Lucien’s Unpopular Opinion: This Trans Actor Debate is Stupid

I am getting so tired of how every stupid thing these days is some big cultural issue that for some reason, people believe I need to feel strongly about.  I remember when the Ghostbusters reboot was coming out, and everyone was screaming about “woman power!” and I couldn’t have cared less.  It was all such bullshit in my eyes.  Then there was Black Panther, where the Internet was all in arms about how this was some huge breakthrough for black people and it was a revolution in Hollywood.  Never mind that the actual film was generic and boring, while another film starring a black cast talking about a much stickier issue came out and these people were dead silent.  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  It’s called Moonlight.  A movie talking about being black and being gay.  Given the homophobia in the black community, that film was much more audacious piece of work.

But as is always the case, when it’s some big Hollywood film, it’s a huge cultural battlefield.  When it’s a smaller film that is made 1000X better, it gets totally ignored.  That’s the fate of the aforementioned film.  And speaking of woman power, there was the film in February, Annihilation.  Starring five interesting women and being a smart science fiction film.  Not to mention having a scene that scared the living shit out of me.  It’s good stuff.  Nobody said a word about that.

Which brings us to now.  It was recently announced that there would a biopic about a transgender activist with Scarlett Johansson in the starring role.  Of course, the Internet busy-bodies are all over yelling.  Why?  Because she’s not trans.  And they think only a trans actress should play this role.  For fuck’s sake.  I’m gonna need a specific example for the point I’m about to make, and thankfully, I have one.

How many of you have seen the film Boys Don’t Cry?  It starred Hilary Swank and was a story about a trans man who was beaten, raped, and eventually murdered because of their transgender identity.  It was a really good movie.  Swank brought that character to life for all of the good sides of him and the bad ones.  Brandon Teena was not a perfect person, and the film didn’t shy away from that.  It was good that they didn’t, because it makes his inevitable murder all the more tragic.

I’ve heard this song and dance before.  I forget what the movie was, but there was some film about gay people that starred a straight person, and all of them were up in arms about the whole thing.  Everybody lost their collective shit, and I didn’t care then just like I don’t care now.  Because my point in all of this is simple – I would rather have a good actor/actress play a role than a bad one.  There is a vast plethora of movies that show that Johansson is an extremely talented actress.  Can you find me a trans actress who has the same chops?  If so, fantastic.  If not, shut the fuck up.

And for those who say “this is erasing the trans identity from this role,” please fuck off.  Why is it that you would be just fine with a film made worse by a mediocre or outright bad actress instead of a film that shows you all in a light that looks better because of a proven performer?  I genuinely don’t get this.  I mean, it’s not like some crap has been made that markets a trans actress as their headliner only for what they created the fucking suck, right…?

Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to bring a community to life in a good way with a proven actress, the way Sean Penn did with Milk, you all have to bitch and moan about stupid bullshit.  You have a chance to be noticed in a bigger way, to a wider audience, maybe help people empathize with your community more.  But no!  Let’s complain about who is in the fucking movie.  Because that’s the way to get things done.

I am getting so tired of the SJW community bitching and complaining about every stupid fucking thing, all so they can get their good-boy/girl brownie points and have everyone knowing how “woke” they are.  What they fail to understand is that all of this bitching won’t help their community get represented.  In fact, it’s likely to have the opposite effect.  Why?  Because if all they are going to do is berate and complain and moan at creators who are trying to get them noticed, you know what those creators are going to do?  Stop making films about them.  Because they won’t want to deal with the backlash.

See, Hollywood doesn’t actually give a shit about you and your community.  Actors and actresses and even some directors might, but the industry itself doesn’t.  They care about money.  They will preach the SJW line as long as it makes them money.  But it’s not anymore.  People are getting tired of it.  It’s why The Last Jedi and Solo were such flops.  Films with bad writing, piss-poor characters, and needing to shoe-horn in SJW preaching.  People are starting to get bored with this, and I can’t blame them.  It’s tiresome.  All of the hand-wringing and everyone arguing.  It’s why I have been unsubscribing from more and more anti-SJW YouTubers I followed.  I just don’t give a shit anymore.

To trans people, if you can’t see why your hand-wringing on this bullshit is not doing you any favors, then when my eventuality comes to pass, you will have no one but yourselves to blame.  Good luck with that.

