SIONR: Amy Hennig Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About

I hate when people inside the industry trash-talk elements of it and pull things right out of their ass.  EA shut down Visceral Games, an action that had a lot of gamers going “well, they got the EA treatment.”  As Bioware will after Anthem has more lootbox bullshit and gamers give it the finger.  It was genuinely nice to see gamers be able to come together after the disaster that was Battlefront II and be able to vote with their wallets against this sort of thing.  EA will be bringing the microtransactions back in that game, everyone knows that, but the real question is what will happen with Anthem.  I have no intention of playing that game.  I don’t do online MMOs.  But a lot of people are speculating that just like Battlefront II, Anthem has a lot of its gameplay elements centered around lootboxes.  Given that now the gaming public is openly fighting back against this, EA’s cash cow might also bleed money.

Which brings us to Amy Hennig.  After months of her Star Wars project being destroyed, she finally sat down for an interview and really tore into gamers.  In her mind, EA was somewhat justified in destroying her project, saying that gamers who claim that we like single-player games are not putting our money where our mouths are.  She says that last year had games like Wolfenstein 2 and The Evil Within 2 which both reviewed well and had poor sales.

Here’s the thing, Amy – I don’t know if you are aware of this, but people like me only have so much money.  I don’t have the capital to waste of things that I don’t like.  With my adulting costs, medical costs, and things like like, I don’t have the money to buy all the games that sound good.  I have to buy the ones that I really think are worth my time, and I’m selective about that.  It’s not like I get the money back if it was a bad investment.  I’m sorry that that means that I bought Horizon: Zero Dawn and Persona 5 instead of those other games.

Then she decided that she was going to say that EA is justified in its business practices because the cost of making games is too high, and it’s use gamers who are responsible for that.  Apparently, we are the ones demanding visual fidelity get higher and higher.  This statement bugs me on so many levels.  See, I have argued, many, many times, the I don’t need the most massive fidelity in order to like a game.  My favorite game of 2015 used pastel colors and very low textures intentionally to create a style all its own.  While I do believe the facial animations could have been improved, it was still a fun game with its own style that did not cost an arm and a leg to make.

I wish that more game devs would try unique things with the visuals in the medium instead of just subscribing to the most high-def design.  Take cues from Mirror’s Edge or JRPGs or Borderlands.  But even without that, I don’t need the most cutting edge amazing graphics to like a game.  Just give me expressive characters and a good narrative.  Is that so fucking hard?  Who are these people who demand the graphics be so insanely detailed and rich at all times?  I need to know who these people are and tell them that they are part of a problem.

Here’s another thing, Amy, if you want to make a statement about that, then lead the fucking charge!  Make a game where you use a different visual style.  Have it be all its own and show gamers that something different can be just as good as something that costs astronomically more to make.  Then we can stop having EA fuck with us and you fucking defending them!  Because these companies aren’t doing this because of rising costs.  They are still making astronomical profits, you fucking moron!  They are doing it because of greed.  They’re doing it because they see games like Grand Theft Auto Online and Destiny and they want to get in on that insanely lucrative pie.

It is occurring to me that linear, story-focused games may be dying in the AAA space.  I personally miss when devs were willing to make a AA game that could have a small budget and take more risks.  We are seeing some devs be willing to risk that.  Or they are willing to take their time and get things right.  But Hennig believing that the greedy and destructive practices is gamers’ fault bugs me.  This woman sounds bitter about her game being cancelled, and I get that.  I really do.  It must be so hard to watch something you put your heart and soul into die.  She said as much in the interview, not knowing how much creative energy she has left.  That’s sad to hear.  I hope she goes back to Sony, who has shown that they are not going to be abandoning the story-driven game.

What will gaming be in ten years?  I’ve said before that if story-driven single player games die, I’m done.  That will be when I leave the industry.  I don’t know how many people are with me.

