick

Memories From Both Sides

Three weeks.  Three grueling weeks of trying and failing to get the pilot and her support to cooperate.  Every day bled into around the same thing.  They would get up, with one trying to very diligently to be an educated pilot who is informed about her machine and its capabilities.  Her studying was commendable.  Then there was the pilot herself.  Distant, unconcerned with anything other than getting into the simulator, the two would get into long, protracted arguments that would serve only to have them grow further and further apart.  To those on the outside watching their interactions, it was like seeing bitter enemies being stuck in a room together, secretly finding ways to kill each other.
When the two got where the pilot wanted to be, in the simulator, things were even worse.  Constant failure to communicate while the pilot was paying attention to the task at hand and saying virtually nothing to her comrade, if anything at all, then being baffled as to why she was so out of sync with her.  Failed battle after failed battle, where having the Eternal Shield was the least of their problems.  The constant bickering meant that they were not even paying attention to the simulated battle at hand.  At one point, the pilot completely stopped paying attention to the battle and turned around to argue.
The commanding officers reprimanded them harshly.  Both were stuck on every punishment duty they could think of.  This only made things worse, with one blaming the other.  Three weeks, and it was more than a little clear that there was to be no compromise between them.  The ship’s counselors couldn’t make a dent.  These two were tasked with leading the charge with the newest weapon in the Fleet, which was slated to go into battle in under a month, and it hadn’t even gone out into space for actual flight yet.

In the Rear Admiral’s ready-room, there was a harsh discussion between him, his attendant, the CO of the two, and the ship’s counselors.
“Sir, we gotta get rid of them.  There’s time to find a new crew and get them trained.  Barely enough.  If these two women want to cat-fight every day, then I say kick them out.  Send them to separate ships and be done with it,” the attendant said, looking grim.
“Or we could threaten them with dishonorable discharge.  Maybe that would make the bitches wanna play ball,” the CO chimed in.
Rear Admiral Williams was rubbing his temples.  This same conversation had been going on for three weeks.  Now it was filtering out to the rest of the ship.  The cat-fights of the two crew for the most advanced ship in the Fleet.  People were chuckling everywhere.  The situation was grim and the entire ship was now getting a reputation because of it.  Didn’t help that they would continue their bickering after leaving APO space.
Looking over to the counselors.  “What do you suggest?”
An older woman, blonde hair and lines on her face looked up.  She was calm, collected.  “Sir, if I may, there’s no reason to get rid of both of them.  Just get rid of one.  Lt. Mills has shown that she wants to put in the time and effort to learn all she can about this machine and be good at her job.  Based on the interviews we have done, it’s clear she is dedicated to this.  Meanwhile, Lt. Jelineau doesn’t seem to care less about the machine and only wants to fly.  That’s great.  Her flight experience would make her one hell of a pilot.  Send her to some other ship and get a new pilot who can work better with Mills.  It’s an easy solution.”
The Attendant shook his head.  “Yeah, and what squadron is going to give up a good pilot now?”  He looked at the Rear Admiral.  “Sir, let’s kick the pilot to the curb or transfer her off ship and get one of our own.  We got some damn good men and women in this outfit.  I’m sure one of them can be trained to take over.  We don’t have time to negotiate with other ships for a replacement.  We are headed to battle in just under a month!”
It was a good argument.  This close to their fleet being sent into battle, the odds of getting a pilot they wanted was slim.  All of the ships were busy getting themselves ready, and by now most of their pilots had learned their squadrons and machines.
The Rear Admiral shook his head.  “We can’t just get some new pilot and hope for them to learn to use this armor in under a month.”  Standing up, he walked to the simulated window, looking out at the stars.  Everyone was silent for a long time.
Finally, the CO looked up.  “We could always just scrap it.  Send the armor back to Fleet Command and say we couldn’t get a crew able to pilot it correctly.  Not even a lie.  Wouldn’t make us look good, but it’s a hell of a lot better than taking the new model out into battle for the first time only to watch it blow up.  This bird has a hell of a lot of potential.  I don’t want to see this project scrapped because of two incompetent crew.”  The room got even more sullen.
For a long time, the Rear Admiral looked at the stars.  “There’s something about those two.  I saw it when I looked at them.  They’re damn good at what they do.”  Looking over at the CO.  “Independently, they both aced their roles, correct?”
He looked defeated.  “Aye, sir.  When they’re not together, to two really do kick ass.  Jelineau can hit a bulls-eye at any range and move like you wouldn’t believe, while Mills has really gotten a handle on the Eternal Shield.  I’m not gonna deny they are amazing.”
“With all due respect, sir, that doesn’t count for shit if they can’t work together,” the Attendant remarked.
Looking back at them, Williams sat back at his desk.  “I can feel there is real potential here.  But I can’t deny the possibility that I’m wrong.  So here’s what we’re going to do.  I’m going to give them one more week to get their act together.”  Turning to the CO.  “In the meantime, I want you to start scouting potential candidates who can be potential replacements.  Understood?”
Everyone stood up, saluting.  “Aye-aye!”
“Okay.  Dismissed.”