Until next time, a quote,

“Welcome to the new age – Gen Zed.  Where we hustle people.  Where we blind-side them with bullshit, and use inclusivity and diversity as a smokescreen, while we sell them $25 t-shirts.  Where we hype up that we have a trans actress, like that means anything.  Like that’s important.  Like the show is better or worse because of it.” – Mister Metokur

Peace out,

Maverick

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Lucien’s Unpopular Opinion: Boogie2988’s Ideas About Gradual Social Change are Dumb

I was recently made aware of the YouTuber Boogie2988 talking about how the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states is wrong because, as he see it, the change that happens should be a gradual thing.  I couldn’t possibly think that that is more wrong.  This idea that we should be waiting 20 years of 10 years to get what the majority ALREADY think should have been done is just asinine.  That’s the whole reason we got here.  The majority of people were on the side of legalizing gay marriage.  It’s how the issue got brought before the Supreme Court in the first place.

The issue with gay marriage is being mirrored, interestingly enough, with marijuana.  More and more states are legalizing, and as more states do, the government is seeing how much money there is to be made.  It’s insane.  The amount of green that is changing hands, both smoking and financially, is staggering.  As the government sees the tide of public opinion turning, this issue will be next.  But Boogie doesn’t see things that way.  Why?  Because there is backlash against it.  Well so fucking what, Boogie?  Yeah, when the law of the land changes, you have assholes who resent that.

It’s been that way with ending Jim Crow.  It was that way with ending slavery in this country.  Hell, we had a Civil War over that.  It was that way when we gave women the rights over their own bodies.  A battle that has not stopped to this day!  Are you saying that women who want to get an abortion should have to have their right to do so in all 50 states delayed by 10 or 20 years so that people are more open to it?  No, Boogie!  Sometimes, when the public is fucking dumb (as the public so often is), you need the rational voices to tell them “no!  You don’t get to enforce your bigotry over them!  You have to get with the fucking times, you backwards morons!”  I am not unaware of the fact that LGBT people potentially being assaulted or killed because of those people is sad.  But that’s the cost of progress, Boogie.  I have a great line to close this out with about that, but we’ll get there when we get there.

After the backlash that was pretty ugly, he came out to clarify his statements, and kind of double-down on them.  He said that he doesn’t think that “oppressed people should have to wait to turn the hearts and minds of their oppressors, even if they are killed in the process” and that he wishes that people could see the cause they die for instead of having to die for it.

Boogie, I have a friend who is in the Navy.  She’s dear to my heart, and it would sadden me more than you will know if she died.  But here’s the thing about anytime someone takes up a gun or joins the service to a nation or a cause – there is a chance that you will give your life for that and die for nothing.  Your nation might fail or fall.  Your cause might be destroyed and everyone who believed in it erased from history.  That’s the risk you take by choosing to fight for an idea or a nation you believe is worth fighting for.  It’s a risk that those who truly value that are willing to take.  Now here you are, standing in judgment of those people, saying that they shouldn’t die for a cause but instead be alive because you think so.

It’s interesting that earlier you brought up Nazis.  Let’s take a look at that.  Not the modern incarnation of the word that has lost ALL meaning thanks to its rampant misuse for everyone who doesn’t agree with the SJW mindset being called such.  Let’s look at the actual people in the regime of Nazi Germany.  You say not to negotiate with them on their terms.  Well, in a way, that’s what happened.  The Allies realized that we couldn’t negotiate with the Nazi regime, so we had to go to war with them.  How many British, French, African, and American men died, never seeing that cause come to fruition?  Does that invalidate what they fought for?  By your own statement, that seems to be what you think.  And that’s kind of insulting.

Not only that, but there are plenty of men who served in the military in Nazi Germany who didn’t agree with the beliefs of the nation, but had no choice but to serve (lest them and their families be disappeared).  They fought as hard as they could for a cause that wasn’t just, but for which they had no choice in the matter.  It was fight or have them and their loved ones be killed.  When Nazi Germany was defeated, rightfully, those who died for their cause died for nothing.  No matter how much they were not in favor of the regime and their ideas, those people died for nothing.  Or those who fought for Soviet Union in Afghanistan and died.  Or those who fought in Vietnam.  After all, we lost that war.  One could make the argument that they died for nothing.