Until next time, a quote,

“There’s so much grey to every story. Nothing is black and white.” – Lisa Ling

Peace out,

Maverick

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Black Panther and SJW Racism (Against Black People)

Something I have always and will always believe is that the people who say that they are the ones who are leading the charge against a cause are typically undermining it to one extent or another.  As an example, more and more male feminists are being outed as sexual predators.  Turns out, unless you are a Ryan Wiley little bitch, a lot of these guys are just using it to troll for pussy.  Who would of thought?  Then there are the religious groups against pedophilia, which there are some truly amazing stories of pedophiles within their ranks.

One thing that routinely comes up in what I see is how SJWs are some of the most bigoted groups of all, but not against white people.  It’s against other people.  One of my favorite forms of racism/sexism that they propagate is the racism/sexism of lowered expectations.  “We need to lower our standards for intelligence or academic achievement because X group can’t measure up!”  These people say that society is too hard for X group, and so it needs to change because they are either too stupid or too weak to be able to handle it.  That sort of thing always blows my mind.

The Black Panther film is coming out next month, and I have seen all kinds of ridiculous things being said by the regressive left about this film.  My favorite is that it’s the first black superhero film.  Whoever did that article deleted it pretty fast when the Internet sleuths were up their ass within seconds.  Much like the person who wrote the article about how the captain in Star Trek: Discovery is the first black captain was rightly vilified.  Or there are the people who wrote articles about how the fictional nation of Wakanda is how Africa would look if it wasn’t for the white man.  A statement so ludicrous that it makes me chuckle a little.  Then there was this little nugget of bullshit that made me stop for a second.

This whole diatribe is racist.  It really is.  Against black people.  Why?  Because these people apparently believe that being able to identify with a black person is something that someone has to learn.  You can’t just be born with empathy (or “cinematic empathy,” as this retarded writer put it) and be able to identify with a person because of our shared human experience.  It’s something you have to be taught.  Unbelievable.  Does that mean that this person had to be taught not to hate black people?  It’s what they believe “white nerds” have to be, so clearly it means that they weren’t born with empathy towards other races.

I also hate how it’s “white nerds” who are so fucking racist.  If there is ANY group of people who is open to other races and other cultures, it is nerds.  There is real data to back this up.  Since nerd culture is now millennial culture, it has been shown that this latest generation is the most open and accepting culture that has ever been.  And the larger part of that are nerds.  The media likes to characterize nerds as the kids who are on voice chat in CoD calling people racial epithets or attacking women because they are playing video games.  Meanwhile, there are pictures from Cons and nerd events showing people of all stripes,  There was a great juxtaposition of a social justice event filled with white people, while a fighting game tournament had people of every ethnic group you can think of representing.

Nerd culture has always been the dog that the powerful can kick around.  As much as I would like to count myself among them, I’m a pathetic hipster who doesn’t stream on Netflix (I do DVDs because a lot of what I want to watch doesn’t stream.  Not gonna wait for the off-chance for it to come to their streaming service one day when I want to watch it now) and works in a cubicle getting yelled at on the phone all day.  Nerds are easy to make fun of.  They’re typically socially awkward, they engage in hobbies that as much as nerd culture has become part of the mainstream, the really devoted practitioners of it are still treated like shit.

With all the vitriol being thrown around about white people being so awful, is it any wonder nerd culture is so done with this?  You have people like a Samoan man I work with who was with me in hoping that this film doesn’t go the “white man is evil” route.  He made a joke about him not being white and still thinking that because he wants a good comic book film, not a sermon with a man in a superhero outfit.

Do these people just not think that I’ve ever seen a black person in a film and been able to empathize with them?  I saw the original Blade and empathized just fine with the cruel nature of Blade’s existence, and the tragedy when his mentor and friend dies, and the reality that he is stuck in a war he will likely never win.  I identified with Solomon Vandy in Blood Diamond trying to do the right thing and being led along by a man only in it for himself.  I identified with Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani in Kingdom of Heaven, who couldn’t kill Balian because he had shown him kindness when he could have kept him as a slave or murdered him outright.  Not a black character, but you see my point.  Only watch the Director’s Cut of that film.  It’s amazing.  Oh, and one last superhero reference, I could identify with Spawn’s plight in the HBO animated series of the character, who is both a black character and voiced by the implacable Keith David.