As the meeting was going on, Kate walked into the hangar with their bird.  It hadn’t been given a name yet.  One of the many things that her and her compatriot couldn’t agree on.  There were only a couple lights on, which was fine.  When the door closed, she leaned against the wall beside it, slid down to the floor, and started to cry.
It was clear that they were going to be kicked off this soon.  The entire ship saw the two of them as a joke.  Endless arguments, each of them having every ugly duty that could be assigned as punishment.  If it wasn’t for the fact that they were supposed to be the crew for this bird, it was clear both of them would have been either kicked off the ship or kicked out of the Fleet.  This machine was the only thing saving their careers from dishonorable discharge.  And it hadn’t even gone into space yet.  The damn thing sat there, collecting dust, because that fucking bitch couldn’t listen to me!  She wrapped her arms around her knees and put her head against it, sobbing.
This was going to be how her career ended.  Her wings really were a joke now.  One that the entire ship was laughing at.  Looking down at them, a dark look came to her face.  Might as well get rid of them now!  Their CO or the Admiral was gonna do it eventually anyway.  No point prolonging the inevitable.  She tore them off her uniform, throwing them at the bird as hard as she possibly could.  They clanged off the cockpit, falling to the deck.
From inside the cockpit, Quinn’s eyes came open.  What the hell?!  Still half-asleep, she pulled up the sensors on the machine.  An impact had happened.  Something hit the bird?!  From where?!  That’s when she saw a shadow on the floor.  Guess this was something to be addressed.
Opening up the hatch, she pulled out her tablet and brought the lights up.  That’s when she saw Kate, on the floor, curled up, tear streaks on her face.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
Looking up, equally confused, Kate hit back, “What do you care?  Why are you here?”
“I was trying to get some sleep.  Then some stuck-up bitch decided to throw shit and not.”
“Go to your rack if you wanna sleep.”
Looking down.  “Can’t sleep there.  Too much noise.”
Kate rolled her eyes, resting her head again.  “Whatever.”
Seeing a glint of metal on the floor, Quinn reached down and picked it up.  The wings that go on one’s uniform, signifying that you’re a pilot.  Why’d she throw this at my bird?
“What, you don’t want the wings anymore?”
Looking up, rage coming into her eyes.  “Can you just leave me the fuck alone, Quinn?!  Is it possible for once for you to keep your fucking attitude away from me for one goddamn second?!  Maybe realize that no one wants you here and go be a bitter cunt somewhere else?!  Can you do that?!”
Oh, so that’s how it is.  “Why?  Wanna be alone while you wallow in self-pity?”
Standing up fast, balling her fists.  “That’s it!  I am fucking done with your fucking attitude!”  She ran right at her, tagging the girl hard in the face.  Being thrown back, Quinn balled her fists up and ran back at her.  Tackling Kate, she landed on top of her, punching her face over and over again.  Her support tech smashed her knee into Quinn’s back, using the opportunity to get up and take a swing at her again, this time tagging her shoulder and chin.  The two women grappled for several minutes, until Kate had Quinn by her uniform, looking to catch her in the face again.  In a bid of desperation, she wrestled the arm that was holding her away, tearing open the buttons on her NSU’s.  There was exposed two necklaces.  The first was her tags, but the second got Kate’s attention.
It was a necklace with several things hanging from it.  The first was a feather.  Next was a locket with a heart on it.  Then there was a ring that was stainless steel, with something that looked like chain links wrapping around a metal interior.  It was clearly far too big for her.  Lastly there was a cross.  A symbol of the Christian religion.  Seeing those was virtually unheard of.  That religion supposedly died out 200 years ago.
Quinn pulled back, desperately trying to close her uniform, trying to hide the necklace from her assailant.
Stepping back, Kate gave her a confused look.  “What’s up with the necklace?”
“None of your fucking business!”  Tears started welling up.
