Are All Your Arguments This Bad? (A response to Laci Green)

I’m going to be up-front with all of you.  There was a time when I watched Laci Green’s videos and enjoyed them very much.  Years back, many years back, she made videos about atheism that were pretty enjoyable to watch.  That was back before her show “Sex +.”  She seemed to be getting a lot of traction in those days.  However, she then decided to do what was, at the time, the atheist’s rite of passage – pwning Venom Fang X.  Pwning isn’t a term you hear much anymore.  Again, it is a thing for the time period.  Back in the day, any atheist YouTube personality looking to show their chops went after Venom Fang X.  God knows (pun intended), he didn’t make himself a difficult target.  Indeed, VFX gained infamy for how easy he made himself out to be.  Until Thunderf00t took him to task about when he raised money for a charity and then didn’t give the money he raised to them.  Even forced VFX to read a letter that Thunderf00t had written and leave YouTube for a year.  He eventually came back, but his clout was dead and gone.

Back to Laci, she went after him, and then the unthinkable happened – he went back at her.  He made a response to her video and pwned her.  Quite thoroughly.  It was awe-inspiring.  Needless to say, Laci was humiliated and her credibility in the YouTube atheist crowd was gone.  So, she decided to change her tune and get into feminism videos.  The rest is history.  I got bored of her content after that, because it got progressively less interesting.  But I don’t begrudge her success.  For a while, her “Sex +” videos were pretty good.  She has some chops.  Talking about stuff that was a little awkward, looking at the elements of human sexuality, worked.  But somewhere along the way, where she once decided to make videos about stuff that she clearly knew a great deal about, the feminism side took over, and…yeah.

I made a response to her video where she attacked Disney, and I pointed something rather glaring out – she has absolutely NO specific evidence of her claims that Disney has a ton of rampant sexism in their movies.  She went after the fairytale films, but went out of her way to ignore the vast catalog of animated Disney films.  It was almost upsetting how she made these huge sweeping generalizations without a single citation.  Like it was just supposed to be common knowledge that women in Disney films were all terrible stereotypes.  Even though, if you dig under the hood and have a working knowledge of Disney the way I do, it’s pretty clear that a lot of her points were flat-out wrong.  Like the statement that Disney films have a ton of guys fighting over a gal.  I can only think of one Disney film with that element – Beauty and the Beast.  Or that women are just some prize and have no personality.  Even in the old fairytale movies, that makes no sense.  Go back to Snow White and you see that she cleaned up and made food for the dwarves so that she could use that to barter with them to have a place to stay, so the evil Queen wouldn’t find her.  That was a survival tactic!

Recently, she made a video where she went after the whole deal with rape and its perception in the media.  Naturally, this rides of the coattails of the UVA story, and how Jackie’s entire narrative was proven to be nothing but lies.  I’m sure that she is one of these women who says that it isn’t wrong that Jackie lied.  But let’s actually look at her video and see what she’s talking about.

It’s not ten seconds into the video and already I am annoyed.  She says that people just assume that women are making rape stories up.  A citation would go a LONG way here.  Where is this societal denial of rape and rape victims happening?  She makes this blanket statement, without a SINGLE piece of corroborating evidence.  That is terrible arguing!  I was quite excellent back in debate when I was in college.  Laci, you know what makes a good debate – good evidence.  Or, failing that, being able to hide your bad evidence inside good argumentation.  You can’t do either of these things.

Granted, we don’t just accept that a person who claims to be the victim of a crime is right, the moment they make that claim.  It’s called skepticism.  It’s the cornerstone of our system of a person being innocent until proven guilty.  We do take rape seriously.  But the law says that we have to make a thorough investigation, so we can find out if someone is telling the truth or not.  We don’t believe of disbelieve anyone.  We work to find the truth.  Your saying that it’s wrong to not just take what potential rape victims say as gospel is a little frightening, because you are basically admitting that you don’t want to look at this objectively.  And that belief structure led to the burning of plenty of witches, back in the day.

She makes a bunch of arguments about Bill Cosby and campus sexual assault, then goes on to say that people who hear that women get raped just automatically assume that they’re lying.  You’re wrong, Laci.  You’re just wrong.  I brought this up with Jessica Valenti, and now I’m bringing it up with you – look at the media blitz surrounding the UVA story.  Is that the kind of reaction that you see coming from people who are believed to be lying about their sexual assault experiences?  See how having specific examples helps you case?  We don’t assume that Jackie’s lying.  The EVIDENCE has shown that every part of her story about being raped is a lie.  Absolutely zero corroborating evidence could be found for her story.  I don’t just assume that anyone is guilty or innocent.  I wait for the law to investigate, and judge from there.  Why don’t you?

You also make the blanket statement that people don’t trust women.  Are you kidding me?!  How can you make an assertion like that without a TON of well-researched, very credible evidence?  How can you do that?  I literally don’t get it.  That is nuts.

The one major piece of evidence you bring up is a dude who wrote something where he said that women get overemotional about stuff.  That’s it?  That’s the closest thing you have to evidence in your video?  I looked down below, but you had one link to something someone else wrote that was not especially good either.  I’ve looked through your work on MTV Braless, Laci, and every video is like this!  What is going on?!  I remember when you used to talk about stuff straight.  I remember when you used to have evidence and talk about stuff.  I remember a very enjoyable video where you went after the Catholic church and had a ton of specific examples of bad behavior, and then some examples of documents from them and a group called SNAP (Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests).  Where did that person go?!  What happened?!

I hate seeing people I respected end up like this.  It’s not right.  But more than that – I hate that MTV peddles this garbage.  They accept this narrative and bad argumentation on their network, and what’s more – it’s gotten Laci on MSNBC.  Though that last part doesn’t surprise me.  I hate it, but it doesn’t shock me one bit.  MSNBC has shown themselves for the charlatans they are (and this is coming from a liberal douchebag like me).  It’s a shame that it turned out this way, Laci.  But there is still a chance for you to turn it around.  Maybe your viewers would be lesser, but you can still do the right thing and do some proper research and argue your position without feeling the need to go straight to pathos.

The choice is yours.

Until next time, a quote,

“Nothing goes over my head.  My reflexes are too fast.  I would catch it!”  -Drax the Destroyer, Guardians of the Galaxy

Peace out,

Maverick

Another Conservative Who Misrepresents Pot (A response to Stephen Crowder)

I haven’t responded to this guy in a LONG time.  Not since that whole big protest in Wisconsin where the teachers and firefighter unions were a bunch of thugs for demanding equal representation for their union rights.  Since Crowder is a conservative, he naturally had to go out of his way with How The World Works to vilify them.  Crowder is the same guy who also picked a fight with a union guy, then went on Fox News and tried to make it out that the guy who he pushed over was at fault when he slugged the pretentious little cock.  He disappeared after The Amazing Atheist took him to task for that.  For which Crowder hates him with a bitter passion.

However, Crowder decided to get in his two-cents with the legalization of pot too.  Naturally, we all know what his position is going to be.  After he made a very inept video, where he found one of the craziest people he could and used him as an example of the pot smokers of the world, he decided to make a continuation on his podcast.  It is that to which I am responding, because Crowder’s stupidity just leaps off the page.

This is really long, and I’m not gonna respond to every point, but you can listen to the first ten minutes of this and beat the hell out of Crowder’s arguments.

Of course, Crowder has to begin by saying that he’s libertarian and doesn’t care that if states vote to legalize.  Naturally.  But then he has to come in and talk about the “harms of marijuana.”  Like what, Stephen?  Objectively, it is safer than alcohol, cigarettes and any prescription drug.  This has been studied, to DEATH!  There is no argument that can be made for it being more dangerous than any other drug.  Your contention that that’s not the case is so ridiculous.  Then his guest takes on the Anita Sarkeesian style of arguing.  Where she says that if you look at the comments of videos, people are dumb.  Yes, because there haven’t been very educated people who have put your garbage in its place, right?  That’s never happened.

Then, they paint everyone who argues in favor of legalizing pot as a “heavy user..”  I can think of one video off the top of my head of a person who has never used pot in his life, but wants to legalize it so that we can help end the drug war (linked here).  This is such an easy way to deflect criticism without having to address the points that people make.

Crowder then decides to try and make the case that we’ve been raised to believe that pot is safer than alcohol, but it isn’t.  A fact that, by the way, is blatantly untrue.  There is no data, anywhere, that shows that pot is more dangerous than alcohol.  When’s the last time someone got pot poisoning (the equivalent of alcohol poisoning)?  You can’t get addicted to pot in the same way that you can become addicted to alcohol.  Take a look at old stoners and look at old drunks.  My granddad was an old drunk.  That dude was so on the beer that it was understood that trying to get him clean would kill him.  Find me a pot smoker so dependent on pot that that is the case.  Pot is, without question, safer than alcohol.  You then compare pot to smoking, and guess what – pot is safer than cigarettes too!  You casually just make it sound like those arguments are dumb, when the fact is that both of those arguments are so fallacious!

The guest then says that young people are smoking pot more than drinking.  So?  I don’t get that problem.  That’s a good thing!  Maybe we can have a decline in alcoholism in this country (something that is rampant) by legalizing pot.  Crowder uses some anecdote about his friends being smart, then smoking pot and becoming dumb, to support him. That’s garbage!  For real, what does that even mean?  “My friend was smart, then he smoked pot and now he’s dumb!”  Conservative stupidity 101.  Your guest says that your anecdote is totally legit, stating that there is data to support that conclusion.  And what is her citation…?  Yeah, I couldn’t find one either. She continues the thought that young people are smoking pot now and it’s the new norm.  So?  Young people drink all the fucking time too.  That’s accepted (illegal, but we all know it goes down.  We’ve been teenagers before).  So what’s the problem here?  What is this data you claim to have pointing to?  And how did you get it?  What was the method?  You’re supposed to be a person in psychology.  Give us the scoop.

Then, a bomb gets dropped – this guest is supposed to be a person who can give it to us straight about pot and how it affects regular joes, and she states that her experience with pot and how it affects people is with her patients, who have mental problems.  Then what the hell are you talking about this for?!  You don’t have any real experience with normal people!  This is so stupid!  She then makes the argument that people she knows who are users outside of her work all have subtle changes and that that is somehow indicative of some huge problem with weed.  Fallacy after fallacy, and it doesn’t stop.  Crowder’s channel is called the Tea Party News Network.  I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything better.