This idea that us nerds are just these virulent racists who go around hating black people and who have never seen a black character and empathized with them is a ridiculous stereotype that is rooted NOWHERE in fact.  Not one goddamn place.  It’s a belief by people who subscribe to a mindset with all the fervent passion of a fucking religion.  That’s what SJWs have – a religion.  The Church of the Regressive Left.

Until next time, a quote,

“I had to remind myself to breathe.” – Lewis Black

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Stranger Things and Lovecraftian Narrative

I don’t know how many of you know this, but I’m a fucking hipster.  I need to accept this.  Why?  Because the only reason I started watching this show is because the first season came out on DVD.  Netflix actually released a show on DVD.  Go figure.  And I am in love.  This series is all the things I have loved about so many shows that captures the imagination and the heart.  Plus, it has so much Lovecraft in it that I am enraptured.  Oh, and the music is amazing.  The techno-synth is just awesome.  I want this soundtrack.  Definitely buying this show.  But it makes me think back to all the series or films that have tried this idea and either failed, or only gone so far.  Let me explain.

How many of you remember a series called Surface?  Probably none.  Don’t Google it, you fuckers!  You don’t remember.  I don’t blame you.  It only lasted one season and got kind of ridiculous.  But it is the first series I can remember trying something like this.  A narrative about ordinary people getting wrapped up in a plot that has the potential to end the world, and them being dragged on by forces much bigger than themselves.  I actually really liked that show, and was so bummed when it never got a second season.  Apparently I am the only one.  The characters were interesting, the mystery was engaging, and we never learned the truth about it all.  Like Lost, only less stupid.

Then there was J.J. Abrams film Super 8.  Here was a movie that was so close to hitting the mark, only to fail.  By trying to make a blockbuster film about an alien, they lost the truly good thing that they could have had – a coming of age story about a bunch of kids making a movie over the summer.  That concept has a ton of neat ideas with it.  It sucks that they didn’t know what they had until it was too late.

In a way, Stranger Things is a combination of those two things.  A narrative about ordinary people stuck in a mystery with forces greater than themselves, and a coming of age story about a bunch of kids.  With awesome techno-synth music.  No joke, I am in love with the soundtrack to this series.

Which brings me to the Lovecraftian elements of this series.  Film, television, and even video games have a very rocky relationship with Lovecraft.  His horror isn’t very easy to make into a visual medium.  For starters, the dark elements of his writing are vague and hard to understand.  Lovecraft firmly believed that the deepest and truest form of fear was of the unknown.  I couldn’t agree with him more.  Once you understand the dark elements of fiction, they cease to be frightening.  It’s why horror movies always suck after the big reveal of the monster.

Stranger Things plays with this so well.  The Upside Down world has Lovecraft written all over it.  In his writings, one of the common themes was worlds in dreams, nightmares, and realms of reality beneath the one we understand.  When I heard about the series having an alternate universe with monsters that are not fully understood, and how it played with the realities mixing, that got me so giddy.  Granted, this series made it out to be science instead of supernatural, but the beats are all there.

I don’t honestly know where I was going with this, aside from saying I am in love with the Lovecraftian elements, and in a way, I finally did get the second season of Surface.  Just took a better creative team to do it.  Can’t wait for the second season, when that comes out on DVD.  Yeah, I’m still a fucking hipster.  The shame…

Until next time, a quote,

“The oldest and deepest fear, is that of the unknown.” – HP Lovecraft

Peace out,

Maverick

Feeling Her Mind

(A spin on an idea I’ve been playing around with on here.  There’s no cohesive narrative, so just fucking around because there’s nothing else I want to write about)