The willingness to fight for what you believe in and be willing to give your life for that cause because you believe it to be just is now something to be saddening in your eyes.  That is so insulting to me.  You even say that you think its illogical to die for something rather than “be patient and wait for it.”  Oh really?  Tell that to the black men and women who couldn’t vote because of racist southern literacy tests.  Tell that to women who died in back-alley abortions because it was illegal so it was underground.  There are those who die waiting for the right thing to be done, while people like you say to wait.

During the final years before Roe v Wade, when more and more doctors were risking their reputations, careers, and freedom to give women safe abortions, there were those who made the argument that these people are helping keep it illegal because not enough people are dying.  If there was a higher body count, maybe that would tip the issue.  Thankfully, it didn’t come to that.  Because the Supreme Court interpreted our Constitution to say that women have the rights over their bodies, so abortion should be legal.  If those people had taken your advice, we wouldn’t have waited 10 years or 20 years.  We’d still be waiting now!  Because to this day, the argument has not stopped.  To this day, we still have ignorant pieces of shit in the religious-right telling women what to do with their bodies.  Abortion doctors get murdered to this day.  How long should we keep waiting for this issue?

I don’t think you’re a bad guy.  It seems like your heart’s in the right place, but overall, I think your opinion is asinine and ignorant of history.  But as always, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.  I guarantee that plenty of people thought like you through all of the issues I raised in refutation, and each and every one of them is wrong.

Until next time, a quote,

“Gentlemen, progress has never been a bargain.  You have to pay for it.” – Henry Drummond, Inherit the Wind

Peace out,

Maverick

Let’s Bitch About Games Not Being Happy for LGBT People! (A response to Kotaku)

I am genuinely not surprised what a giant pile of shit Kotaku is.  It was started under Gawker, so it should have surprised no one.  But every time I see their articles I am reminded of all the bad things about modern “games journalism.”  It’s a joke, and the punch like is that someone, somewhere, takes this shit seriously.  Who this person is and why is a complete mystery to me.  So when I saw an article with the title “Let Queer Characters Be Happy,” my groaning senses immediately were blaring.  I thought for a while I’d just let this stupid shit lie, because it’s more click-bait for SJWs so they can be reaffirmed why video games are awful.  Even though I guarantee that almost nobody who reads this shit and takes it seriously has ever actually played on.  Here’s a link to this bullshit article, now let’s get started.

When The Last Of Us Part II’s new trailer debuted at this year’s E3, protagonist Ellie enjoyed a slow dance and kiss with another woman. My queer friends and I confessed to one another that we were assuming the worst. That happy girl will probably die, because while games allow us to be many things—space marines, mages, and tenacious heroes—they rarely allow queer people to be happy.

Assuming the worst was a safe assumption.  That was mine as well.  I figure that the motivation behind Ellie being willing to go down the violent path that I get the feeling she has tried to escape is the death of India lesbian.

Oh, and boo-fucking-hoo about “they rarely allow queer people to be happy.”  Yeah, because Joel was SO happy in the last game.  Seeing his daughter die in front of him, scared and crying, which broke him inside to the point that he locked his humanity away for fear of being hurt like that again.  Yeah, he had a great time.  Life was all buttercups and rainbows for that mother-fucker.  If I didn’t know that all of this crap was just to get SJW brownie points for how “woke” you are, I’d think you are idiots.

Queer people struggle, as do our intersectional allies. The news is full of horrible daily reminders to all marginalized people that their lives and comfort exist largely at the whim of the privileged. That means bakeries refusing to make your wedding cake or laws meant to keep you out of restrooms.

That struggle has been fetishized by media and is one of the defining traits for queer characters in media. Video games have included more queer characters in recent years—Dorian in Dragon Age: Inquisition, Ellie in The Last of Us, Veronica Santangelo in Fallout: New Vegas and countless others—but all of their stories are tragic. Their partners and lovers are killed. Their families disown or shun them. They seem to be magnets for catastrophe. Rarely do their stories end in comfort, either from others or the larger world in which they live. We have more gays, trans-people, bisexuals, and others games than ever before. Yet we, comparatively, also have more of their corpses.