This was a first.  In all the fights and bitterness between them, Kate had never seen her about to cry.  It deflated things pretty quick.  In that moment, this person who she had had such issue with seemed very human.
“You can talk to me, Quinn.  We’re supposed to be a team.”
“Talk to you about what?!  I got nothing to talk about!”
The anger started coming back.  “God, what is it with you?!  You work so hard to be distant from me.  What the fuck did I do to deserve this?!”
“From the moment we met, you acted like you are such hot shit!  Your mommy and daddy in uniform when they see you.  Everyone treats you like you are meant to be here.  Me?  I had to bust my ass to get here!  Had to show everyone that I can do what no one else can!  What no one else would.  Sure, I took stupid risks, but it got the job done.  But there you were, with your little clique, looking at me like you are so much better.  I got news for you, Kay, you ever get a look at whose name was at the top of the score in the sims at the Academy?  It was me!  I was the top ace at that school.  But then that stupid accident happened and all of you were laughing your asses off as I was being shown the hatch.  So fucking smug, right up to the end!  Then I get here, to take on a job that no other pilot in the whole damn Fleet can do, and what do I see?!  Your smug face still fucking judging me!”
The words were venomous, rage-filled.  Tears were openly flowing down her face now.  All of the airs she put on, being so tough, melting away.  Kate looked down.  It hurt her, for reasons she didn’t think of.
“Growing up, there was a lot that was expected of me,” she said.  “I come from a Navy family.  My parents served, my brother and sister serve.  After I strike out due to health problems the first time, I finally get in.  Everyone had such astronomical expectations, I pushed myself so much farther than I had to, because I couldn’t let them down.  Because of who my parents are, everyone treated my differently.  Guess I didn’t really see that before now.”
The two weren’t breathing as heavy anymore.  They stood there, as if waiting for something to happen.
“I’m sorry, Quinn.  I…I didn’t know I was hurting you.  Can we start over?  I’m tired of fighting.  It’s making my fucking hair fall out the stress is so high.  Can we start all of this over again?  Please?”
Leaning against the armor, Quinn whispered, “okay.”
Slumping against the wall, she let out a breath.  “Thank you.”  Looking back at the necklace.  “So, if you don’t mind me asking, what’s the story with that necklace?  A lot of random things on there.”
The pilot looked down at it, running her fingers over the various trinkets.  “I didn’t have a family, growing up.  Was some duct rat orbital station kid.  There were a lot of us on our station.  We all had something with us to remember each other by, if we died.  Happened a lot.  Some kid would be cut up by the fans in the ducts, killed by thugs, sucked out into vacuum.  Lost a lot of friends.  Anytime one of them died, I took their memento and put it on a necklace.  Now they’ll be with me forever.”
A sudden feeling of unimaginable guilt washed over her.  All the self-pity she had been feeling about her family, and here this woman was, all alone in the world.
“You don’t have any family?” Kate asked.
“I’m sure there’s a father out there somewhere, in the genetic registry, but I don’t care enough to look.  As for my mother, she told me to wait at the port for her to come back.  In some ways, I’m still waiting.  I waited there for as long as I could, until I realized she wasn’t coming back.  Don’t know if she just ditched me there, died, or what.  Doesn’t matter.  I survived.”
In that moment, there was a sudden protective feeling that came over Kate.  She had to look after this woman.  So much darkness surrounded her.  No wonder she was so desperate to prove herself.  All her life she had to prove herself.  Standing up, she walked over to where Quinn leaned, moving to put her arms around her.
She backed off.  “I don’t need your sympathy!”
Looking right into her eyes.  “This isn’t sympathy, Quinn.”  Her arms wrapped around her.  For a second, it was one-sided, until at last the pilot hugged her back, resting her head on Kate’s shoulder.  At last, there was peace in the hangar.