What made their bird so special wasn’t just the Eternal Shield.  As much of a leap in technological mastery as that was, it wasn’t the only innovation that truly made the Killer Bee a marvel of engineering.  There was also the interface on the bird.  It wasn’t something that the average person would notice.  Outside of the crew who piloted and maintained the vehicle, it was classified.
See, most birds have some kind of operating interface.  A typical Variable Armor has so many working components that have to be kept track of that an interface with the machine is required.  But this isn’t that.  Typical interface is a kind of virtual intelligence system that assists with smaller tasks or keeps track of things like various munitions, particle fuel, or battle data that was relevant to what they were doing.  The interface would link into their suit and feed them data as needed.  This system wasn’t like that.
Killer Bee had a system that linked directly with the mind of the pilot.  Using special nodes inside of their helmets, they were able to feed information directly into the mind of the pilot.  This was especially useful for Kate.  As it was her job to keep the Eternal Shield going, she had to keep constant track of the battlefield.  Her job truly was something no ordinary person could do.
The thing is, all of the data that would go into her mind could easily overwhelm her.  That’s where Quinn comes into play.  The second mind is able to take some of the mental load off.  Handle some of the mental stresses.  Only between the two of them is the system able to function properly.  This machine couldn’t be used by any one person.  Unless they truly did find a superhuman.
This was why they had to be so in sync.  Not just for doing their essential functions, but if their minds are in conflict, they can’t handle their respective duties.  It was what had fueled their anger so much in the first weeks of their efforts.  However, once the two put their differences aside, it was like they were two completely different women.  Positive and negative, the system was having a very real effect on them.
As such, they were having a hard time staying away from each other.  They did almost everything together.  They went to chow together, studied together, simed together, and there were rumors about how at night the two would try and find reasons to not be apart.  One night their CO had to order them to their respective racks.  The rumor mill was buzzing about what the nature was of their relationship.
There were other differences as well.  When they first met, Quinn had no interest in studying and only wanted to be in the sim.  But Command was noticing how she was now almost eager to study.  The opposite was true.  Kate would be racing her into the simulator.  The ship’s psychologist had opened a file to track the personality changes in them.  The code name for it was based off of the name of the interface – the Neural Shift Effect.

“Let me get this straight,” the Rear Admiral said, looking up from the report, “the system is rewriting their minds?”  In his voice was not just incredulity, but also a hint of nervousness.  They had, potentially, created an interface that could change a person’s mind.  If the general public ever got word of this, first thing all over the Net would be talk of mind control.
Shaking her head.  “No.  It’s more than that.  I’ve done brain scans of these two for two months.  Now that they are in sync, it’s so much more.”  Leaning over.  “Sir, my scanners are starting to have a problem differentiating the two’s neural patterns.”
It couldn’t be.  “What?!”
“If I didn’t have their biometrics in the system, and only went off of the brain scans, sir, I couldn’t tell one from the other.  Their minds have been rewritten to the point that it is effectively scanning the same person.”
A look of disbelief on his face.  “How is that possible?  There are so many things that make a person who they are.  It can’t just be changed like hitting a light sensor, right?”
“The human mind is a labyrinth.  Even now, with all the neural scanning technology we have, it’s still a mystery.  How the mind is mapped to neurons is not fully understood.  This system seems to have tapped into something in the human mind.”
“What did it tap into?”
“Empathy.”
This confused the Rear Admiral.  It was written all over his face
“I can explain.  Psychologists have found that when a large group of women are in the same place, their menstrual cycles synchronize.  Many have theorized that this is because women tend towards empathy.  We are cooperative by nature.  It’s how we survive.  Makes women very good commanding officers.  Women who have accents tend to lose them in an environment with a completely different one.  Our minds are wired to mesh with a community.”
Hard science.  This made more sense.  “Okay.  How does that explain what the Neural Shift System is doing to them?”
“Well, these two have to depend on each other in battle.  They’ve had drilled into their heads how their cooperation and coordination is paramount in battle.  Otherwise they will die.  Given those parameters, and the fact that both of them are women, their minds sought perfect synchronicity.  As they saw it, it isn’t just a good thing.  It’s a requirement.  Otherwise they have failed.  Honestly, sir, I think only two women could pull this off.  Male minds are much more solitary.  They favor individuality over group cohesion.  It’s blind luck that these two are the pilots of Killer Bee.”
Leaning back, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, the Rear Admiral looked back at their pictures on the report.
“Is it dangerous to them?  What are the long term consequences of it?”
“That’s what we don’t know.  This is entirely uncharted territory, sir.  We’re going to be keeping steady watch on them, but what happens next in anyone’s guess.  We’ve observed that they are starting to finish each other’s sentences.  It was just a couple times before, but now it’s getting more common.  They also will do anything to avoid being apart.  Lead to some interesting rumors below deck about the nature of their relationship.”
The Admiral chuckled.  “Think there’s anything to them?”
A long pause.  “Lt. Jelineau’s profile shows she is straight.  Lt. McKenna’s shows otherwise.  All scientific knowledge indicates sexual orientation is hard-wired into the brain.  Likely genetic.  At face value it sounds untrue.”
“But?”
“This system is rewriting their minds so that the two are as one.  Who knows what that means for their sex drive.  It doesn’t appear as if they are fraternizing, but on the inside?  I genuinely can’t say.  Anything that happens is all new territory.  As a psychologist this all fascinates me.  As a sailor…it scares the hell out of me.  We have a lot riding on these two, and now it’s too late to change course.”
Still looking at their pictures.  “Yeah…”