Fetishized?  What bullshit.  In all of those games that you list, the death or tragedy of their lives is painted as a bad thing.  When it it ever meant to be literal or emotional wank-material?  I hated the death of Riley in the DLC to The Last of Us, but that’s because when you listen to Ellie explain it, it wasn’t some big uplifting speech.  It was two girls who didn’t know what to do.  Ironically enough, I liked the original game’s portrayal of her dying better.  Because it felt like a real kid.  These girls are 13-14 years old.  They are NOT some big uplifting heroes.  The game painted Ellie as a normal teenage girl stuck in incredibly difficult circumstances.  It’s part of why I like her.

In that DLC, Riley is this amazing MLK-esque character who turns what should have been the tragedy that set Ellie on the path of self-destruction and watching the people she cares for die into a big “it’s gonna be okay” moment.  I hated that.  Meanwhile, in the actual game, Ellie paints the story as two girls in a place confused, scared, resigned to their fate.  They were going to “just lose our minds together.”  It’s tragic and depressing.  So yeah, Riley died, but if you go off the DLC, it was a magical and uplifting moment.  What are you bitching about?

It’s interesting that you complain about real life having reminders of things being difficult for LGBT people.  I don’t know if you were aware of this, but art mimics life, despite what Anita Sarkeesian likes to believe about it being the other way around.  So, since the real world has hurdles for them to overcome, so it is in the gaming world.  What a shock!

Not to mention that, once-again, this is another instance of me saying that if you want a game that is buttercups and rainbows for gay people, what’s stopping you from making it?  Do tell, what is preventing you from doing it?  Don’t know how to make games?  Learn.  Don’t know how to publish games?  Learn that Steam exists.  You all were able to get a house-cleaning simulator out to market, so one of you SJW fucks should be able to do this.  You want a game where it’s a magical utopia where Sarkeesian is on a pedestal and LGBT people are treated like they are princes among men?  Go out and make it, you complaining fuck!

They go on and on with example of how sad stories are represented with LGBT characters, so I’m going to jump back to where they make a point.  If you want to go through every example, you can read the article.  I have the same refutation for all of them, so it will make this simple for you here.

Tragedy often serves as a backstory for straight characters in role playing games, too. Party members of all backgrounds hide hidden pasts and personal struggles that the player can learn about and solve. But where the mighty Krogan warrior Wrex might rise to lead his species, and the dwarf Varric Thetras ascend to nobility, queer characters’ happy endings often end up being as romance options for the player. We are, more often than not, unsaveable unless we are fuckable, and even that is up to the player.

Wow.  So much to talk about here.  For starters, you talk about the shuttle pilot Cortez and how his story is focused around the death of his husband.  I actually despise the romance option for male Shepherd because he goes form grieving husband to immediately wanting to jump your bones.  Instead, let’s take a look at the story with Femshep.  There, you have a diligent Commander (which I most-assuredly am) working to help an ally and new friend get through his grief for his lost spouse.  In the end, it solidifies their relationship, both as commander and subordinate, and friends.  Plus, you helping him get through his personal issues saves his life on the final mission.  And my hatred of everything after the Victory Fleet goes to Earth aside, that seems like a damn good end to a story where they are “unsaveable unless we are fuckable”.  Fuck this smug hipster who wrote this shit.

What are you looking for?  A character who is an idyllic monarch of gay pride who leads the gay people on a gay as fuck revolution to glory?  It’s ironic that you list Wrex from Mass Effect on there, since him rising to glory is also something that depends entirely on the player!  You could have killed him when you have a standoff during the Virmire mission.  You could have destroyed the data on the Genophage cure in Mordin’s loyalty mission, which would lead to Eve’s death, which is crucial to him becoming a savior as she helps to rally the other clans under Wrex’s banner.  You also could kill Mordin, sabotaging the Genophage cure that is what saves the Krogan people from destruction.  All of his rise to glory is on you!  The player!  So what’s that bitching about all of this being at the mercy of the player?!  Pure bullshit?  That’s what I thought.

Games that include queer romance sometimes even place the success of that romance in competition with the success of society as a whole. In Life is Strange, teenager Max Caulfield saves her childhood friend Chloe after unlocking the ability to manipulate time. Throughout the rest of the game’s episodes, the two women get closer and closer, and the budding seeds of romance bloom between them. But Chloe already has lost one lover before the game even begins. Life Is Strange revolves around the search for Chloe’s missing girlfriend Rachel Amber. That search uncovers a string of sexual abuse and murder in the town of Arcadia Bay, with Rachel as one of the victims. After uncovering her body, Chloe gets killed by the culprit. That’s two dead gays for the price of one.