They keep bringing up studies.  Study this and study that.  Not a single specific citation.  None.  It’s all just speculation and “we know this random thing, but I won’t tell you from what.”  It’s garbage.

And that’s what Crowder’s argument boils down to – garbage.  He claims to not be taking a side, but that’s bullshit.  He is clearly taking a side here, and he peddles that side with a guest who couldn’t possibly be more biased.  Who seems incapable of giving specific examples.  Conservative bad science 101.  He can say that I’m one of those people who is part of his strawman pothead supporter, but in the end, if you watch The Union, a fantastic documentary about the misinformation about pot, done by actual professionals, then you will see that all of this hubbub about how bad it is is bullshit.  Nice to see that Crowder is still a pathetic little worm who can’t make a good video to save his life.  After all, the only thing you’d need to refute him is to show him how much good the legalization of pot has done for Colorado.  If my own state wasn’t being a giant dick about how they are legalizing it, it might do good here too.

Until next time, a quote,

“I could ramble for hours about how police in this country have better things to do than stop people from ingesting a plant that makes them sleepy, happy, and hungry.”  -Grappling Ignorance, Yes We Cannabis

Peace out,

Maverick

The Europa Mystery

My second piece of fiction that I’ve done on this site, in addition to “Quinn.”  This was a project that took a lot longer, but was fun to do.  If you liked this story, I am grouping all the parts here, which you an check out by clicking on each one.  Share the story, and let’s see how big we can make it.  Enjoy.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

Until next time, a quote,

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” – Phillip Pullman

Peace out,

Maverick

The Europa Mystery: Part 12

After the Commander left, Lucas and I were talking, for hours.  I was sure that he was going to get another award.  He deserved it.  After all the work he put in, I would be kind of pissed if he didn’t get some recognition.  He said that he would make sure that I wasn’t left out of this.  That made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  After a few more hours, both of us felt tired.  The long-defrost thing coming back.  We were out like lights pretty damn quick.  Another dream came to me that night.

It was some else’s eyes again.  Mars?  I think so.  This looked like Mari.  Her vehicle came to a stop in front of my parents house.  She got out and went rushing at the door.  Right as she got there, it opened.  There was Mom, heading out.
“Oh, Marlene!  Hello there.  What brings you around?  I haven’t seen you since…”  There was a bitter note.  Something told me that it was my funeral.  Mom had aged, a lot.  I couldn’t imagine how hard that would be, believing that your child had died.
Mars shook her head.  “You are never going to believe what’s happened!  Is David around?!”
Again, Mom got awkward.  “David…moved out, about a month ago.  Once the divorce got finalized.”  My heart sunk.  They got divorced!  What happened?!  But then I remembered – they believed that I was dead.  For what was probably a year.  Was I the only thing holding our family together?  No, that couldn’t be it.  It was probably just a lot of things.  After you lose a kid, how does a person deal with that without having it fuck with your mind?  I didn’t have an answer.
Mars seemed determined to maintain her good mood.  “Get him here!  Or set up a video link!”
Mom looked confused.  “Why?  What’s going on?”
“Ellie’s alive!  Mars Defensive Forces found a shuttle on an incoming trajectory.  It was broadcasting a message that it was coming into Mars orbit and looking to be picked up.  We grabbed the shuttle as soon as it got into orbit and cracked it open!  Get David on the line.  He’s got to hear this!”
“Come with me!”  There was a look of joy and urgency on Mom’s face.  My heart was singing.

 

Dad burst into the house.
“Ellie’s okay?! Where is she?!”
Mars looked up at him.  “She’s at Orbital Station 2 right now, along with Lucas.”
“Is she alright?!” Mom asked.
“Aside from some muscle degeneration and melanin depletion from the prolonged cryo-sleep, she’s the picture of health.  Kid’s apparently had one hell of a journey.  I brought the video that was taken of it for you.”
“We need to get a shuttle and see her!” Dad almost shouted.  “Now!”
Mars shook her head.  “No can do.  No civvies on an IDF Station.  But Ellie is coming back two days from now.  We’ve notified Lucas’ father as well.  He’s going to be one busy kid.  Him and Ellie both.  It seems that he figured out the story behind what happened with Atlantis Station.  Smart fucking kid.  I’ve listened to his explanation, and it still amazes me.  In the data he forwarded to Commander Aronax, he added an addendum where he credited Ellie with the discovery, stating that none of it would have been possible without her help.  Bet she’s feeling all kinds of good right now.”
Dad ran over and hugged Mom.  They looked so happy.
“When is that shuttle coming in?”
“Bright and early!  I bet you that Ellie is going to be eager to get back home.  I’ve left you a copy of the video and the data that Lucas got you.”  The tone got slightly more serious.  “Though I have to tell you that both the video and the data are strictly classified as IDF intel, for now.  So no sharing that, with anyone. Got it?”
Dad nodded.  “Sure, sounds good.”
Tears streaming down her face, Mom looked up.  “Marlene, thank you so much.  I can never repay you, for all you’ve done.”
“My pleasure!  When I heard, it was like I was reborn.”
“Why did it take so long for her to get back?” Dad asked, trying to keep himself from crying.
“Their shuttle got intercepted by some pirates.  They were apparently on their way to one of the outlaw asteroids, TJ.  An ugly place.  The IDF has tried to go after it for years, but it’s heavily defended.  Lucas was going to be put to work in the mines, while Ellie, she would have likely ended up…”  Her voice trailed off.  They got the picture.
“Oh god…” Mom added.
“Kid’s damn smart.  She hacked their central computer and used their ship to transmit a message to the IDF.  Got a fleet to their location.  A brutal fight. The two escaped in the chaos.  But they were deep inside the Belt.  Their shuttle was programmed to avoid problem areas.  To do that, they had to make a very long detour around pirate sectors.  The two were lucky that auto-pilot was able to navigate through the unfamiliar terrain.  We have less than 20% of the Belt charted.  Had their system not been able to hone in on Mars’ location, the two of them might have been drifting out there forever.  Or, at the very least, for several more years.  Damn lucky kids.”
Both of my parents were beaming.  Dad was holding Mom’s hand.  I knew that it was just happiness talking.  What got them to that divorce wasn’t going away.  Still, I couldn’t help but hope that the two of them would make it work.
“Be at the Spaceport at 0800, two days from now.  You have a daughter to see.”  The vision started to fade out.

 

I was in a room.  It was dark.  The walls were covered in what looked like graffiti and craziness.  What was this place?  There was a young woman laying on the bed.  She had blue hair.  Who was this person?  All along both of her arms, there were tattoos.  It was too dark to see them exactly, but they looked pretty cool.  Who was this person?  There was a beeping noise.  It was on her arm.  She reached over and hit the glowing center of her Band.
“Who is it and what do you want?”
“You aren’t going to believe this!”  That voice, was it Mom…

The next day passed without much event.  Lucas and I were just so happy to be back.  In truth, I wanted to do nothing, absolutely nothing, for the better course of a month.  Although, I couldn’t deny, I was thinking back to Europa.  I doubted that I would ever get a chance to see the world as I did when I was there.  Seeing the vast star ocean above, when Lucas and I were walking on the icy surface of the moon.  Swimming through that ocean.  I made sure that my Band recorded everything that I saw when I was having my adventure.  It was so worth it.  Didn’t tell Lucas or anyone else that I had recorded it.  Couldn’t wait to show it to Angie.  That had been the hardest part of being back home.  Angie’s necklace was back where it belonged.  I would never take it off, except to sleep.  Damn pointy end on the base.  Could kill a person with that.
It was later than evening when the door opened and I felt my heart leap out of my chest.
“Mars!”
Mari came running over to me, wrapping her arms around me.  “It’s really you!  You’re alive!”  Felt myself being crushed.  Pushed back.  “Sorry.  I just…when I thought you were dead, I felt part of myself die with you.  Now that you’re back, I feel like I’m whole.  I’m so sorry, Ellie.”
I shook my head.  “You have nothing to be sorry for.  You fought the good fight, to try and find me.  Aronax told me the whole story.”
She smiled at me.  “I bet.  He’s a good man, Aronax.  Wouldn’t have gotten off Atlantis if not for him.  Guy kept cool under pressure.”  We sat on my bed.  “So, tell me about your adventures!  I want to know everything!”
It was a long discussion.  One that I figured that I would get to have many times over.  There were some great laugh moments with Luc, where the two of us were able to finally giggle over what happened to us.  I didn’t tell her about the dreams, or the idea of myself as an Evo.  It was all too new to myself to truly process.  I’d tell Mom and Dad, of course.  And Angie.  The longer I sat in this room, the more I wished that I could get out and see her.  To be in her arms again.  I bet that she’d done some changing in over a year.  A year and a few months, as I came to find out.  An eternity, to some.
Neat thing I should mention – they asked if Lucas and I wanted to take out our ocular implants.  Both of us said no.  For a long time, I had always wondered why people wanted to get cybernetic augmentation.  Now I knew.  Because it made life so much easier.  I could do so much with this stuff!  I had already tried to get into the IDF’s system here on the Station.  They didn’t take too kindly to that.  Gave me a giggle.  The implants were here to stay, as far as we were concerned.  Once you go tech, you don’t go back.
After talking for hours, Mars told me to rest up.  The two of us were going home the next morning.  I felt so alive.  Mom, Dad, I’m coming home!  Angie, I love you.