There was light everywhere.  Stars, shimmering all around.  They were at a cloud of space dust.  Beautiful.  From her panel, Kate looked up.  Every time they were out, she spent the entire time looking at her console, to synchronize the shield.  Only now, staring out at the lights did it hit her.
“It’s beautiful,” Quinn said.
“Yeah.”
Yellow and purple clouds in front of them.  The nursery where stars are born.  A remnant of where they died.  Bright lights inside showing the birth happening.  A process of billions of years.  The longest infancy of anything in the universe.
Then they changed.  The clouds started moving around them.  Dancing, swirling, and the stars all around were playing in the light.  Was this real?  Was it not?
“Does it need to be real?” Quinn asked.
How does she know what I’m thinking?!
“Can’t you feel me, Kay?”
Taking in a breath.  “What do you mean?”
“Can’t you feel me inside you?”
“Inside me?”
“Don’t you finish my sentences?  Like I finish yours?”
“It’s training?”
“Is that all?”
Uncertainty.  Nagging at her.
“Don’t you feel me there?”
“Feel you where, Quinn…?”
Looking up, she was right in front of her face.  Then, her eyes started glowing.
A twisted voice.  “INSIDE YOUR MIND!”

Sitting up suddenly, breathing hard.  Her face was covered in sweat.  Every night these days, vivid dreams.  So real that she was having a hard time discerning reality from what she saw there.  At least when she was alone.  But then she’d be with Quinn, and she knew in that moment what was real and what wasn’t.
Their time apart was getting harder and harder.  For whatever reason, she felt her heart stop beating so hard and her mind focus better when the two were together.  When they weren’t, it was like her brain wasn’t fully turned on.  Briefings that she would have to listen to, or duty assignments their CO gave them, she couldn’t concentrate on anything.  It didn’t feel right.
Then they were in their bird, fighting, and it felt right.  When they were working in tandem, fighting, training in the sims.  Anytime they were in Killer Bee, she felt normal again.  She theorized that it was their interface system.  At first it was unfathomably difficult to deal with all the input.  Didn’t help that at first Quinn’s mind was fighting hers.  The headaches were unbelievable.  Made her queasy each day.  But once they bonded, and the interface did its job, she had never felt a closer connection.  Her brother, her sister, her parents, none of them could match it.  It was like knowing a person, but deeper than that.
She could feel her.  That’s the best descriptive term she had.  Whenever she was around, her mind could sense it.  And when she was away, her mind knew that too.  It didn’t like it.  They had to be interfaced!  It was what they trained to do!  What they were supposed to do.  This need, this dependency, on some level it registered as wrong.  But what other option did they have?  This is war.  Their crew and their friends were depending on them.  A sailor’s first duty is to their comrades.  Besides, if they didn’t do it, someone else would have to.  Not something she could do.