Oh fuck off!  Leaving aside that Max’s ENTIRE GOAL for the latter portion of Episode 5 is to save Chloe’s life (they ignore context like it’s the plague.  The Kotaku formula), this is just like that fucking “Dead Lesbian Syndrome” video that BuzzFeed made.  Yeah, Rachel Amber was dead.  It is tragic.  But you ignore several crucial facts leading up to this.  First, we never definitively know that the two of them were a thing.  It’s implied, heavily, but you never know.  Not to mention, we find out in Episode 3 that if they were a thing, Rachel Amber was cheating on her with the drug dealer, Frank.  And lying to her about it.  Oh wait, can’t talk about that.  Then you have a character who has flaws and shouldn’t be put on a pedestal.  My bad.

Yet, even when Max alters reality to save her friend or bring her happiness, Chloe suffers. In an alternate timeline where Max prevents Chloe’s father from dying, Chloe ends up in a car crash and is paraplegic. In this timeline, Chloe begs Max to euthanize her; the story shuts down both disabled and queer people’s right to happiness in one fell swoop.

Fuck this stupid article.  What a way to miss the fucking point!  The point of what made the death of Chloe in the alternate timeline Max created tragic.  This wasn’t about LGBT romance, you fuckers!  It was about Max fucking up her friend’s life again and again.  It’s talked about in Episode 5.  See, Max has fucked up Chloe’s life a lot.  She watches her die at the very beginning of Episode 1.  It’s what sets off her powers.  In Episode 2, you can have her shoot the bumper of a car, which causes her to shoot herself, forcing you to go back in time to save her again.  In that same episode, you have to stop a train from hitting her.  Which leads us to Episode 4, where she has created an entirely new timeline, specifically to make Chloe happy by not having her dad die, and finds out that this fucked up either her friend or her budding romantic partner’s life even more!  The tragedy in having to help Chloe die is in Max realizing that she has destroyed this girl’s life over and over again, only to go back to try and fix it.  In the end, she realizes that she can’t save keep doing this.  That all of these trips back through time are destroying her.

Just once, I wish that Kotaku would actually pay attention.  But no.  They have to get their talking points down so that they can stand in judgement over us EVIL gamers and the games we play.  I just know they’re going to talk about the ending, so let’s get to it.  Here I might find at least SOME common ground with them.

In a timeline in which Max prevents Chloe’s murder, a massive hurricane barrels down on Arcadia Bay instead. The pair conclude that the storm is an anomaly created in response to Max’s time-traveling. The final choice is to either sacrifice the town or to travel back in time and allow Chloe to die.

Narratively, the choice feels empty. Max’s personal growth up to this point revolved around a growing understanding of her place in society and learning to accept consequences for her actions.

I could not agree more!  I do hate the ending to Episode 5.  It is worse than the ending to Mass Effect 3.  None of your choices matter in the slightest, because either you negate ALL of them by having Chloe die, or they don’t matter because everyone is dead.  It was the laziest fucking way to end a choice-based game since Mass Effect 3.  Hell, it was lazier than that.  At least that game gave you 3 nonsensical choices that throw all your choices in the trash.  This game gave you two.  I wrote an entire post about how I would have ended things (link here), and while it isn’t perfect, at least I included SOME kind of choice-based resolution to the game.

The Last of Us focuses on the frailty of society and individuals, both morally and in the flesh. It makes sense that the characters would endure loss. Joel copes with the death of his daughter and his grief over his inability to protect her; he gravitates to Ellie, who serves as a surrogate child and a bittersweet balm for his prior loss. In the end, he gets what he wants — to serve the Hero Dad role — although it comes at the expense of many lives and lies.

What a way to miss the point.  Miss EVERYTHING that made the ending to The Last of Us so powerful.  The ending to that game isn’t some happy ending for him.  It’s bittersweet as fuck.  If you can’t see why, I shall explain.  Joel sold humanity up the river to save the only person left who matters to him.  His connection to the human condition.  You saw how his own brother and him are so estranged.  This one life, this one little life who has become his connection to the human condition, is worth selling all of humanity up the river to maintain.