There was no dream that night.  I guess that whatever had given me the dreams thought that I had had enough.  There were a few images that I remember.  Something about being on a ship and feeling really happy.  Still, the morning didn’t come fast enough.  Lucas and I woke up and got dressed as fast as we could.  We didn’t have any real luggage with us, since all our stuff was at the bottom of Europa by now.  Ooo, forgot to mention – there was a planned mission to return to Europa and find out what happened.  At least there was initially.  Following the evidence that Lucas gathered, and his analysis, I heard that that was being tabled, for now.
We got to the shuttle and I knew for a fact that Luc was feeling jitters.  Wish I knew how things were with his dad.  My own abilities were unpredictable.  He was sorry to hear that my folks got a divorce.  I could only imagine how his dad would be doing.  The two of us sat next to each other on the shuttle.  I rested my head on his shoulder.  Even now, all that we went through still stood.  We faced down oblivion together.  That is a memory that would always be with us.
Seeing the surface of Mars, heading down toward it, it still didn’t feel real.  Like all of this was one of my dreams.  And I would wake up in some awful situation, like last time.  Atmospheric entry, and it was starting to sink in.  The spaceport that I had left, so long ago. It was finally here.  I clutched Angie’s necklace even tighter.  We docked.  Lucas and I looked at each other.
“Ready to go face the music?” I asked.
“We’re gonna have to do it sometime.”
A small chuckle.  “Well, we could always hijack this shuttle and fly it back to Europa.  See what kind of trouble we could get into back there.”
He chuckled back.  “Live amongst the coral.  Yeah, I’ll pass.  But I won’t ever forget about this.”  Squeezing my hand.  “Let’s go see what happens now.”
Hand-in-hand, we got to the shuttle hatch, and exited.  I let go of his grip, and we started down the tarmac.  It was so early.  There was mist coming from our breath.  Kind of chilly, too.  I put on the sweater I was given from Mars.  It had the Europa mission’s logo on it.  Felt nice.  She was with us too.  I made sure that I would be a part of her life from here on in.  The Europa mission was where we met.  I would make sure that it would be part of a long friendship, one that would last the rest of my life.
All around, it was still early.  The sounds of vehicles on the runway.  A shuttle being prepped.  Where were Mom and Dad?  Did they get the wrong time?  Lucas was clearly nervous too.  We turned a corner around one of the cargo vehicles that was sitting on the tarmac, and there they were.  I saw Dad first.  He looked up, putting his hand over his mouth.  He motioned for Mom, who was talking to Lucas’ dad.  I had always heard that Luc’s dad was a stern man.  And yet, when he saw his son, he came running.  For my own part, I took the opposite approach, running to where my parents stood.  I nearly plowed into Dad, who met me on one knee.  He seemed somehow taller than before.  Did I shrink in that cryo-tube?  Oh well, it felt great.  Mom can over as well, hugging both of us.  Tears started running down my face.
“I missed you both.  Sorry to make you wait so long.”
“It’s okay, sweetie,” Dad nearly sobbed.  “You’re home now, and that’s what matters.”
After a few moments, I pulled back.  Looking around, I couldn’t see Angie anywhere!
“Where’s Angie?”
Mom looked confused.  “I got in touch with her two nights ago.  She should be here.”
My heart sunk.  Angie wasn’t here.  She didn’t want to be here with me?  It hurt.  A lot.  Indeed, the tears went from joy to pain just that fast.  Both of them stood up and put their arms around me.
“She might not have remembered.  Or has class.  We don’t know what the story is,” Mom said, trying to comfort me.  It didn’t work.  As we started to walk away, I looked up.  Behind one of the cargo containers, there was somebody standing there.  I couldn’t recognize them.  I did recognize the blue hair.  It was the girl in my dream!  She was wearing a black beanie with some insignia on it.  Her shirt was very punk, along with black pants, a black coat and black boots.  Indeed, this girl seemed pretty cool.  Who was it?  She was looking right at me, yet seemed awkward.  Had it not been for how sad I was, I would have waved hello.  As it stood, all I could do was keep walking.  My parents got a divorce, and now Angie didn’t want to be with me anymore.  It had been over a year.  That’s when it hit me – a lot could have happened.  Look at my parents!  Angie would have thought that I was dead too.  For over a year.  Did I want for her to be alone and not be happy?  What if she met somebody?  Maybe, after I died, she got totally miserable, and finally found someone who made her happy again.  Did I want to strip that away from her?  That seemed cruel.  If it had been me, would I have been able to face her, having moved on?  That would be so horrible.  Oh hi, Ellie!  Nice to see you again.  Meet my new girlfriend!  Isn’t she great?!  That would be awkward beyond belief.  My sadness was slightly abated.  I had done some growing up on my journey.  I would still try and see Angie.  If, for no other reason, than to tell her that I hoped she was happy.  It would hurt, and I know it’s saying goodbye, in a way, but it’s time for her to be happy too.

After we got back home, there came the dreaded discussion.  Mom and Dad sat down with me in the living room.
“Ellie, there’s something we need to talk about,” Mom said, giving me a can of green tea with mango.  How did she know what I wanted?  That woman’s psychic.
“I know, you and Dad got a divorce.”
Both of them looked stunned.
“How did you know?!” Dad asked.
“Did Mars tell you?”
I shook my head.  “No, I saw it, in a dream.  For a long time now, I’ve been having these strange dreams.  At first, I just thought it was really odd things, but then they started coming true.  One after the other.  I was seeing my future.  It seemed so strange.  I asked Lucas, and he had a theory.  He said that I was an Evolved Human, or an Evo.”
Dad looked confused.
“But how would that work?” Mom asked.  “You aren’t a Colonial.  The only Colony blood you have is…oh.”  A light turned on.  Her family were Colonials, going way back.
“Yeah, that’s what we thought.  So I saw that you got a divorce.”  I leaned back on the couch.  “What happened, after Mars told you that I was dead.”
Both of them got awkward.  It was Dad who finally spoke.  “Well, we had a funeral.  For you and Lucas.  Your whole class was there.  The teacher was sobbing.  Angela was there too, though she stayed in the back, out of sight.  I think that she was crying.  Left before the ceremony ended.”
“Her face was a mess…” Mom added.
“So, after that was done, things…well, they just weren’t the same.  Your mom and I tried to patch things up.  But things had gotten pretty bad.”
“We didn’t want to hurt each other.  No need for that,” Mom chimed in.  “So, we did some talking and some soul-searching and agreed to end the marriage.  It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do, after burying you.  Or, what we thought was you.”
That got my attention, since I was eager to change the subject.  “Was there a coffin?  Was anything in it?”
Mom cracked a bit of a smile.  “No, we didn’t go that far.  We bought the two of you tombstones, and got you a really nice plot, together.  People left flowers and mementos there.  It was really nice.  I programmed in some pictures that we took, since the gravestone had a holo-projector.”
Dad nodded quietly, rubbing his hands together.  The three of us sat there for a long time.
“Is my stuff still in my room?” I eventually asked.
“Yeah, we didn’t have the heart to pack anything up.”  Dad looked so hurt.  Why was such a happy day so down?  I guess that coming back from the dead has consequences.
“I think I’ll go there.  See if my kitty’s still around.”
Mom nodded.  “Oh, she’s around here, somewhere.”
I got up and headed upstairs.  Opening the door to my old room, it felt to me like walking into a shrine.  Closing the door just enough to let the kitty into my room, I collapsed against a wall, sliding down to the floor.  Then I started to cry.  After everything I’d been through, all I ended up getting was alone.  My parents were divorced, Angie was gone.  Lucas was going to be going off with some big high honors.  I was right back where I started.  Again, I missed Europa.  I decided to play the footage that my suit recorded from the surface.  Looking up at the stars, it was so beautiful.  I feel asleep watching it.  We were out there for over four hours.  That footage would stay with me forever.

I woke up and it was dark.  The footage was still playing.  I had it set on a loop.  Had I really just slept the entire day?  My kitty was on the floor, next to me.  That got me to smile.  Gently scratching behind her ears, I felt better.  At least one person still loved me.  Just then, I got a beep on my Band.  My ocular implant cued up a message.
You home?
Text, now this is retro.  The contact name, it’s Angie!  Yeah. Just chilling
I’m at the door.
My heart sang.  Be right there!  It was hard not to charge down the stairs.  I saw that Dad’s car was gone.  Guess he went back to wherever he was living now.  Opening the door, I came face-to-face with…the girl from before!  She was taller than me, by several inches.  Blue hair, punk look.
“That was you, Angie?!” I exclaimed, shutting the door.  “Why didn’t you say anything to me this morning?!”
She shifted her feet.  “I…I couldn’t believe it.  Couldn’t believe it was you.  I watched you get off that shuttle, and I wanted to run to you and never let you go.  Ellie…I’m sorry.”
I shook my head.  “No, I’m sorry.  I was gone for a long time.  Just realizing how long today.  My folks got a divorce.  That’s fun.  What about you?  Any big changes?”  I moved my hand between our heads, showing off the height difference.  “You got tall!”
Blushing (or what I assume was blushing since it was dark), she played with her hair a bit.  “Yeah, well, it’s been a year.  You didn’t do much growing in cryo?”
“None at all.  It’s basically being in cold storage.  We didn’t age or anything.  Technically, I’m still 15.  Wow.  Life kind of left Lucas and I behind.”
We stood there for a while.  I finally noticed the extent of her punk look.
“Gotta say, I like the new you.  You look cool.  Like an old-school rock star.”
She smiled at me.  “A lot changed for me, after you died.  Or, well, after I thought you died.”
I looked around,  “Let’s go for a walk and you can tell me about it.”
“Deal!”