“Kay!  Focus!”
The battle was heated.  Particle beams everywhere.  They had engaged a carrier and two escort frigates in orbit around a moon in Directorate space.  They had taken a terrible risk coming here, and now they were going to pay for it with their lives.  Armors everywhere, along with regular fighters.  Their ship was with two others.  Long-range artillery and a frigate “wolf pack” was moving to attack the enemy.
Killer Bee was moving with purpose.  Quinn snarled as she closed the distance on a foe and cut it in two.  They shouldn’t be here if they don’t want to die!  Her belief was always that the only people who should fight are those who aren’t scared of dying.  She never had been.  And since she had Kate with her, she knew that she never would.  Ever.  Their Shield was perfect.  So long as they didn’t over-exert in battle, they could keep this up for hours.  TD Blankets on the particle generators kept them from overusing particles.
“Two armors, from Point 525!” Kate announced.
“Roger!”
Moving fast to engage, she blasted the first down, moving to pursue with the second.
“Loathsome coward!” Kate snarled.
That caught her off guard.  When she ever been so blood-hungry?  Odd.  No time to focus on that now.
The battle carried on.  Enemy forces were petering out.  Their defenders were running out of steam.  It was over before it began.  A white flare.  Over already?
“All units, pursue!  We have our orders.  No ships escape!”
“Aye-aye!”
Quinn and Kate smiled.  Now the fun got started!  Changing over to fighter mode, she hit the accelerator and headed toward the enemy.  Their ships moved to engage as well.  It was a fucking slaughterhouse.  Even if they could have rallied some kind of defense, it was too late now.  Fire on all sides.  The cruiser with so many holes in it.  Pouring out oxygen, like blood from a wound.  It was grotesque in the worst way.
Taking it in, Quinn heard something.  A little voice in her head.
This battle is almost over!
Shaking her head, she shifted form and moved to engage one of the few Armors who was still fighting.  They must know it was a losing battle by now.  Trying to take as many with them as they could?  Not the worst way to die.  This enemy was skilled.
“He’s mine!” she said.  They danced among the increasingly-destroy wreckage of the enemy ships.  Her mind was focused on destroying the enemy in front of her.  The enemy armor, yellow with black on it.
Why stay and fight?  Run, you idiot!
What was that?!  It was fucking with her mind.
Just then, from the disemboweled starship, there came the remaining teeth of the enemy.  Seems that they weren’t just going to lay down and die.  A ton of Armors came rushing out, all headed at Killer Bee.  So few of their own fighters were in range, as they were staying out of range to avoid friendly fire.  The enemy surrounded them.  Quinn did all she could to dodge.  It was taking all her skill to stay out of the line of fire.  But this enemy was determined.  They knew the score.  All of them were likely going to die anyway.  Why not take out the enemy’s powerful new model?
“Dammit, dammit, dammit!” Quinn snarled.  Her hands and arms were growing tired at the controls in a big hurry.  There was no way she could keep this up for long.  The interface was feeding her so much data.  It was endless.  Too much.  Her mind was operating on some kind of instinct now.  It was hard to comprehend.  Like she knew in that moment that if she was able to push out the individual, embrace the system, her ability in battle would grow exponentially.  It was working.
This feeling was so surreal.  Like she didn’t even exist right now.  There was just the interface.  Just the Killer Bee.  That’s when she felt it.  Another consciousness touching at her own.  A strange feeling.  What was this strange mind?  It had to be Kate.  How did she get here?
Behind her, Kate was doing nothing but working at her console.  Entering calculations on the system to keep the shield in position with speed you’ve never seen before.  Typing to the point that her pressing keys were a beeping kaleidoscope.  As she worked, she found herself letting go more and more.  Then she heard something.
If I don’t do something, we’re going to die here!  I’m going to lose her!
Who was that?  Such a strange sound.  Something in the interface told her to accept it.  The data pointed to her accepting this mind into her own.  If she did that, their chances of victory went up exponentially.  There was so much tension in the mind she felt.  Could she quell it?  Could this mind be tamed by feeling the calmness of her own?