In the end, he had to lie to Ellie about why he left the Fireflies base, because he knew that Marlene was right.  Ellie would want to give her life to save humanity.  What made their final conversation so powerful was in him accepting his cost, that last of his vestige of humanity, to preserve this relationship.  But it was also about Ellie accepting her cost.  She chose to accept his lie, knowing that it was a lie.  She could see all over his face that he was lying to her, but chose to accept that because she wasn’t just his surrogate daughter.  He is her surrogate father.  The one relationship that will last.  Because she found what Joel had back in the diner.  When she hacked David to pieces, she found that darkness that Joel had embraced, and since now she couldn’t give her life to escape it, she had to live with it.

I love the end of that game so much because of the moral and philosophical implications, and you just sweep it under the fucking rug as a story of Joel being the “hero dad.”  Fuck you, you single-digit IQ hipster.

I want these queer characters to have happy endings, or at least different ones. Hell, I’d settle for kisses that don’t portend death. And I still love the stories that I have, imperfect and tragic though they may be. BioWare’s cast of heroes provide examples of bravery and humility that I strive to emulate. Life is Strange’s tender romance captures a sense of early sexual awakening. The Last of Us’ Ellie is a goddamn survivor. All of that is fantastic, but it comes at a price. That price, often, is the agency and happiness of queer characters.

Does the writer of this article not know that these people aren’t real?  This is why I said that this feels like the video from BuzzFeed.  Because it reads like this person can’t separate fiction from reality in her mind.  Want these characters to have a happy ending?  Fantastic, there’s millions of fan-fiction sites that I’m sure have some happy endings for them.  Hell, read my post about how I would have ended Life is Strange.  There’s a happy ending for ya!  Instead of respecting the artistic integrity of those who create fiction, you have to bitch about it not being happy enough for you.  Well guess what, sugar-tits, you can go and find your happy ending or make it yourself on you Fanfiction.net or your Deviant Art page.

But why do we have to pay that price, and so often? I’m not suggesting that the queers should always get to dance in a field of gumdrops at the end of every game in which they appears, but considering the real world’s continued eagerness to trample the marginalized, one of the most radical things art could do right now would be to show us a world in which we are more than our suffering.

“More than our suffering”?!  Are you fucking kidding me?!  Is that all you see them as?!  You only see Chloe Price as suffering because her *potential* girlfriend died?  You only see Ellie as sad because of her dead girlfriend?  Wow.  What an insult to all the character traits that they had.  If that is all you see them as, that’s on you, honey.  I see Chloe Price as a tragic character, to be sure, but that’s because she’s had a rough life.  Her father died.  Her best friend deserted her.  The girl that she cared for more than any other and saved her potentially from suicide disappeared.  It’s what makes the dynamic better and her and Max reconnect and awaken new feelings into each other.  It’s why I hate the bullshit ending to the game so much because the choices make no difference.

But all of this comes right back to what I said before – if you want gay happy endings for characters, then go out and make it.  Make a game with a Star Trek utopia where gay people are treated as absolutely perfect because of their gayness.  I don’t fucking care.  But STOP bitching about things that you clearly only see as “there’s dead characters in the group I like!”  There is NOTHING stopping you from making the games you want to see.  How about you quit bitching on this SJW rag and get to work?

Until next time, a quote,

“Those who can’t do teach, and those who can’t teach teach gym.” – Dewey Finn, School of Rock

Peace out,

Maverick

Bad PR 113: Jocelyn Morffi, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School, and Anti-Gay Bigotry

For all the SJW bitching about inane bullshit that has no bearing on anything, there are ACTUAL cases of anti-gay bigotry that go completely unpunished.  But for once, as angry as this makes me, it’s nice to see the community coming to defense of the wronged person.  Every time I hear the likes of Anita Sarkeesian bitching about something in movies that has nothing to do with anything, we get stories about Jocelyn Morffi, the latest in a long history of people whose livelihoods are destroyed because of something that as FUCK ALL to do with her job.  Gotta love all that religious “tolerance.”  I hate that term, and I still use it here.  I believe acceptance of the LGBT community comes when we don’t have to “tolerate” them, but instead are just as apathetic about them as we are about anyone else.  But in this context, the term is fitting.