From their display in the Rear Admiral’s office, Williams and his Attendant watched the event unfold.
“Well, they’re both out now, regardless, sir,” the Attendant sighed.  “A physical altercation?  No way we can cover that.”
Grabbing his tablet, Williams hit a couple sensors.  The image suddenly went away, replaced with an error message.
“We have finally gotten these two to get along.  It finally looks like the crew of our experimental armor has put their differences aside.  So, I didn’t see anything.  Did you?”  His tone of voice was dead serious.
Pale as a corpse, he shook his head.  “No sir.”
“Good.  Dismissed.”
“Aye-aye, sir.” A quick salute.
When he left, the Rear Admiral smiled.  So they were the team he wanted.  All it took was them getting to the breaking point.  His instincts were right.  Turning back to the video footage, he saw the two women chatting, they seemed to almost be smiling.  Instincts were spot on.

Until next time, a quote,

“I have you in my grasp.  I shall not bend.” – Rachel Amber, Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Peace out,

Maverick

The Eternal Shield

“This is bullshit!” Kate said, pounding her fist on the table.  “I trained for three years to be a pilot!  Now you’re telling me I get to be support staff?!  What the fuck?!”
“You’re speaking to a superior officer, Lieutenant!”
She turned away.  Face was beet red, and now she was being shut down.  No way was she going to let them see how hurt she was by this.  All the years of training, getting rank to fly, now this was how it ended.  Being relegated to a support role.  It was beyond insulting.  Her scores were at the top of her class.  In the simulator she was ranked in the top 10 percent of all the students at Fleet Academy.  When she put the wings on that uniform, it was the proudest she had ever been.  Seeing her father in uniform, shaking her hand was such an honor.  Would make family events interesting, since she now outranks him.  Not that she would ever pull rank.  He was retired anyway.  All that work, and this is how it ends.
The Rear Admiral looked over at her.  A very calm, stoic man.  Every part of him was the definition of a Navy officer.  Well-trimmed beard, lines on his face that showed history of making hard decisions, and a uniform that while being perfect pressed, was worn too.  The years showed on his face, on his collar, sleeve, and chest.  He was worthy of respect.
“Come with me, Lieutenant.  Perhaps when you see the machine you’ll be in support with, you’ll understand.”
“Yes sir…” was all she could manage.  Her mind was trapped in a dark place, thinking of what everyone would say when she got back home and said her wings were basically stripped away.

Once they got off the elevator to the hangar bay, it was then that she noticed how she was walking right behind a Rear Admiral.  For someone in her position to be given a tour of something by the commander of the entire ship, it was very strange.  Why would he be giving her the rundown?  What was this unit?
After a long walk, they reached a hangar bay that was marked “Authorized Personnel Only.”  An APO?  Here?  This was strange enough to get her attention.  Was this unit a new model?  That got her blood pumping again.  The self-pity feeling receded just enough for her to want to see what was waiting for her in the hangar.  Scanning his ID badge, the door opened.  Coming inside, the Admiral’s attendant hit the sensor to turn on the lights.  In front of them was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.  Shining in the light, the black metal of the variable fighting armor was sleek.  It was in flight mode while docked here, no surprise.  Part of her wanted to see what it would look like in combat mode, but she wasn’t brave enough to ask.
Looking the unit over, she saw the typical fighter design reminiscent of Earth.  In space, that design wasn’t practical, but the sleeker look made it a smaller target.  Plus, with the usage of Nova Particles, they could afford to be flamboyant.  No longer were they limited to designs that made the most of booster engines.  Now the laws of gravity would bend to their will.  It was exciting stuff.  Elegant, yet completely lacking in any offensive capability while in flight mode.  That was strange.  Typically, variable armors would have at least basic weapon capability while in flight mode.  Why did this unit not?  That’s when her eyes were drawn to the back of it.  The rear of the unit had the strangest-looking boosters she had ever seen.  There were two of them, but they looked like complete Nova Engines.  The conical section at the tip of each booster was different, but the section linking to it with the unit was identical to what she had studied with Nova Particle engines.  The urge to ask questions was overpowering, but since she was already in the doghouse, she didn’t want to push her luck.
“What do you think, Lieutenant?” the Rear Admiral asked.
Finally!
“Sir, I have to ask – are those Nova engines on the back?  Why would this unit have two reactors?”
“Good eye, Lieutenant.  They are.  This unit utilizes a new system that has never been tested in the field before.  Observe.”  Looking over to a technician who entered the room.  “Let’s see the combat mode.”
“Aye-aye, sir!”  The young woman pulled out a tablet and hit some sensors.  Gravity tethers came down and lifted the fighter up.  It began to shift, with the cockpit going into the chest piece and disappearing.  No surprise.  Protect the pilots.  The head piece came up and had just the single glowing red eye.  Black armor, with yellow segments throughout.
“Beautiful,” Kate whispered.  Then she saw something – the two engines were now on large panels on the back of the shoulders of the armor.
“I’m not following, sir,” Kate said.  “I mean, it looks cool, but what does it do?”
The Rear Admiral turned and winked at her.  “Come into the booth.  It seals so we’re protected from Particle exposure.  We’ll show you.”
They started walking to a door on the far side of the hangar.  Looking back at it, the unit seemed so regal.  On the arms were gun barrels.  They were only exposed to show off.  It was clear that they typically folded into the armor itself.  Very cool to look at.  The legs had no real feet.  Hence why it had to be lifted up to do this.  At the bottom were pointed boosters.  While fighters of the modern age didn’t depend on boosters for mobility or turning in space, they still had them for sudden bursts of speed.  Essential while in battle.  All the cold black and vibrant yellow in the armor.  It reminded her of wasps back on her planet.

They went through the door and it led to a room with consoles in front of a large window.  At them sat technicians.  They had specs for the unit pulled up.
“Sir, everything’s ready here,” one of the techs announced.  Just then, the room started to go up!  This was pretty neat stuff.  Was this hangar designed for this?  Why had she never seen this place before.  So odd.  Now they could clearly see the armor hanging in suspension.
“Show the Lieutenant the shield,” the Rear Admiral commanded.
“Aye-aye!”  A few sensors were hit, then the engines on the shoulder started to shimmer.  Light particles were flowing out!  Made sense why they were in this sealed room now.  Direct exposure to Nova Particle was dangerous.  What were they going to show her.  A shield?  How was that possible?  After studying the particle, she had learned that while they could alter gravity around any contained space, there was no way to focus them in such a way that they could provide a constant shield.  Not without an insane power draw.  The Nova Particle engines worked by being able to create new particles while using them.  There was a restriction on the engines that kept them from drawing to the point that they couldn’t refill the standing supply.  Had they found a way around that?
Just then, she looked at the armor.  All over the body, tiny slots opened.  From there were coming lights.  The cold black metal, with dozens of tiny yellow lights.  It was pretty to look at.  Reminded her of a Solstice tree back home.  Were particles coming out of there?  No, they weren’t.  Then, a series of cannons dropped down.  They were going to shoot it?!  Risking damaging the equipment they were going to take into battle?  Seemed needless.  This was something they could have shown her in a simulation.
“Watch closely, Lieutenant,” the Rear Admiral commanded.
“Aye-aye, sir.”
One of the techs pulled up a display on her screen where it showed a system.  The name of it – Eternal Shield.  Eternal?  How had they found a way to get past the power draw?!  So many questions, but she was told to watch.  The guns came online.  One of them opened fire directly in front of the armor.  The tech furiously entered in information onto her panel.  Right as the beams were going to hit, little hexagons of light appeared!  They deflected the beams effortlessly.  The hexagons were created by the tiny lights on the armor!  What was the tech entering stuff about?  Then, a gun behind and to the side opened up.  Now the tech was really scrambling, but as before, the light shapes appeared and deflected all the shots.  It was amazing to look at.  All three guns opened up and the tech was sweating bullets, but she was able to keep up.  Not a single round hit the machine.  When it was done, the slots closed, and the particles stopped coming out of the engines.
“What do you think, Lieutenant?”
Kate was in awe.  “Sir, I have so many questions.”
“Speak freely.”
“Aye-aye.  First how are you able to solve the problem of power draw?  Something like this must take a colossal amount of particles to make work!”
A technician gave her a winsome smile.  “The twin engine drive.  Well, technically the shield is twin engine.  We also have a third engine inside the machine to power the rest of the systems, such as weapons and propulsion.  But the shield is controlled by dual-engines that work in tandem.  By working together, their individual power isn’t doubled, it’s squared.  We’ve been able to put the system through hours of testing without worrying about particle draw.  There is a protocol in place to remove the TD Blanket from the system, but we have yet to encounter such a situation in even the most stressful tests.”
This put her in even more awe.  “Incredible.  So, how do you make it work?  I saw the technician pounding away on the controls.  Is this something that has to be calibrated while in use?”
The girl at the controls nodded.  “That’s right.  Not only that, but you have to constantly adjust the system.  It’s part of how we keep the power draw at a minimum.  We can’t have the entire shield active at all times.  The particle drain would rise exponentially.  The job of the support technician in the fighter is to constantly adjust the shield to deal with income fire.  While the pilot is doing the moving and fighting, it is your job to keep the shield right where it needs to be.”
“What that means,” the other technician continued, “is that you have to constantly be keeping track of battle data and adjusting the system on the fly.  It’s like analyzing statistical probability in battle at all times and being able to adapt for it.”
The very idea sounded monumental.  To constantly be tracking things, and watching every section to know where and when attacks would come in during the heat of battle, no ordinary pilot could do it.  You’d have to be damn-near superhuman to do this.  That’s when she suddenly felt the pride coming back.  So this was what they were going to have her doing!  A task that was as important as it was difficult.  Let the people back home make fun of her.  They had no idea what she was tasked with.  The wings on her uniform looked a lot better again.
“I understand,” she said.  “So, if I’m gonna be the support tech, then who’s the pilot?”
The Rear Admiral smiled at her.  “I’m glad you asked.  I believe the two of you are acquainted.”
Someone from the Academy!  The idea put a huge smile on her face.  So many able pilots who she would love to be paired up with.  Put in countless hours to make sure they were perfectly in sync with one-another to be able to predict each other’s movements in battle.  This was suddenly unbelievably exciting.
“They should be heading down to meet us right now.  Let’s head out.  Excellent work, everyone.”
The techs all stood up and saluted.  Kate was having such a good day.

As they started back, Kate was already planning how things would go.  Wake up early, study specs.  Her and the pilot could spend hours in the simulator.  Early mornings, whatever duty shifts they had, then the rest of their spare time would be getting to the point where they could read the tone of each other’s voice and predict each other’s actions.  So many fantastic pilots she had graduated with, all of whom would be perfect for this.  It almost made the wait to see who the pilot was unbearable.
Starting back across the hangar bay, she noticed something by one of the regular armors.  The pilot was talking to someone.  This was someone she definitely recognized.  Fire red hair, freckles on her face, it was a woman who was the bane of her existence – Quinn.  Back at the Academy, this girl was every problem that the instructors had.  She was brash, cocky, and took horribly stupid risks.  It all culminated on her taking off with a training armor and pulling a stupid stunt that got the machine trashed, as well as two others.  Everyone just assumed that she was put on the short bus out of the Academy when she was packing up her bag and leaving.  Good riddance, she had thought at the time.  The Fleet didn’t need people like this infesting their corridors.  What was she doing here?  Maybe demoted and serving as a mechanic or something?  The thought pleased her.  Are they forcing her to fix the armors after she trashed one?  Or mopping the floors?  A fitting job.
“Ah, Lieutenant Jelineau!” the Rear Admiral called out.
Quinn looked up and ran over.  She saluted.
“Sir!  Lieutenant Ann Jelineau reporting for duty!”
“Glad to see you made it.  Settled in?”
“Aye sir!  So, when do I get to see this bird you’re gonna have me flying?”
She’s a pilot?  There really is no justice in the galaxy.  This is why people see the Directorate’s Fleet as a joke in some places.
“I just got done showing it to your support tech.  I’ll give you the full tour as well.  But, let me introduce you to your support.  I believe the two of you are familiar with one-another.”
The two looked at each other and while they tried to hide it, it was all over their faces’ that neither liked this.  Kate felt a pit in her stomach.
Oh no!  This can’t be!  Anyone but her!
Holding out her hand, Quinn looked right at her.
“Good to see you again.”
Taking it, both women squeezed tight.
“Likewise.”
And just like that, her good day was utterly destroyed.

Until next time, a quote,

“No man can be explained by his personal history, least of all a poet.” – Katherine Anne Porter

Peace out,

Maverick

The Logan Paul Suicide Forest Video is Fake

Since I’m a lonely loser who lives in a pretty decent apartment by myself, I live on the Internet.  It’s the life I lead.  It sucks, trust me.  But part of the thing about this fact is that I am constantly seeing the latest things that people are calling drama about.  Today it is a video that some YouTube vlogger that I had never heard of until today put up (and as of the writing of this post removed) where he is in the suicide forest of Japan and sees a dead body hanging from a tree.  Which he subsequently goes over to and gets really close to.  The video was mirrored everywhere, and I did actually see this, and…I think it’s fake.  My gut instinct is telling me that this idiot did this specifically for shock value and there isn’t an actual dead person there.

Let me say that I could be 100% wrong.  This is just my gut reaction, but as stupid and frustrating as that is, everything about the way this guy and his flunkies act and the way they are so unbelievably insensitive around a dead person leads me to believe that it’s all a big performance.  Because even if Logan Paul himself is a complete sociopath, there’s no way all his little entourage is that void of empathy.  As a person who has seen dead bodies and even seen someone after they killed themselves (it was a family member, and that’s all I’m going to say about that), seeing something like that would do things to you.  I got to see a person after they blew their head off with a shotgun.  The sight of that body left me feeling a whole bunch of really negative things.

Why would he do this?  Well, speaking as someone who lives on the Internet and sees all the stunts people pull, it’s because my PR education has informed me that there truly is no bad press.  All Logan Paul had to do was put this video up, and then subsequently take it down and post an apology, and his name is everywhere and there is controversy and he is getting more views than ever before.  Maybe this guy felt that his view count was getting a little low lately (he just bought a $6 million house.  I don’t get how that could be possible) or just that he wanted to push the envelope, but this feels like performance art to me.  Terrible, terrible performance art.

So that’s why this isn’t a Bad PR post.  Because in reality this isn’t bad PR.  If my assertion is correct, then this was a calculated move by this man to get a shit-ton of views and gets his name out there.  These kinds of stunts work, all the time.  In a world where you have to stay relevant in order to stay financially solvent on YouTube, especially now, this sort of trick pays back in spades.

It’s not just in how he acts, it’s in what he says.  This is a first for him?  A lot of things are going through his mind?  Nope, I call bullshit.  Complete bullshit.  This guy even puts sad fucking music over it.  This reminds me of when Onision did that video where he recorded a woman he was with having a seizure and put sad music over it.  That’s what this feels like.  Although, everyone knows that Onision is a complete sociopath.  And if the whole deal about him getting teenage girls to send underwear pics to him, maybe a bit of a pedo, but that’s old news.

Believe what you will, but I call bullshit.  This isn’t bad PR.  It’s brilliant PR.  It’s calculated, professional controversy shit-spinning.  Kinda wanna admire Logan Paul.  What a brilliant way to stay relevant.  And that’s my thoughts on the latest Internet drama.  I only felt compelled to talk about this because if it is on the level, then Logan Paul is just as much of a sick piece of shit as Onision.  But I am almost certain that it’s not.  It just feels staged.  The laughter then going into the fakest fake crying at the end just pegs it.  This is all just performance art.

That being said, if this is real, I feel so bad for the family of that person.  Suicide is a very terrible thing, and as someone who deals with suicidal thoughts on a daily basis, anyone thinking about it should reach out to someone.  You aren’t alone.

Until next time, a quote,

“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” – P.T. Barnum

Peace out,

Maverick