Quinn was getting exhausted.  Fear was nibbling away at her.  What could they do?  Was there a way out?  Dodging, but the fire was everywhere.  The Shield was holding.  The enemy was moving out to a range where they could hold position and fire.  It was like a giant sphere around them.  That’s when Quinn knew, they were surrounded, and there was nowhere to run.  Nowhere to dodge.  They could only stay there and die.
A sudden feeling, calm and soothing.  What was this?  It was talking to her.
It will be okay, Quinn.
What?!  The voice was inside her.  Not just in her head.  It was in her body.
I can handle this.  Trust me.  But I need your help.
Something inside of her told her to reach out.
What do I have to do?
I feel you!  Good.  Let me into you.  Join with my mind!  Together, we can do this!
The feeling was so strange, as Quinn did as bidden.  Opening all of her thoughts and senses to this other women.  Giving her complete access to every part of her mind.
I can do anything when I’m with you!  You give me strength, Quinn.  I want to be as strong as you.  You aren’t afraid of anything.
I’m afraid of one thing.
What’s that?
If she was going to give her strength, she’d have to open up her thoughts to it.
Of losing you.
That’s when the thoughts flooded into Kate’s mind.  Images of her in Quinn’s eyes.  Them laughing together.  How her pilot would study not because she enjoyed the task, but to be with her.  Memories, emotions.  Feelings of uncertainty.  Was it just bonding over their military obligation, or something else?  So much confusion.  Then other thoughts.  Passionate ones.  Images, flashes.  Thoughts?  Dreams?  Speckles of thoughts through her companion’s eyes.  Was that her?  What was she doing?  Closed eyes, only to open and see her face.  So close.  What are they doing?  That’s when she realized – they are kissing.
What was this?  She explored the passion.  It was beyond kissing.  Images of her looking over at her while they changed, feeling the desire deep inside.  Shame too.  The conversation they had when she was talking about her boyfriend.  Sadness.  Thinking that this person could never feel the same way.  Intimate thoughts, juxtaposed with the sadness of what she could never have.
Quinn felt naked, exposed in every way that matters.  Her heart was laid bare before this person who had to depend on her in battle.  Since she couldn’t dodge anymore, her hands hung from the controls as tears ran down her face.
Why did you never tell me you felt this way?
Because if I did then you’d hate me.  We couldn’t work together.  It would get too awkward.
Don’t you trust me, Quinn?  I’m a big girl.  I can handle this.
That’s when she realized, it was working.  They were soothing each other, and her fingers were flying over the controls.  Their Armor was shimmering with little octagons as the shield deflected particle beams.  A sphere of attacks all around, impacting and deflecting.  To the outside perspective, it was a marvel to behold.  Red beams lancing inward from all sides, going out.  One of the enemy Armors was destroyed by their own attack.
Feel me, Quinn.  Reach into my mind.
As bidden, she reached inside.  Seeing the anger at first, because Quinn wasn’t who she wanted.  It hurt.
No!  Keep going!  Past this!
Now she saw more thoughts.  Admiration.  She wanted to be just like her.  This pilot who seemed to have no fear.  Who would charge into the enemy’s attacking forces without a second thought.  Who charged into Hell to protect a pilot whose bird was damaged.  She would protect this warrior woman!  This strong, daring, fearless woman.
Then deeper.  Now she could feel the sensation of their minds linking before.  In the simulator.  But was it just there?  There was a memory, of them being in the shower together, and Kate asking her about her tattoos.  It would normally violate uniform regs, but the code changes so often that it’s hard to know what is right and wrong.  At least she had gotten away with it.  The one on her back, of the midnight wolf with the glowing blue eyes.  It captivated it.  A thought – I want to trace my fingers over that.
Uncertainty thoughts now.  Her wondering what she felt.  Years of loving men, being intimate with them.  Having a man who she loved with all her heart.  Was it just her thoughts?  It was like something was pressing on her.  A need that wasn’t her own.  Quinn realized that it may be the interface.  How they could help ease each other’s burden by taking in battle data.  Was it just data?  Was there more to it?  All of this was way too smart for her.
Do you feel it now?
Yes.  What happens now?
We survive this battle.  Then, I don’t know.
Yes ma’am!

From the bridge, the Rear Admiral saw the display and was in awe.  This was the true power of the Eternal Shield!  So what if their minds are basically meshing together.  For results like this, it was worth it.
Meanwhile at her console, the ship’s psychologist was reading the scans.  It was impossible!  They weren’t registering as separate people anymore.  Their minds had completely meshed.  These two women, for that time, had become one.  Two bodies, one mind.  What did this mean?!  The implications were both fascinating, and terrifying.

Reinforcements made short work of the attackers.  Their efforts had failed.  When the beams stopped and the last of them tried to flee, only to be destroyed, the Killer Bee was still standing.
Inside the cockpit, the two women let go of the bond.  It was hard to do.  In that instance, there was a feeling of completeness that was impossible to describe.  Both of them were breathing incredibly hard.  To those on the outside looking it, the way they breathed and felt, it would be more like afterglow than anything.
“Kate?” Quinn said.
“Yeah?”
“Oh good, just making sure you are still with me.  Are you okay?”
“You know the answer.”
Indeed, she could feel it inside.  She was.  Her body and mind were okay.
“I couldn’t have done this without you,” she whispered.
A warm smile came to her face.  “I’m glad.”
The comm buzzed.  “That was incredible, Killer Bee.  If there isn’t a commendation already made for that, there should be.  Head back to the ship.”
Quinn grabbed the controls.  “Aye-aye, Command!”  Entering the trajectory into the system, she turned on auto-pilot.
Things got very, very quiet as they headed back.  Neither woman said a word.  Just heavy breathing.  Exhaustion hit both of them hard.  Right as her mind was drifting into unconsciousness, she felt something in her lap.  Opening her eyes, she saw Kate moving on top of her.  She rested her body onto her lap, with her very rounded hips and bulky ass settling on top of her.  She took her helmet off and pulled Quinn’s off as well.
Laying her head on her pilot’s lap, she whispered, “can I stay like this?  Can we go to sleep like this?”
An awkward few seconds, then her arms went around this tired body.  No words in response.  None were needed.  Both of them knew each other’s mind now.  Closing her eyes, and wrapping her fingers into her partner’s, the two drifted off to sleep.

Until next time, a quote,

“Trust is for old married’s Buffy.  Great love is wild, and passion, and dangerous.  It burns and consumes.” – Spike

Peace out,

Maverick

The Soggy Chicken Poll

I’ve never done anything like this before, but what happened today was just too funny.  My job sucks the life out of me every day, but there are some moments where it genuinely does put a smile on my face.  Like today.  I have a coworker who has this ability to make himself the butt of some hilarious jokes.  Today it was in an off-handed comment that me and someone else heard – that he would be eating orange chicken and rice in the shower.  You can imagine how fast the ridiculing started.  I mean, how gross is that?!  The entire office got to talking about it, and I decided to take it a step further and ask the person in charge if they think it is work appropriate to put a poll in the field asking whether or not it is weird to eat food in the shower.

Which brings me to where we are now.  I am going to put it to you, my audience, and see whether or not my beliefs in how weird/gross this is are justified.  I present to you – the soggy chicken poll.  So named because we all joked about how if he were to eat his chicken and rice in the shower, it would be soggy.  Let us put this idea to our collective wisdom.  You’ve never had a more serious obligation in your life.

http://www.strawpoll.me/14876897

Until next time, a quote,

“Gentlemen!  As is custom among our kind, we do not plunge headlong into folly on the orders of a single madman, but act in accord to our collective madness.” – Edward Kenway, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Peace out,

Maverick

RAB: Shithole Countries and the Tide Pod Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, a quote,

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

Peace out,

Maverick

Women Should Be Discouraged From Serving in the Military…?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, a quote,

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

Peace out,

Maverick