Jocelyn was a teacher at the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School.  A private institution which it seems has a moral clause in their contract about not being gay.  Because being gay is so immoral.  I guess it didn’t stop them from hiring her, which sure is weird if this clause is so fucking important to them.  I mean, it’s not like they decided to ignore their own “morality” clause when they gave a woman who CLEARLY qualified this job.  However, they decided that they were going to clamp down on this when she decided to post pictures of her wedding with her wife on her social media accounts.  An activity that would NEVER be scrutinized by anyone is straight people did it.

After posting pictures of her wedding, the school fired her.  They called it a “difficult by necessary decision” in an open letter.  Um, what?  This is especially weird to me since this woman apparently was openly gay.  So, she wasn’t closeted and hired without the school knowing what she’s like.  Okay.  Then what made this particular incident the thing that pushed the needle over the edge?  It wasn’t her posting online telling all the kids that being gay is cool (even though I would still argue that there’s nothing wrong with that either.  Plenty of gay kids who are scared of how they feel could use some encouragement to accept who they are from figures in their community they trust).  She just posted pics of her wedding.  A totally reasonable thing to do.  It’s done by people all the fucking time.

What’s nice about this is that the community came to her defense.  Many parents said that she was openly gay, but never forced it on the kids, and is an amazing teacher, so they don’t get what the problem is here.  Good fucking question.  In a private meeting with school officials, it seems that a group of parents hasn’t gotten a clear answer on why this woman was fired.  Boy, it sure does look like this school decided that they don’t have a moral clause about being gay being bad (which religious schools can get away with because they are associated with religion, though we’ll get back to what bullshit that is in respect to this kind of institution very quickly) when they hired this woman, but suddenly have it now that they want to give her the boot, doesn’t it?  Hm, that’s odd.  Makes me wonder if there’s something that could actually be taken to court, doesn’t it?

A school official was saying that there is a moral turpitude clause in her contract, which she violated.  Okay, but that doesn’t hold up if she was openly gay when she was hired.  Was the clause that she can be openly gay, but not post anything online?  Does it make that clear?  What was the point that she crossed the line on this if the parents of all of these kids knew that she is gay before this?  Was this just an opportune moment to shit-can her?  Feels like it.

All of this is beside the point, though.  What blows my fucking mind is that Catholic schools can have some big hang-up on morality when it comes to sexuality with how many pedophiles are currently in their ranks.  That feels more than a touch bit hypocritical.  Don’t you think?  Could Father Child Toucher get a job there?  After all, the church goes out of their way not to disclose all the pedophiles in their ranks so they can be brought to justice, so is that part of your bullshit moral turpitude clause too?  Or would the school do as the church does and find a way to defend them or quietly sleep the whole thing under the rug.  As we found out, the church has a fund dedicated solely to paying off the families of children who are sexually abused by priests so they won’t talk.  Does the school rise to that same “moral” standard?  Valid question, if you ask me.

This poor woman.  A friend of mine who has been Catholic for so long mostly because of her mother who she was incredibly close to while she was still alive has had her faith shaken.  It blows my mind how religious bigotry is so easy to justify, so long as you put it in a fucking contract.  But the fact that this woman never hid her sexual orientation and the school still hiring her and deciding now to fire her does indicate that she’s got some legal ammo to go after them.  This seems insanely hypocritical.

The PR lesson is this – if you are going to be a bigoted institution, then either keep to your bigoted positions and tell qualified people to piss off because they like the same gender, or don’t.  Because I genuinely do think she has a legal leg to stand on when it comes to fucking up this school’s day, and I hope she does.  Fuck Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School.  If my suspicion is right, then I hope they end up shelling out big to this poor woman who lost a job she loved because of something that shouldn’t have mattered in the fucking first place.

Until next time, a quote,

“Some people are really fucking stupid.” – George Carlin

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

Bonds Deeper Than Blood

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

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

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

Until next time, a quote,

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

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Life is Strange: Before the Storm – Episode 3

Ugh.  I don’t know what it is with game creators and stories with player choice.  For whatever reason, it seems that the vast majority of devs who make them find it difficult to end them in a way that reflects player choice.  But I don’t think that was the problem here.  I think the problem with ending this particular game is the fact that it has a continuity that it has to fit into, because it’s a prequel to another game.  And this game gave you the ability to completely break that continuity if you so chose.  Which I did.  I’m going insanely into spoilers, just a head’s-up.  If you don’t like that, get out now.  This episode had other problems too, which I am going to get into.  Let’s talk about it.