We got to an old grassy park that few ever used.  The place fell into disrepair.  I always loved it here.  It was like being an explorer.  You’d be amazed at some of the stuff that would blow in here during the wind storms.
I sat on an old jungle gym.  Part of the reason that this park was never used was because of the wind storms.  No joke, it could become like shrapnel.  This jungle gym was a testament to that.  There was a piece of metal lodged in here, that nobody could get out.  Imagine if that was your head!
“So,” Angie began.  “How’s it feel, being home?”
I let my legs hang over the side.  “Like I’ve been away forever.  It’s only been two years since I left Mars, but it’s already like an eternity.”
“I hear that.  Can’t imagine what it’s like, waking up and knowing that people thought that you were dead.”  She was sitting right next to me.  Her body heart seemed to radiate outward.  I wanted to hold her so much.
There was a long pause.  Finally, I had to ask.  “So, when I died…did you start seeing anyone?”  It hung in the air for a few minutes.
Angie let out a breath.  “Yes and no.  I’ve been…with somebody, but it isn’t love.  I just.  I needed to feel alive.  You were gone, and I felt like my heart went with you.  I got into a lot of shit.  Drugs, booze, cheap sex.  My grades in class went off a cliff, but I didn’t care.  Life didn’t feel like living, once you were gone.”
Now I felt like a complete piece of shit.  Nice work, Ellie.  “Oh god.  That where the tats came from?”
She chuckled.  “Yeah.  Girl I’ve been sleeping with does ink.  Cool stuff.  Some of these tattoos are cybernetic.  They can change, if I want them too.  It’s really neat!”
“I’m a cyborg too now!” I piped in, eager to talk about this.  Finally, some less awkward ground.
“Oh?  What did you get augmented?”
“Well, first was my eyes.  They connect directly to my Band, along with neural nodes in my brain, that can interface with systems.  It’s so cool!  I used it when Luc and I were captured by pirates to escape!”
“Badass Ellie!  Very cool!”
“Thanks!”  Some of the tension was deflated, but it was still there.  The elephant in the room, as it were.
“The day of your funeral, I felt my heart turn to ash, Elle.”
Very gently, I put my arm around her.  She stiffened, then relaxed.  “I know.  I’m so sorry, Angie.  I would have given anything to have been able to get home sooner.  If I hadn’t been so damn stubborn and needed to go on the distance mission with Luc, then I would have gotten out with the rest.  I’m so sorry.”
She rested her head on my shoulder, and then she noticed the outline of the necklace, underneath the sweater.  “You’re still wearing it!  My necklace!”
I looked over at her.  “I never took it off!  Except at night, and when I went into cryo.”
A confused look.  “You couldn’t wear the necklace in cryo?”
“No.  Mars told me that the metal would have burned through my skin.  Had to put it in a locker.”
“Yeah, that would have been bad.  Though it would have bonded us forever.  My necklace fuzed with you.”  Both of us cracked up.  Finally, the tension seemed to fizzle away.  We had reached an understanding.
“Angie, I love you.”
“I love you too, Elle.  But I….I need time.  Time to process all this.  Time to get my head on straight, you know?  It’s all just…”
“Too much.  Believe me, I get that.”  I looked at her, and she at me.  Gently, she pulled her lips to mine.  She had gotten stronger now.  Strong arms and strong lips.  A strong woman who was so beautiful.  I could have lived forever in that moment.
Pulling back, Angie smiled at me.  “It’s kinda weird.  We look so different now.  I feel like I’m a cradle robber.”
“Technically you are, since I’m still biologically 15.  Pedo bitch!”  Both of us got another laugh, and we laid back on the jungle gym.  We held each other, and for the first time, things finally felt right.  Whatever happened, We would be okay.  That’s all I wanted.

Epilogue:

The voice came on the com.
“Attention, the Cruise Vessel is coming in to Earth Orbital Ring dock now!  Anyone who wishes to dock here should grab their belongings and report to Customs.  Thank you, and enjoy your stay!”
Looking up from the game of chess that I had going with Lucas, I grinned.  “Well, that’s our cue!”
“Oh hell no!” he snarled.  “You aren’t getting out of this ass-kicking that easily!”
I gave him a wink.  “Hey, you heard the lady.  We can finish this up later, you sad and lonely bitch.”
“Pussy!”
“You know it!”  We started towards our rooms.  As I got to mine, I saw Mom and Dad talking to Angie.
“Scheming, are you?” I asked, opening the door to my cabin.
Angie chuckled.  “Oh yeah.  They keep talking about a family and shit  I don’t even know where they get this stuff!”
Playing along, I leaned on her.  “These people be nuts!”
“Females,” Dad groaned, walking off.  Everyone got a laugh out of that.  I walked into my room, gathering up my stuff.  The exterior camera showed me Earth.  It looked amazing!  The Orbital Ring was a sight to behold.  Unlimited solar energy, gathered in huge dishes.  It solved Earth’s power problem, forever.  No more need of fossil fuels.  The biggest project in human history, that united a planet for a common goal.  For a while, anyway.  The planet was now separated into three blocks of unified nations.  It keeps the peace.  For now.  Grabbing my bag, I headed out.  Angie was waiting for me.  She put an arm around me.  Now that she was a fair bit taller, it felt pretty nice to lean into her and let her hold me.  After months of not being held, it felt cool to be that person again.
We docked and got off.  Customs was loads of fun.  Gotta love bureaucracy, right?  Ugh.  Anyway, we got the paperwork done, and now it was off to go get an award.

I can’t begin to tell you how cool it was to take the Orbital Elevator train down to the surface.  You couldn’t see out into space.  The entire thing was in an interior location.  That was so they could board it like a normal train.  See, the artificial gravity inside the tube goes right down to the ground.  It’s very cool.  Getting off, I got to taste Earth’s air for the first time in my entire life.  Lucas and his dad were looking happy.  We were here to accept an award.  The Tyson Award.  It was the highest honor in the scientific community, named for the woman who discovered the means to create artificial gravity, Vivian Tyson.
When we docked, someone from the IDF was waiting for us – Mars!  She ran over and hugged me tight when I got there.  She had to leave before getting a chance to meet Angie.  That was a sweet little reunion.  Got Angie blushing when she told her how much I talked about her.  There was a private shuttle waiting to take us to where the ceremony was being held.  It was in the capital of the Asian Union, Tokyo.  Both Angie and I knew what that meant – we party down!
My look had changed a lot, from when I first got back to Mars.  I took on some of Angie’s style.  I wore a black shirt with a skull on it.  My red hair had a couple of blonde streaks in it.  Angie’s had a couple of red ones.  So many great plans, and it was just the beginning!  It was going to be an amazing two weeks here on Earth.  Best vacation ever!

The room where the ceremony was being held was huge.  Absolutely huge.  The greatest scientific minds were gathering.  It was like being at movie awards or something.  Mom was in a gorgeous dress.  Dad was in a tux.  Angie was in punk, because she didn’t give a fuck.  Lucas had on a really nice suit.  He cleans up so well.  As for me, I was also in a really nice suit.  Why?  Because I don’t give a fuck!  Comped drinks, so tasty.  Mom’s disapproving look when I order a daiquiri.  Her more-disapproving look when Angie orders a bigger one.  Giggles.  Lucas’ dad telling him that he’s at a nice place, it’s time for him to try scotch.  Lucas gagging.  More laughs.  I can’t tell you how great that night was.
Then, after some pomp and circumstance, an older man comes to the podium.
“We are gathered here tonight to honor the accomplishment of two very young scientists.  Indeed, these two people are the youngest to ever win this award.  Their dedication to the field and their bravery in the face of what could have been certain death is a tribute to the power that good science has in this world, and that the level of dedication that we commit to when we take up the mantle.  It is with great pleasure that I present the Tyson Award to Lucas Holden and Eleanor Monroe!”
Applause.  I felt like I was going to faint.  Stood up, a little difficult.  Lucas came up next to me and gave me a hug.
“This is the best day of my life!”
“Mine too, friend.  Mine too.”  I held him close, and for a time, I wished it never had to end.  That we never had to go up to that stage.  But we parted, and started the long walk.  So many amazing people, all clapping for us.
When we got to the podium, a medal was slipped over our heads.  The beautiful gold etching, showing Tyson and the stars behind her.  Tears started to run down my face.  Had to hastily clean them off.  We were each given a mic, but I looked to Lucas.
He reached into his suit and pulled out a paper.  “I was told by my companion that I was the one who had to give a speech tonight.  She had no desire to say something silly and make an idiot of herself in front of a bunch of Sol system-renowned scientists.”
Laughter around the room.
“The discovery made on that moon of Europa will change the face of science for the rest of time.  One of the humanity’s longest-running questions has been – are we alone?  It has been a driving force behind so much space exploration.  It was that very question that got us to Europa in the first place.  And thanks to Eleanor,” he turned and put his hand on my shoulder.  So much blushing!  “We were able to find the answer to that question!  Of course, it came at a cost.  We discovered a life-form that not only was intelligent, but also dangerous and able to defend itself against a perceived attacker.  It was such a shock to be in that empty Station and learn the truth – that Atlantis had been attacked by a creature whose base intelligence gave it the power to defend itself against a species vastly more capable.  It is both awe-inspiring and humbling.”
A brief pause.
“This discovery is just the beginning!  Now that we know that there is other life in the universe, we must work harder than ever to find it.  To go out into the vast cosmos and find out what new mysteries await us.  As scientists, these are the moments that we wait for!  The moments that we work tirelessly in laboratories and in the field for.  When we can see what great things we’ve done, and know that we’ve only just begun!  Both Eleanor and I are honored to help continue that journey.  We thank you all.”  With that, he took a bow.  And so did I.  The room filled with applause.  People stood as they did so.  I could hear Angie cheer.  More tears.  Lucas was starting to cry too.  What an unbelievable night.

As I was leaving, Lucas looked to me.
“So, what’s your next plan?”
Looking over at Angie, I smiled.  “Man, I haven’t even begun to think that far ahead.  I’ll let you know when I do.”

Fin

Until next time, a quote,

“And when this is all over, drinks are on me!”  -Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect 3

Peace out,

Maverick

Your Defense of Jackie is Weak (A response to Jessica Valenti)

Here’s a thing to know about Puritan Feminists – they will never, ever admit when they’re wrong.  If they’re shown to be wrong, without any form of doubt, then they just double-down on how right they are.  These people truly are the liberal equivalent of the Tea Party.  The progressive-left is the new tea party-right, and nowhere has it been so spectacularly on display than with the events surrounding the supposed rape that Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely reported on.  A reporter went out into the world, with the understanding that she was going to find a story about college rape, and without even the slightest bit of journalistic skepticism, she found one.  From a woman whose narrative doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny.  Recently, the police came out with a report that absolutely none of Jackie’s story could be corroborated.  None of it.  The entire thing was fabricated.  There is evidence of this.  All the feminists who came out in support of Jackie, you’d think, would now have some egg on their face.  But nope!  Now they’ve got entitled white suburbanite defender Jessica Valenti doubling-down on it.  Why?  Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In another intellectually-void article in The Guardian, (linked here) Valenti lays out why – just because Jackie’s entire story, from first to last, is false, doesn’t mean that she wasn’t the victim of a crime!  I partially agree with Valenti.  She wasn’t the victim of a crime.  She was the perpetrator of one.  And, if you ask me, Jackie should spend some time behind bars.  Let’s get started.

“No evidence” of a rape does not mean that a rape didn’t happen. But try telling that to anyone of a number of media outlets who, when the Charlottesville Police Department released their findings on “Jackie” (the University of Virginia student whose alleged rape was at the center of a widely-disputed Rolling Stone article) essentially indicated to their readers that nothing happened to her.

The matter isn’t that there is no evidence of a rape, Jessica.  The matter at hand is – Jackie’s entire story was fabricated.  Every single part of it that she told police has been exposed as a lie.  Not only that, but Jackie refused to work with the police investigation.  Why would that be?  Wouldn’t she want the police to get to the bottom of her case if she was raped, so that justice could be served?  I can already hear the feminist apologists – “Women who go through rape are often tormented and mistreated by the police!  She might have felt unsure of her safety!  She didn’t want to relive the event!”  These people are worse than creationists.  The truth is that rape is taken very seriously in this country.  Why do you think that the media blitz was so big after the article in Rolling Stone?

The fact is – there is absolutely zero evidence to corroborate anything that Jackie said happened.  That, combined with her refusal to cooperated with the authorities has people thinking that she might have, you know, lied.  Because she did.

Longo echoed what anti-rape experts have been saying all along: while holes in Jackie story could mean that she lied about some things, either to the reporter or the dean to whom she originally spoke, it doesn’t necessarily mean she lied about being raped.

Wow.  What would it take, Jessica, for Jackie’s credibility to be damaged, to you?  I asked because here are a few things the police were able to uncover in their investigation –

The fraternity (Phi Kappa Psi) was not having a party the weekend when the rape was supposed to have occurred
The fraternity members that Jackie accused of raping her weren’t even part of that fraternity
The party supposedly happened during the fall, and that the rape was a hazing ritual for new pledges.  Phi Kappa Psi wasn’t taking new pledges in the fall.
She says that she was told by her friends not to go to the police.  Her friends told her to go to police, even pushing her to do so. (which makes the fact that she refused to work with the authorities that much more damning)
Her statement about being horribly beaten was contradicted by her friends, who said that she did not look injured.
The number of people that Jackie claims raped her has continually inflated over time.
New evidence has come forward that the men that she says raped her don’t even EXIST

This evidence has made this pretty much open-and-shut.  Jackie lied.  Her entire story was fabricated.  It was fabricated to sell a narrative that a shitty reporter with a chip on her shoulder was looking to sell.  What more evidence will it take for you to accept that Jackie’s story was a lie?

To sexual assault experts, “false reporting” is frequently recognized not as an indication that the victim is lying about being raped, but that she may be changing the circumstances of her attack in an effort to make her story more empathetic in a culture that largely disbelieves victims.

Are you fucking kidding me?!  Wow!  Just…unbelievable!  Her completely fabricated story is just her way of trying to make herself more empathetic to us EVIL Americans who think that all women who get raped as asking for it.  That’s the narrative that you’re trying to push?  Just once, I wish that one of you Puritan Feminists didn’t have a narrative.  Objectively, it cannot be denied that Jackie’s story was a lie, from the ground up.  Where the people who she says attacked her may not even exist.  For you to say that it’s totally cool for her to make a false allegation is insane.  It’s insane because it sets a VERY dangerous precedent.  One that, I guarantee you, would be used against men.  Because if we are just supposed to believe women who claim to be raped, when there is no supporting evidence, and the evidence they gave is uncovered to be lies, then we are throwing the entire criminal justice system under the bus!  Because then it isn’t innocent until proven guilty.  It’s guilty because she says so, and any evidence against her means nothing.

The center’s research showed that even when a woman has been raped, it’s “quite common” for victims to change the details of the attack: they may say they were assaulted vaginally because talking about oral or anal rape is too embarrassing; they may blame the attack on a stranger because the actual perpetrator is their partner; they may lie about drinking alcohol, taking drugs or other behaviors they think might undermine their credibility.

You see, Jessica, you raise a good point.  That’s why rape is so hard to prosecute.  Typically, there isn’t any physical evidence.  So it all comes down to he-said she-said.  Because our criminal justice system is designed with a person being innocent until proven guilty, that’s the name of the game.  Don’t like it?  Too bad!  Guilt has to be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt.  If that doubt still exists after all the evidence is gathered, then that’s how it goes.  If you don’t like that, I’m sorry, but that’s how it goes.  Deal with it.

The truth is that we don’t know what happened to Jackie, and likely never will. She never wanted to make a police report – and apparently still doesn’t – and, given how she was thrown under the bus by Rolling Stone, it’s extremely unlikely that she’ll ever trust the media. But here’s what we do know: it’s much more likely for a rape victim to lie about the details of her attack than for a woman to fabricate a sexual assault whole cloth. Until we stop blaming women for being raped and start to build a culture where women feel safe telling their whole stories, we’ll never know the full truth of sexual assault.

It’s so easy, Jessica, to simply accept that a person has no flaws, isn’t it?  You can just log any any all disagreement away with the rest of the opinions, saying that you’re right, because “rape culture.”  But here’s the thing – there is no rape culture.  Not in this country, anyway.  You give vague statements about how the public doesn’t believe rape victims, when this whole media blitz that surrounded Jackie’s story shows that the public takes rape very seriously.  The Star Chambers that universities are implementing, where the accused rapists are not even given due process are popping up all over the place.  If there is one group of people who are clearly well-represented in respect to sexual crimes, it’s women who claim to be raped.

You know who doesn’t have any representation?  The accused?  From the Duke lacrosse players, whose lives were ruined, to a fraternity who can thank a terrible reporter for dragging their name through the mud (for which they should rightly sue Rolling Stone for everything they’re worth!).  But hey, at least at Duke, there was some justice for that injustice.  The overzealous prosecutor for that case got disbarred.  What justice will be met here?  Will Jackie go to jail, as she rightly should, for filing a false accusation?  I doubt it.  After all, the police haven’t even technically closed the case.  Probably out of fear of being endlessly harassed by the Puritan Feminist lynch mobs who would harass them about that endlessly.

Say that I’m being too harsh.  Maybe you’re right.  But when I read an article talking about how false allegations of rape should not only be accepted, but also believed, that drives me up the fucking wall!  Puritan Feminists don’t care about facts!  They don’t care about evidence!  They don’t care about the truth! The facts have unmasked a person who has clearly lied needs to go to jail for False Allegation, and they don’t care.  They double-down.  Why?

Because name me a Puritan Feminist who doesn’t have a narrative to sell.  They all do.  It’s all they really have.

Until next time, a quote,

“It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his own.”  -Hagakure

Peace out,

Maverick

A Call For Peace, Among Liberals

More and more, I am seeing a party that I have been a part of for my entire adult life deciding that we shouldn’t be fighting against the insanity of the right that is forcing our politicians to be right or center-right.  No, we are seeing the left in this country deciding that the people who are the real villains – the left!  Liberals vs. liberals, as Bill Maher put it rather eloquently tonight.  Over the course of the last eight or so years, I have seen the progressive-left evolve into the the liberals version of the Tea Party-right.  This is madness, to me.  Allow me to explain.

Today, there was a hubbub about a Tweet that Lionhead Studios did for National Cleavage Day.  A day meant to celebrate the female form and women embracing their sexuality.  Something that second-wave feminists would have been totally in support of.  I can’t see Joan Jett or Janis Joplin saying, “women showing off their tits?  How offensive!  Censor that, you shitlords!”  But wouldn’t you know it, Brianna Wu decided to take umbrage with it, and in one of the most shocking displays of pro-censorship behavior that I have ever seen, she demanded the Lionhead take down the Tweet and apologize for it.  Rather than stand by their artistic creativity, they decided to do just that.  They gave in to a bully who demanded that they do what she want, or else they would be labeled as misogynists.  Brianna Wu is one of the biggest misogynists I have ever seen.  She uses women as a shield and a sword.  To her, women are nothing but props.  I am daring her to come out of her echo chamber and prove me wrong.  For real, Brianna, I don’t censor comments.  Don’t send your followers after me.  I am calling YOU out!  You personally. I would debate you in a professional forum, given a chance.  Your use of women, all the while treating the sexual attractions of lesbian and bisexual women like they don’t exist is bullshit.  You and Anita Sarkeesian both.  It’s time that you two answered some legitimate criticism.  You have all the space you need to explain your position.  But this farce needs to stop.

But yeah, the progressive left is being pro-censorship, all on the basis that the people being censored offended somebody.  Do you all remember a time when the term liberal was associated with people like George Carlin?  A guy who went out of his way to offend people.  He didn’t care what you thought.  I can only imagine what he would have to say about Puritan Feminism today.  I bet he would be amused.  Carlin took little personally.  In his book “Brain Droppings,” he talked about how he didn’t care how it all turned out.  He was in this to see the slow circling of the drain in this country.  That’s what Carlin’s angle in all this was.  I can’t imagine how disappointed he would be to see PC culture and how out of control it is.  People on the left keep talking about how conservatives want to censor them and such, but you know what I haven’t seen lately – conservatives wanting to censor people!  For real, aside from the REALLY right-wing states and some insane legislation, what has the right actually done lately.  They have their crazy niche, but their niche is contained!  The sectarian conflict of the left is all over the place!

I just find it so weird that a political movement that is supposed to stand for individual freedom and the freedom of expression is being taken over by people who are not only cool with censorship, they actively support it.  They work as hard as they can to make sure that we are not only being censored, but that we censor ourselves!  Screw everything associated with that!  The day we live in a world where being liberal is on the same level as being pro-censorship, then I’m done with all of it, because it’s clear that the country has lost its fucking mind.

What’s more, why is the left so eager to fight amongst themselves?  There was a video by Jaclyn Glenn where she contrasted the pointless infighting in the atheist community –

And if you look at the infighting in the liberal community, it’s much the same.  Why do people who have so much in common look for reasons to fight one-another?  That’s madness!  Now, more than ever, we should be banding together.  Setting aside petty differences like whether or not someone uses your “preferred pronouns” (the most retarded concept of all time.  Oh yeah, I went there) and working as one voice to help move this nation forward.  We can settle our differences when we get there, right?

Not according to people like Brianna Wu!  With people like her, we have to find every little thing that offends us (the biggest of which being any women who are openly sexual.  These people are scared to death of sex, along with insanely jealous of women who are in touch with their sexuality.  The bulk of Puritan Feminism is Sex in the extreme) and censor it!  Because it could hurt a special snowflakes feelings!

I’m with Bill Maher on this – shut the fuck up!  Shut your pro-censorship fucking mouth, before you do more damage to what little credibility the progressive-left has in this country.  If you don’t like it – don’t look at it!  If you find the video game offensive – don’t play it!  Want games that are more for your tastes?  Then make them!  This is so infuriating, because all of these points seem like they would be obvious!  Ugh!  This is all so asinine!

Here’s the simple truth about people like Brianna Wu and the easily-offended crowd – they don’t really care about equality.  They care about finding things that they can be perpetually angry about, so they can be the ever-lasting victim of some vague war against them, typically perpetuated by white men.  Oh, I’m sorry – straight white men.  They are petulant children who refuse to grow up and deal with the world, so they lash out at every perceived injustice that they can conjure straight out of the ether.  I’m about to have a moment, as a bisexual white man, to tell you all something – shut the fuck up!  Shut your stupid fucking mouths!  There is no war against you!  You want to talk to me about how it’s unfair that there isn’t gay marriage in every state?  I’m with ya!  But as John Oliver said, “It’s no longer a question of whether or not gay marriage will happen in all 50 states, but rather a question of which state will have it last?”  You want to talk to me about how women in the third world have real problems imposed on them?  Oh yeah!  They could use some feminism.  Not this modern Twitter and Tumblr click-tavist kind.  No, they need feminism like the Suffragette movement of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

But if you want to talk about women in video games and say that that is somehow indicative of some vague patriarchy and non-existent “rape culture” that you can hold up by using things like “stare rape” or “birth rape” (I’m not even kidding you.  That last one’s a thing), then you can shut your ignorant fucking mouths and let us grow-ups deal with the real world.  Go back to your Internet space and let us try and make the world a better place.  Because the left in this country once did great things.  If we could stop fighting over trivial bullshit like a Tweet with a sexy woman featured, we might do great things again.

Until next time, a quote,

“The Reapers will destroy us all unless we stop fighting each other!”  -Commander Shepard, Mass Effect 3

Peace out,

Maverick

Happy National Cleavage Day!

In another upset of common decency by Puritan Feminists, Lionhead Studios has decided to pull a Tweet with a  marketing poster for their new game.  What poster, you ask?  Let me show you…

The Foaming JugsWell, this is pretty funny.  It is a promotion for their newest incarnation of the Fable series.  A series of games that hasn’t been very good since the first one.  I know, it’s been said by everyone.  It seems that the SJWs think that is just too awful, and demanded that Lionhead pull it.  Because ads like this NEVER existed back in ye olde times, right?  No, that’s just an invention of horny men wanting to demean women!  Even though there are plenty of women who might find this attractive too, but who cares what they think.  They’re just a demographic that SJWs use as a shield whenever they are caught being full of shit.

As a response, the Internet has decided to make the most of a holiday – National Cleavage Day.  A day where men and women alike can celebrate female sexuality and femininity.  Something that second-wave feminists fought hard for with the sexual liberation movement.  But again, don’t tell the SJWs that.  History and context and women’s history gets in the way of their narrative.  And since I am all for celebrating fun national holidays, I thought that I would promote all the women who I think are awesome, who are not afraid to show some cleavage.  They own their sexuality, and any man who thinks otherwise better watch out.  Enjoy.

Tina 2There’s some nice cleavage!  And this lady will kick your ass!  A tough woman who is hot and owns that?  Don’t tell the SJWs.  They’ll get jealous.

IvyCareful with this cleavage.  That sword would take your guts out.

LuluDon’t let that cleavage fool you – messing with her is bad for your health.  Unless being set on fire is something you aspire to.

Harley Quinn 7Man, lookin’ good, Harley!  You couldn’t be cooler if you tried.

NerdlesqueWow, that’s cool.  Women who are proud of their femininity and are part of a burlesque show for nerds.  That’s pretty neat.  Time was, women would have seen that as empowering.

Harley Quinn 6What a trippy cosplay!  My hat’s off to both the designer of the outfit, and the lady wearing it.  That’s pretty fucking cool.

Well, I think that will do, for now.  If you have any awesome cleavage that you wish to honor on this historic day, let me see down in the comments section. Let’s show the women who are absolutely terrified of sex that being a woman who is sexual is not a bad thing.  To say that it is is more offensive, in my opinion.  And for anyone who is about to call foul because I’m a guy, I’m bi.  #NotYourShield

Until next time, a quote,

“I thought you believed in gun control?” -Max Caufield
“I do.  I believe that I should control the gun.”  -Chloe Price, Life is Strange

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Is ‘Time is Strange’ Smarter Than First Appearances?

I’m going to have the most major spoiler of the second episode of Time is Strange, so consider yourself warned.

I have a thing about games that offer me choice.  I replay them, a lot.  The more choice it offers, the more I replay.  I tinker and fiddle with the choices, until I have crafted the narrative to perfection.  I’m weird like that.  It’s the reason that I now have playing through the Mass Effect games down to a science.  For real, it’s almost uncanny how well I do at that.  I am the guy who can have all my crew love me and a ton of allies, while having a TON of renegade points.  It’s a gift.  Oh, and because I am awesome, all of my crew survives the Suicide Mission.  I never have lost Wrex on Virmire.  I got both the Geth and Quarian fleet the first time I went through Mass Effect 3, and I got it by yelling at everyone!  How badass am I?!  Sure, it means that Mordin has to die, but so be it.  He dies like a boss, and it is a touching moment.  If the third game’s last act was better, my return to Earth would have been such a boss moment.  I had the ultimate fleet in the galaxy.  Wish I could have put it to use on Earth.  But that’s just me griping.  I do that.  Hence why I write these Self-Indulgent and Overstated Nerdrage/love posts.

But to the topic of the video, I am totally into Life is Strange.  Judge me how you will, I think it’s fun.  The characters are interesting.  The mystery is engaging.  And I can’t wait to see what happens next!  Still, this is a game where I can tinker with the universe of it.  It gives me so many narrative choices.  As such, what do you all think I’d do?  Tinker, of course!  I have tinkered with the two episodes that are out in a way where I think that I have the perfect remedy.  For real, I have allies, friends I can count on, and Max’s best friend is totally falling for me, thanks to my choices.  I can’t wait to see episode 3 come out, so I can continue this tinkering.

However, the first time I went through Episode 2, I screwed up.  On the scene of the rooftop, where you are trying to convince Kate not to jump, I messed up.  I gave her the wrong Bible verse, and she jumped.  It hurt!  No kidding, I felt terrible.  I vowed to restart both episodes, to try and set things up better.  But the second time, it was even worse!  Whereas the first time, it was one small mistake, the second time, I blew it big time.  No matter what choices I made, her fate was decided before I walked on that rooftop, because of earlier choices.  That hurt.  However, I learned from it.  I went back and I was able to change things again, and I saved her!  It was such an awesome feeling.  When I got her off that rooftop, I felt like a boss.  And it got me to thinking.

The whole angle of Life is Strange is about how you can change things by controlling time.  You can go back and change the course of your story, each time you hit the rewind button.  And if you really screw up, then you can go back even further.  You can go back to the beginning of the episode, by going to the start menu.  I figure that it was most likely game mechanics, but at the same time, I can’t help but think that these people had some understanding of what they had created.  It was almost like a statement about the game’s universe or gaming itself.  Don’t like the choice you made?  Just go even further back.  You, the player, are the God of this universe.

Max’s life is affected by you.  What happens to her, her friends and the people she loves is at your fingers.  It isn’t her that’s changing all these people’s lives.  It’s you!  It’s like a part of this game is self-aware.  It’s telling that the person you are trying to save is someone who believes in God.  It’s like the game is sending you a message.  The message is – this is what it would be like if you were God.  Do you like it?  Well, now you know what God is like.  Again, I have no idea if this was intentional.  Maybe I’m just over-analyzing.  It’s what I do.  Love or hate a game, I over-analyze the shit out of it.  And this is a cool thought.

Earlier, when Max and Chloe were at the junkyard, I had Chloe shoot the bumper of a car.  The bullet ricochets and hits Chloe.  That freaked me out!  I had had her do that!  Me!  Like some kind of omniscient asshole, I had Chloe accidentally shoot herself.  That’s nuts!  I went back and changed things, but can you imagine that?  Can you imagine what that would do to you?  You see someone you love shoot themselves, because of what you say.  That would fuck you up!  Even if you could rewind and take it back.  Seeing their blood and potentially guts go everywhere.  I can’t image.

Gaming is reaching a point where you have them becoming somewhat self-aware.  Games like Bioshock, that make a point about how the player has no real choice.  Games like Spec Ops: The Line, where you show that the player is the willing participant in carnage.  Games like Divekick, where they make a point about how people exploit the dive-kick move.  Gaming is getting really smart about its medium.  And that’s a great thing.  It means that we have more to talk about, and you know what – I’m always down with that.

What do you all think?

Until next time, a quote,

“To truly make the Matrix work, we had to give them one thing.  Choice.”  -The Architect, Matrix: Reloaded

Peace out,

Maverick

Your Bad Science and “Notoriously Toxic” Gamers (A response to the National Endowment for the Humanities)

You know how bad science works?  It’s simple – you start with a conclusion, and then you work tirelessly to find evidence to support that conclusion.  It’s been the cornerstone of “research” for the videos done by the likes of Anita Sarkeesian, or that Rolling Stone article on the now-proven false rape at Phi Kappa Psi (for which the fraternity should sue the publication), or any number of other kinds of Puritan Feminist statements that have no real-world application, along with countless creationists who also don’t care about contradictory evidence.  Now, however, it seems that the federal government of the United States of America has decided to get on the bandwagon of bad science and give money to the National Endowment for the Humanities to do said bad science.  Confused?  I’ll explain.

According to a recent article by Tech Raptor (linked here) the National Endowment for the Humanities has announced a grant for over $29,000 to study the “toxic rhetoric” of gamers.  Wow.  They immediately show their bias towards a conclusion.  Right in their announcement, it’s blatant!  Their assumption – gamers are toxic, and so is their rhetoric.  That is just…amazing.  It’s nice to see that a branch of the federal government doesn’t care about objectivity.

It’s so easy to demonize gamers these days, isn’t it?  I wrote an article for Gambitcon talking about how we demonize adults who play video games, and how it is unacceptable.  That we all get one chance to do this life thing, and you live it how you see fit.  And yet, if you watch the endless coverage in mainstream media about GamerGate and video games in general, when is it ever positive?  From the piece about rape in Grand Theft Auto V online space, with the traffic cones over people’s heads (right, ShoeOnHead?)  For my entire life, gamers have been the media’s whipping boys.  We are an easy mark for them to attack, because it is acceptable.  Acceptable bullying.  That’s America for ya!  And it is bullying, make no mistake.  They get to bully people they look down on, to make themselves feel better.  Hell, a writer for Polygon, Sam Biddle, even advocated that bullying gamers is a good thing.  I’m sure that Tweet isn’t going to haunt him until his career ends.

One can easily go online and find plenty of negative things that people have posted.  Internet Trolls are everywhere.  It’s the way of the world.  Is it right?  Absolutely not.  Does it exist?  Yup.  These trolls are loyal to no idea.  They don’t care about any group.  They do what they do for the lulz, and beyond that, its meaningless.  This is just a game, for them.  People like Anita Sarkeesian can bring up their countless threats, and its easy to make an assumption about gamers.  But then you have people like Liana K, Vivian James or myself, who all make it very clear that we do not support death or rape threats (obligatory statement that I, in no way, support death or rape threats) and have leveled fair and honest criticism without feeling the need to get ugly.

Anywhere on the Internet, really ugly things can be found.  Look at any video from Ark Music Factory.  Those things are cyber-bullying gang rape!  Oh, I’m sorry, did I trigger somebody?  My bad.  But it’s true.  Go to any popular video and look in the comments section and you will find a ton of people who have nothing but vitriol to say.  Is it right?  Absolutely not.  Is that how it is?  Yup.  That is definitely how it is.  It’s the nature of the Internet.  If you are a smart person, you take it with a grain of salt and brush off the douchebags who attack you.

But if you are a person with a chip on their shoulder and an ideological axe to grind, then you can promote the trolls and feed them, making every piece of legitimate criticism leveled against you disappear, because you get death and rape threats!  Who cares about what honest things people have leveled?  You get death and rape threats!  Isn’t that awful!  Don’t you just want to talk about that, and not look at the man in the mirror? Of course you do.

So, how is the Endowment of the Humanities going to conduct this research into “toxic rhetoric?”  Are they going to watch a bunch of Sarkeesian’s videos where she shows her harassment?  Are they going to scan the comment sections of YouTube videos.  In a better study, gamer rhetoric and looking at gamer opinions could be very insightful.  An honest study into this would show that we gamers are not the sludge that feminists make us out to be.  We are a vast ethnic group that encompasses a lot of people.  But don’t tell Tim Schafer that.  His sock puppet might be out of a job.

Tech Raptor pointed out that this study is not something to worry about.  Since it clearly has a narrative to uphold, it won’t really do much to convince people who already have their minds made up about gamers.  The real problem is that this study exists.  And it has taxpayer money.  We, the taxpayers, are giving money to bad science.  That does legitimately piss me off.  We castrate the budget of NASA, and replace it instead with this crap!  How does that not blow anyone’s mind?  Does mine.  Blows it hard.

When will it be enough?  This culture war in gaming is finally getting very ugly.  People like Anita Sarkeesian are riding the high and using their clout to get more and more money.  She’s a con artist, after all.  Aside from making money, she couldn’t possibly care less about what she says.  But the games media is feeling the heat.  The tide of the battle is starting to turn, with developers now taking a stand with the gamers that the politicization of this hobby needs to stop.  Gamers are banding together to fight for who we are.

Fighting for who we are and our right to be.  Huh.  You’d think that that would be something that a certain group of socially…just people might have a little sympathy for?  Oh, wait, these people think that we need to not clap anymore, instead doing jazz hands.  Hope for them is LONG gone…

Until next time, a quote,

“Have I ever told you the definition of insanity?  Insanity is when you do the same shit, over and over, thinking that it will be different.”  -Vaas Montenegro, Far Cry 3

Peace out,

Maverick

The Europa Mystery: Part 11

As I went in to cryo-sleep again, I had another dream.

The eyes I was seeing through weren’t mine.  I could tell as much.  They were the eyes of someone else.  Someone older.  Someone who had strength and confidence.  Well, most of the time.  With this person, they were dragging their feet.  Something stayed their motion.  Was it fear?  Sadness?  I couldn’t tell.  But for whatever reason, as they walked down the street, they didn’t carry themselves well.  It was Mars.  That much, I could tell.  In fact, the more I saw of this street, the more familiar it started to look.  I saw the house of one of my oldest friends!  Through whose eyes was I seeing this?  Better question, why were they here?  The person turned a corner, and I saw my house.  The fear that was slowing them got sharper.  I could feel it.  The person was desperately trying to hold back tears.  They looked down, and I saw that they were wearing a uniform!  Mars?!  Why was Mars here?
She finally arrived at the door, her hand visibly shaking as she went to the bell.  Finally, after some mental fortitude, she willed herself to press the button.  There was a brief pause, with her straightening her uniform.
Dad came to the door.
“Oh, hello.  How can I help you?”  He was looking Mars over, surmising that someone in a military uniform must have official business.
“Mr. Monroe?”
“Yes, that’s me.”
“Is your wife here as well?”
“She is.”  Dad’s face got more concerned.
“If I could step inside, I have something that I need to talk to you about.”
“Honey, who’s at the door…?”  It was Mom.  She came walking in.  “Oh, someone from the IDF.  How can we help you?”
“My name is Marlene Devareau.  I was part of the Europa mission.”
Both of them lightened up a bit after that.
“Ah, then you might know our daughter!” Dad said.  “She is on that mission.  Slated to be home in a couple of months.  Should have already launched.  Is the shuttle here?  Did they get home early?!”  That got the two of them excited.
Mars let out a long breath.  Both of my parents looked worried.
“Did something happen to Ellie…?” Mom asked, grabbing Dad’s hand.
“Something…went wrong.  We should go inside and talk.  This should be private.”  Things suddenly faded out.

 

They faded back in with me seeing Mom on the couch, trying to hold it together, while Dad was crying.  Mars was on the verge of tears herself, fiddling with her hands.
“Everything happened so fast.  There was the alarm, and Aronax telling the crew to abandon the Station.  I desperately tried to reach Ellie, but the long-range transmitter was down.  Hers wasn’t the only Distance crew we lost.  I was about to suit up and head out to find her, but the Commander stopped me.  Had to throw me onto the elevator.  I haven’t gotten my ass kicked by a CO like that in a long time.  He told me, ‘there’s nothing you can do.  Even if you found her, this place would be sunk by the time you got back.’  I hated him.  Wanted to shoot him and head back out.  That little girl, she wasn’t just my job.  She was…”  Tears flowed in earnest.
“Your friend?” Mom asked.  All Mars could do was nod.  Nobody talked for a while.
Finally, Dad looked up. “If she did find her way back to Atlantis, could she have survived?”
Trying to find the right words.  I knew this feeling well.  “The fact is that everything was falling apart at the time when we were ordered to abandon the Station.  We had minutes.  Water was rushing in from everywhere.  The Station was already starting to buckle.  The most nervous I was during all that was when the elevator started to buckle.  We would have had to climb up the shaft.  If that had started to flood, then we all would have died.  We had to shut off  the elevators after we got up.  So many crew didn’t even get a chance to evacuate.  Whole sections decompressed and water rushed in.  God, the people who must have drowned in there.  I don’t even want to think about it.  Ellie…”  More tears.  I felt like crying too.  All I wanted to do was hold Mars.  I guess my mother could channel my thoughts, because she went over to the woman and put her arms around her.
“You did all you could.”
“I should have gone after her!  So what if I died!  At least she wouldn’t have had to die alone!  She would have been with people who loved and cared for her!”
Dad looked up.  “No.  I know that Ellie wouldn’t have wanted that.  She would want you to live and be happy.  She wasn’t the kind of person to want anyone to suffer.”
It was true.  I would have been so angry at Mars if she had stayed in that Station and had died to find me, when she could have escaped.
“I had to be restrained once we got back to the surface.  They shoved me into that shuttle and we left.  Going into cryo for the journey was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  We just got back.  There hasn’t been an official announcement about what happened on Europa.  The PR people are trying to find the right way to word it.  We technical don’t even know.  Everything happened so fast that we couldn’t conduct any scans.  Aronax prioritized the safety of the crew.  He’s a good man.  I may have hated him then, but he is a good man.  Did everything he could to save as many people as possible.”
My parents nodded.
“I’m glad that he saved you,” Mom whispered.
“Why?”
“So you could tell us what happened.  So it wasn’t someone who didn’t love and care about our daughter coming in and telling us the truth.  That’s important.”

Now Mars was choking back sobs.  “I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.  I tried…”
Mom just hugged her tighter.  All the control that Mars had melted away, and she broke into Mom’s shoulder. Nobody talked, for a time.
“We’ll have to get started with funeral proceedings,” Dad said, his lip trembling.
“Yeah. I’ll make some calls.”
He shook his head.  “No, I’ll do it.  You stay with Marlene.”  The dream was fading out.  They believed I was dead.  How long would they believe that?  What would happen next?

The first thing that I remember is the sound of beeping.  A noise that seemed familiar, to me.  A heart-sensor!  My eyes opened, but my body felt unbelievably stiff.  Had something gone wrong?  I don’t remember coming out of cryo being this unpleasant before.  My body was a little weak.  Weaker than other times I’ve come out of cryo.  What happened?  The room I was in was white.  Very, very white.  A little cool, too.  Looking around, this place was nice.  Very nice.  It was the Station!  Of that, I was sure.  I looked to the other side, and saw Lucas there.  Thank God.  Moving got a little easier.  There was an IV in my arm.  As I was awake and looking around, my optical implants came online, along with my Band.  It told me about my surroundings.  Sure enough, I was back on one of the Orbital Stations.  My heart was singing.  We were home!  Now I could tell my parents that I’m not dead.
First, I had to check on Lucas.  My vitals were strong enough.  But I had to start moving.  Sitting up was not easy.  Why was my body so weak?  An analysis seemed to point to a cryo-sleep that was longer than normal. How long had I been out?  Not enough data.  Having finally sat up, now I had to try standing.  My feet didn’t touch the floor sitting up, so I was going to have to slide off.  That was going to be fun.  A little courage moment, then I did it.  My feet greeting floor was scary.  But my balance returned.  I wasn’t going to be running marathons, but I could move.  I walked over to where Lucas lay.  We were both in our underwear, from when we went under.  We couldn’t have been out of the cryo-pods for long.  My optics did a scan.  Lucas was alright.  Like me, he was suffering the effects of what most likely was a long cryo-sleep.
Time to get a doctor and to talk about this.  I shuffled back to my bed and moved it up so that I could lay in a seated position.  So tired, but didn’t want to sleep.  Done enough of that for two lifetimes.  My Band hooked in to the network here and let the desk know that I was alive and looking for assistance.  A young man came in, smiling at me.
“Well, hello there!  Glad to see that one of our sleeping beauties is awake.”  Flattering bastard.  I admit, I blushed a bit.  He’s a sweet guy, and, I admit, kinda cute.
“Yeah.  How long was I out?”
He frowned a bit.  “I’m not sure.  There is someone here that can help you with that, though.  He’s the head of the Medical Ward, here on this Station.  We’re with the IDF, so he should have all the answers.  I’ll ring him up.
“Thank you.”

About 15 minutes later, an older man, with a trimmed white beard and a jovial face came to my door.
“Well hello, young lady!  I see that you and your companion are awake.”
Indeed, Lucas had woken up.  Well, I woke him up.
“I had to get his lazy ass up, but yeah,” I sneered.
“Blow me, bitch,” Lucas replied.  We chuckled.
Taking out a tablet, the head of the Medical Ward sat down.  “Nice to see you two are up.  My name is Director Adrian Veer.  I’m the head of this facility.  Sounds like you two have had quite a ride.”
Lucas snorted.  “Understatement of the fucking year.”  I wasn’t about to argue.
“Well, I understand you were wanting to know about your cryo-sleep.”
I nodded.  “My optical implant told me that that was the most likely reason behind my muscle weakness and why I didn’t come out of sleep in the pod.”
“That’s true.  You two’s shuttle had to make a whole bunch of course corrections.  Avoiding more pirates, like the ones who captured you.  Smart defensive systems on those.  After you got away from the ship you were on, and a ton of corrections to keep you out of enemy hands, you headed back to Mars.  The whole journey took just over a year.”
“A year?!” I gasped.
“Yeah.  The Asteroid Belt is a pretty risky place.  Your shuttle was a little overly cautious, but it got the job done.  You weren’t captured again, after all.”
It was shocking, but I had to give him credit.  That shuttle had kept us out of danger.
Lucas decided to step in.  “So, then, it would have been about a year and a half, since we left Europa, then.  Wow.  Why didn’t we wake up in the pods?”
The Director looked at the chart.  “According to our information, given your age and the length of your cryo-sleep, they wanted to make sure that you hadn’t had any adverse effects.  When they pulled you out of the pods, they gave you some anesthetic, to keep you under, until we could verify your health.  That’s part of the reason for the weakness.  The drugs are wearing off.”
“And, was there anything wrong with us?” I asked..
“Aside from some mild melanin depletion, you’re fine.  Though the two of you are pale as corpses.  Kind of unnerving.”  He chuckled.  Lucas and I couldn’t help but do so as well.  It felt good.
“So, is IDF Command going to be debriefing us?” Lucas asked.
“Very astute.  When we got word that you were up and about, I sent word to them.  Commander Aronax is coming to debrief you, along with talk about other things.  If you’re hungry, I can arrange for some meals to be sent up.  It isn’t technically meal time, but I think that we can make an exception, for a couple celebrities.”
Both of us looked shocked.
“Oh, I know who you are.  Stay here.  I’ll have meals sent up.”
Both of us were starving.  I was eager to feel like I was alive again.

After getting some lunch, Lucas and I were totally different people.  It was just chicken strips and fries, but I felt so good.  There were all kinds of people poking their heads in.  The whole celebrity thing that the Director brought up.  Oh well.  It felt kinda cool, to be a rock star.  The two of us were giggling like schoolkids again as Commander Aronax came into the room.  Both of us looked up.
“Ah, I see our two stars have survived!”  He looked right at me.  “I can tell you now that Marlene was fighting with me the whole way when I had to drag her off Atlantis Station.  He was about to go to the sub bay and take one out looking for you two.”
A smile came to my face.  The dream was right.  That meant that my parents thought that I’m dead, too.
“Sir, have our parents been notified?”
Lucas piqued at that as well.
“I will personally be sending out notices after you are debriefed.  They won’t be able to come here, because this is a military installation, but in two days time, you will be heading home.”
Lucas grabbed my hand.  I clutched his back.
“But first, I have to know – how on Earth did you get off that Station?”

We told him the whole story.  From us getting back to the Station, to ending the Executive Lockdown, to getting to the surface and leaving on the shuttle, then when we got captured by Pirates, and how I used my tech to get us out.  It made for one hell of a story.  There were times where I wasn’t even sure that I believed it, and I was there!  After over an hour, the story was done.
Aronax stroked his chin.  “Wow.  You two certainly are a couple of amazing kids.  You are going to be all over the news!  Of that, I can guarantee.  Is there anything else I should know?”
Lucas suddenly looked excited.  “Sir, I think I figured out what happened to Atlantis.”
That got Aronax and a couple of people who were taking down notes’ attention.
“Oh?”
Clearing his throat.  “Yes sir.  When we were on the Command Deck, dealing with the Lockdown, I did some scans.  I also had the data that I got on the sub’s mission to check out the coral and did a little correlating.  I think I may have an explanation.”
I was confused.  “When did you do that?”
He smiled at me.  “Well, the first time that we went under, I waited a little while after you did.  I did some analysis of the research I had gotten and formulated a theory, based on the data that we gathered.  I have all the information, which I am happy to share with your scientists.”
Aronax leaned back  “I’ll be glad to have our people look at it.  What did you find?”
“Wish I had a holographic projector.”
“That can be easily remedied,” one of the note-takers said.  He took out a small device and set it on Lucas’ bed.
“Excellent!” There was a brief pause.  An image suddenly came up.  It was of the coral we scanned.  “When Ellie and I were on the mission, we found coral growing out of the caves that we found them in.  They were sending out some kind of organic mixture into the water.  It was warming the local area quite a bit.  At first, we thought that it was some kind of terraforming, but I believe that it goes much further than that!”
The image changed to the sea floor scans of Europa.
“We believed that the coral were limited to a few caves, but I think that those estimates were grossly inaccurate.  Sir, I believe that the coral was part of a massive network of caves that may have stretched through the entire sea floor.  It might have gone all over the planet.  No way to know without a detailed analysis, which is something I would very much caution against.”
Aronax looked confused.  “Why?”
“Because they would likely suffer the same fate as Atlantis.”
“You brought up knowing what happened with that.  Tell me.”
“Well, from what I’ve determined, eggs from the coral got into the Station from exterior venting ports.  The kind that were made for waste.  The filters would have caught them, but they didn’t go inside.  They started to grow along the vents.  The growth rate was exponential.  There’s a reason for that.”
The image changed to Atlantis, showing access ports and various passages.  “The coral consumes electricity.  It speeds up its growth.  In the day leading up to what happened, there were power drains being reported.  They didn’t seem significant enough to check out.  If you had, then things might have turned out a bit different for Atlantis.  Though I doubt it.  From what I scanned, the access ports were now totally overgrown with the coral.  They blocked the vents and backed everything up.  Once the filters busted, the coral wasted no time growing into the Station..  It was so fast that you wouldn’t have been able to stop it, even if you had seen it.  Though you might have been able to get everyone out quickly.  The major systems start being affected, and right as you are about to deal with it. the pipes that were overgrown with coral burst and the Station has a massive influx of water.  A very simple plan of attack.  Though elegant, for the coral lifeform.”
A quiet pause as people digested.  Aronax was still stroking his chin.  “I see.  But wait, did you say attack?  The coral were attacking us?”
“That’s my belief, yes.  The coral attacked Atlantis when we attacked it.”
“It?  You say that like it’s only one.  But that’s impossible.  We saw countless polyps.  Even different forms of them.”
Lucas shook his head.  “No, it’s all one life-form.  Singular.  This will take a bit of explaining.”
The projection of Atlantis changed again.  Now there were the electrical lines that we saw before.
“Oh a hunch, I had Ellie do a scan of electrical energy running through the base.  It showed me this.  There were TONS of signals being sent through the coral!  It was running all along the passages.  But that’s not all.”
The image zoomed back, to show the lines going out into the ocean surrounding Atlantis.  I felt so stoked.  I remembered when we first saw this, and how cool it was.  It was so cool, listening to Lucas be all super-genius and explaining it.  I might be a hacker, but this was some cool shit!
“The electrical signals were being sent out of the Atlantis, and flowing down, toward the seafloor!”
“But how would it travel through the water?” a note-taker asked.
“There was that organic material that I believed was for terraforming, but now I think that my assumption was wrong.  Now I think that is a kind of conduction chemical that carried signals back to the main body.  See, the coral isn’t different types.  All the types that we found, I am almost certain that they are simple different arms of the same body.  Like how various organs perform different functions.  My reference point for this was a tree colony back on Earth.  People believed that each tree was a different flora, but it turned out that their roots were all connected.  The entire forest was one massive super-organism.  It’s the same thing here.  The electrical signals were being carried through all the coral polyps.  If they were individual animals, then the transmission between them wouldn’t have been so seamless.  It is all one giant system, each with its own part.”
The image zoomed back in.
“The coral wasn’t doing what it did for any malicious reason.  It attacked Atlantis out of self-preservation.”
“But why would it view us as a threat?  We meant it no harm!”
Aronax nodded, but said nothing.
“Because we injured it.  We cut pieces off the body.  We thought that we were being smart about it, but this animal had never been injured by another life-form.  It took us cutting parts of it away as a sign that we were a threat.  So, it responded in the only way it could – by destroying our stuff.  Quite a fast evolutionary response, if you ask me.”
The room went quiet again.
“Incredible,” Aronax whispered.  “You have figured out a mystery that will put the coral creature in a class of its own.  A super-organism animal, which is extra-terrestrial.  Amazing!  I must say, son, if our people agree with your assessment, you are going to be given a place in scientific history!  Though I’d say that you have earned it!”
Lucas blushed a bit.
“Send the data to my people, and we’ll look it over.  I can’t wait to hear what they say.  I’ll make sure to keep you in the loop, seeing as how it’s your discovery.”
The Commander stood up, along with the note-takers.
“Get some rest, you two.  Two days from now, you’re going home.”  He was about to leave, then stopped.  “Oh, right.  Ellie, my people found something in one of the lockers, and a friend of your said that you would want it back.”  He was handed an envelope, which he then handed to me.  I opened it quickly, seeing Angie’s necklace.  My heart sang.  It was here!  Part of me was wondering if I would ever see it again.
“Now, get some rest.  You’ll be going home soon.”
There was a part of me that was so happy, yet so nervous about going home.  How long had Mom and Dad thought I was dead?  Did they bury me?  Wonder what was in the coffin.  Too creepy a thought.  I would be with them soon enough.  That’s all that mattered.  Angie’s necklace was back where it belong – hanging right over my heart.

Until next time, a quote,

“People like what science gives them, but not the questions science asks.”  – Mr. Rzykruski, Frankenweenie

Peace out,

Maverick