Here is a big issue – the first two acts of this game are done with such a mastery that it really blows my mind.  No joke, I was on the edge of my seat and feeling the feels in a big way.  It goes along with the narrative that it was so perfectly crafting.  Which makes the third act of this game and how far it dies that much more frustrating.  But my frustration with the third act comes from other places as well.

This is where I get into spoilers.  So anyone who doesn’t like that is advised to leave now.  For starters, what is the deal with the confrontation with Eliot?  That was bad!  Some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen.  It comes right the fuck out of nowhere!  So I’m just supposed to believe that he is secretly a crazy stalker who has a domestic violence complex when all the events up to now have told me he’s the sad friendzoned guy, based on the choices I made?  That makes no damn sense.  It was conflict needlessly thrown in there to add tension.  Or maybe to justify him not being in the game that follows this one.  I don’t know.  But that entire scene annoyed me to no end.

Next, why was the relationship I was cultivating with Rachel never acknowledged in the end?  That bugged me.  The previous game had Rachel and Chloe making out by my choices.  Why does it not have any amount of emotional intimacy between them.  It really doesn’t.  You could easily make the argument that they are just good friends based on how their interactions go.  Why?  This episodes goes out of its way to not say anything definitive about how their relationship is.  I know why – because of continuity.

And now we finally get into my biggest gripe with this episode – keeping the continuity.  See, here’s the thing: I broke that.  I broke the continuity of the game that follows it pretty damn hard.  With the choices I made, after a genuinely touching scene of David trying to reach out to Chloe, I had her finally choosing to make peace with him and set up a legitimate relationship for the family.  So they were on the path to becoming a real family, minus all the animosity.  Thus helping to set up a psychological balance with Chloe to help her heal.  Next, I put Nathan on the path to becoming a better person.  He had a real friend who was kind to him and treating him like he wasn’t a piece of shit.  That would set him on the path of becoming a better person and not needing Mr. Jefferson for his twisted fantasies.  Lastly, at the very end, I lied to Rachel about what transpired and the truth about her father being a real piece of shit.  That led her to having a very good relationship with her family that wouldn’t have had her and Chloe desperately looking to escape still.  Not to mention, I had set up in the previous episode that they would be heading to New York and not LA.  Since she wouldn’t have been self-destructive, there would be no reason for Rachel to be in Mr. Jefferson’s Dark Room.  Not to mention, since I had built up the relationship with her and Chloe so strongly (at least I thought I had), she’d have no reason for fooling around with Frank.  Unless she decided to cheat on her.

Do you see the problem?  The developers decided that it was better to keep the continuity intact than to allow player choice to dictate how the game goes.  Because, as I said, they had to keep to the continuity.  That’s bullshit!  If you are going to market a game as having player choice, respect their agency.  Yeah, I retconned the lore of the game that chronologically follows this one.  So what?  The original game, ironically enough, is an iron ball around the ankle of this one.  And that is unfortunate.

What’s even more ironic is that there is such an easy way around this!  Just have the continuity errors be Max in the future changing the past.  One of the bullshit endings to the game has it where Max goes back in time and lets Chloe die, ostensibly stopping all of the rest of the plot from happening.  The idea is that if Chloe had died, Max would never have gotten her powers, and none of the events that followed would have happened.  Even though, Max already fucking did that when she went back in time further than the events of the story and told David about Mr. Jefferson’s fucking Dark Room, which should have caused the same result!  Ugh!  I still hate the ending to the original game.  So yeah, if the idea was to stop the events of what followed after Max saw Chloe die, then anything she would do back in time before then to stop the events should work.  In other words, just have a bit where you see Max in Seattle having gone really far back and changing the timeline.  Then you can fuck around wherever you like.  A game with time travel allows for that.  Or have it be an alternate timeline Max created in time travel.  There are plenty of easy ways for this to work, and it doesn’t.

So, do I hate this episode?  I hate the final act, but just like the one that came before, everything leading up to that was pretty great stuff.  I guess you can make your own judgements on it from there.

Final Verdict
First two acts: 8 out of 10

Last act: 3 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick