2008 ford escape life expectancy

Human Progress

2017.10.19 09:35 Chartis Human Progress

Good news > Bad news. Perhaps you want to discuss the newest article you saw on https://humanprogress.org/ ?? Maybe you want to discuss Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now or debate what Adam Smith and Marx got right or wrong about the causes of progress? This is a place to celebrate human progress, discuss it, and debate it. Its causes, its consequences. Ask questions. But remember. Be kind, engage in civil discourse, make factual statements, and be willing to provide sources if asked.

2023.06.03 19:08 samzdrawz New page, same old ink.

As i now watch the empty, restless sky, i think. Am i at the 20th cigarette? Probably. Everyone has gone away, my best friend disappeared. After you ran away, after you had your perfect life, you left me here I spend my days trying to paint again, with the same happiness i did when you were here. But nothing comes out, the page stays blank, as i try to hold myself together. I dated girls on girls. I've met people. But now, every new person i meet, every new road i take, tastes like a lie Every new girl just wants attention. Every new person has two faces. You had no fault in going away, i was a terrible person, and sometimes just thinking about it makes me panic, how cruel and of an idiot i was. I miss cooking for you after our sex I miss giving you aftercare, seeing you smile as i said that you were beautiful even with your diabetes. I miss watering the plants with you I miss taking that train, escaping from this reality. I miss everything, everyone I feel like a butterfly that has no flower to get on Floating on an endless plain of reality i shaped by living My derealization didn't fix, remember? Every day, my brain get's sucked on and left behind. But you, my flower, probably have a better butterfly by now, far away from my plain of shattered realities. Far away from this monster i created. No woman will never love me, doesn't matter how much i change my looks, how i build up my muscles. And so on, i smoke. I can feel my lungs getting full. My eyes don't water up anymore, doesn't matter how much i try. Goodbye, B. Please, don't hate me Sincerely, Sam.
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2023.06.03 19:08 bartholomewcubbs What season has been your favourite so far?

I enjoyed every season while watching it but I have to say that Season 3 is my favourite by a long shot.
Season 1 is great but I find it hard to re-watch. I honestly just enjoy the characters when they're older and it feels kind of weird seeing them all so young. Even if they're not that much younger in terms of years (I don't actually know), they look like toddlers compared to the later seasons.
Season 2 is also great but I haven't re-watched it in a while. I honestly can't remember a whole lot about the plot other than Bob being killed in the lab and El closing the gate at the end of the season (which was fucking awesome, don't get me wrong). I also found the episodes of El finding her old roommate and all that stuff kind of strange but it was by no means bad.
Season 3 is worlds better than any of the other seasons in my opinion. I watched it for the first time during a very memorable and formative point in my life that was full of personal growth and making new friends, so that probably plays a bit part in why Season 3 had such an impact on me. Probably has to do with the fact that watching this season makes me remember things that happened in my life while I was watching it and kind of makes me miss those times in a way. Whenever I decide to re-watch a season, it's always this one. I absolutely love the story and the development of Billy's character as well. The season finale always makes me choke up. I find the Season 3 plot just much more interesting than any of the other seasons and I could watch it over and over again without getting tired of it.
Season 4 was not as great as I was expecting. It was still good and worth watching, but it just felt kind of weird. Don't know how else to put it. I loved Eddie's character and wish he didn't have to die and after seeing Steve get strangled and torn up by those creatures in the Upside-Down it was hard for me to understand how Eddie died but not Steve. I have some more criticisms about this season but I don't think they're not worth mentioning. The season was good overall but I don't have the urge to watch it again like I feel with Season 3.
I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for reading.
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2023.06.03 19:07 Grouchy-Place7327 Stop and smell the roses

I have ADHD, I hope you can follow this.
I'm starting to not like the idea that we are supposed to "enjoy" life the whole time, meaning not working and just sitting around. I get immense pleasure from working. I'm not saying some meaningless 9-5 where you sit at a desk and just send emails most of the day. I mean actual physical labor, or something mentally challenging. Even if it's something you do every day, you're still exercising your brain to accomplish a task. I feel like part of the problem with this train of thought is you're not stopping to smell the roses. Now granted, the wages in most countries need to be higher, there's absolutely no denying that. But to think that you're just supposed to live in lavish luxury all the time is absurd. Go for a nature walk at the end of a long day, and don't bring anything except clothes (please, for other people), or do some manual labor, help someone do something, gift someone something, all of these things bring pleasure to you. You don't need to go on six vacations a year, one or two will suffice. Take the holidays to yourself and family. Give to the community
If you think about our ancestors, all they did most of the day was work. Either hunting, cooking, walking for water, plain surviving in the wild, etc. Sure they probably only did a couple hours of this a day, but there was nothing else to do except sit there, sleep, fuck, and eat. Until we developed the arts and what not.
The point I'm trying to get across is this: we live in a day and age where we have so much technology that it's messing with our brain chemistry. We are perpetually bored, and unsatisfied now because we always have a stimulus. Take away the stimulus for a few hours and go sit in nature, trust me you'll start to relax and actually enjoy the nothingness. Then you'll realize that none of this actually matters, the luxury I mean. The only thing that brings true happiness is surviving, on a fundamental level. So act like you are surviving again, if that makes sense. Fast, then eat a nice bowl of fruit in the summer time. Go for a short run. Listen to the sounds of nature. Call a friend or family member. All of these things should bring you joy. Stop and smell the roses. There is literally no point to life at all, so don't expect anything from it.
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2023.06.03 19:06 spicynoodles8394 Disheartening to see some of us refer to single parents as having "baggage".

TRUST me i'm semi frequently having negative feelings and even feelings of comparison in my own relationship with a single father. I'm also childless so I don't exactly take personal offense to single parents being referred to as having baggage but I did grow up in the dating scene with older men telling me older women or women their age have too much baggage and that younger girls we're just more fun and easier and always hating that some men thought that. I remember wanting people to be lovable and wonderful even if they had their own pain or their own difficult circumstances that life handed them. I think that notion of dating someone because they are "easier" is something that can be inherently self-serving and lacking of compassion and even reality because the older we get the more "baggage" we all pile up because life is often hard and sometimes cruel. What if we find ourselves one day with baggage that we never expected? It can be as simple as someone close to use dying, losing a job and racking debt, getting a debilitating illness or having an accident, birth controlling failing and being that .01% that got pregnant, etc. Are we now subjected to never deserve love or have someone accept us without eventually resenting us?
Of course we are all allowed to leave a relationship if it isn't for us. My SO tells me often that I don't HAVE to be here in some attempt to remind me of my choice in the matter so I don't feel stuck and that we still have our own agency even in relationships. As we all know many divorced/single parents have trouble having a healthy mindset and expectations around the kind of life to create as a single parent and sometimes it's not healthy to add another adult to that scenario even if we love them.
I don't know. Just something to think about maybe.
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2023.06.03 19:06 BrockLanders008 No cowbell!!!!

So I have a car stereo that turned out better then I expected. Infinity kappas with punch amps run by a Pioneer 2660 in a Ford explorer. This is the first install that sounded good when I first powered it up, flat eq no boost. After toying with it for the past 2+ years I've tuned it to where most songs sound great and a few suffer a little. How ever I can't hear the cowbell in don't fear the reaper at all. My home theater system is Onkyo 696 and Klipsch reference, which took some tuning and getting used to since Klipsch uses metal tweeters and poly woofers and I prefer soft tweeters and rigid woofers. Anyway I hear the cowbell in my theater room but not in my car, my head unit has a setup mic option do you think that will help or maybe something else someone could recommend trying. I'm thinking it's some sort of frequency cancelation with the cars cabin.
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2023.06.03 19:05 Theekidbrentt The pandemic of 1959

it all started as a typical Monday. Or so I thought, Getting up for another dreadful morning of work, ~sigh~ I start making my breakfast in this big lonely overpriced apartment. I started typing an email on the debrief from the other day after that freak accident with Melissa and "code 87364" a freak accident that wasn't so much of an accident as I've heard the boss man wanted her gone but couldn't fire her heard that he's been making her life a living hell. Ugh well back here at the same hidden cave that's been hiding area 38 for the last 20 years the same, very invasive if I do say so myself, strip search. All because of that previous leak from 1926, I still haven't heard what happened to Collin last I heard he was in "the underground". It's about 9:45 when suddenly the sound off for a code "burgundy", for all of you outside civilians that's what we call for potentially catastrophic disaster. And oh what a wonder they had just left out with a 150-gallon tanker of biowaste filled with this new "disease". It's being called "prototype 6723", all I know is that they've told us to stand clear at all times unless directed near. Well, those innocent civilians, oh how they weren't ready for that. We got the first alarm and sprung into action Well... we thought.. the boss comes out and declares "It's all over the world, there is no chance to come back from this event" the boss said. I asked in fear " Uhm-m"(shaken tone) what do you mean" he looks us all dead in the eyes and says "That's no normal virus it's going to turn anyone who comes within 100 yards of it into zombies" Everyone gasped, people frantically calling their family's.. well they tried, being in the absolute middle of nowhere and in an underground bunker you don't exactly get cell service we all began to panic! "What will we do", " My wife and my kids", as everyone was frantically screaming and crying I began to try and remediate the peace, but as you would assume that had little to no effect but what do you expect when you hear something that catastrophic? 
It's been 3 years since that day. We were finally able to make a solution, but not before a lot of people were killed. I still can't get that day out of my head. I think we did the right thing but something keeps pushing me, something no man nor woman would have ever thought they would hear, nor feel. The voices mess with me. I haven't slept in days, not after the reminder of what happened that day I still can't get my mind off of the fact that we still keep pretending that nothing happened that day and that we are acting as if nobody was lost. Let me fill you in. When we finally made a working antidote it most definitely wasn't the first one. Just imagine how we tested these different variants to find "the one", as they call it. It caused people to explode at one point some just decayed as soon as it got into their bloodstream. That was the most horrifying scene of my life to watch as we use innocent people as test subjects and it kills off most and left many with permanent damage. For others, those were some of the most gut-wrenching days of their lives. To conclude this day in history, we had to name this "mysterious disease" that's now known as, "T H E P A N D E M I C O F 1 9 5 9"
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2023.06.03 19:05 Conscious-Prune-5952 Possible story of DKI's first child, Ibrahims obsession and bump drama

By now we all know DKI in and out and what all she is capable of. Purely on the basis of her personality traits, I have made a rough sketch of what could have happened.
Growing up, Dipika was an ambitious child, the one who wishes to upskill and be independent ( she said she learned to apply henna to earn pocket money in 8th standard), she aimed at becoming a cabin crew and got rejected and tried again and finally became stable. But deep inside her mind she was embarrassed of her parents' divorce and wished for a happy home, almost a stupid wish because life is no fairytale. Pent-up childhood anger manifested in no true bonds. To date, she treats her biological family like neighbors.
2007-2008 Dipika met Raunak Samson, a pilot, who at that point was her only chance at a better life. She uses people as ladders to climb up so very smartly she married him, possibly by getting pregnant and pinning him down. Mind you Dipika got married at a VERY early age for anyone who just started their career. As if she was waiting for a chance to exit her life and have her fairytale. She also hated her family and her culture so much that she liked the idea of marrying out of religion and starting afresh. Like a new identity, a new life.
Dipika delivered a baby girl and had to take a hiatus from flying. Post-patrum she utilized Raunak's connections and got into TV. Channel asked her to hide the status of her marriage.
2011- Sasural Simar Ka happens and Dipika sees unmatched fame, becomes a household name and meets Shoaib and fell for him sometime in the first year of SSK (in interviews she is seen flirting with him). Mind you she would NEVER have left Raunak of she did not have a chance at a better fairytale. Janaab also played a role to charm a married woman and fund his entire khaandaan for years to come. His family found her psuchological weakness and showed her typical Hindi serial fake pyaar.
2013- rumors of Dipika Samson's divorce in the air because set employees report her closeness with SHoaib. She denies all rumors and says she is just friends with Shoaib. At this point, I think she was confused but was having drama in her married life with Raunak.
-Long before she filed for divorce Shaoib and DKI started a live-in relationship (check her Instagram feed her earliest picture of Eid long before her marriage, she tries to clarify in caption that it is Shoaib's house but they were all living together).
2015-2017 files for divorce, does a trashy wedding with loads of fake crying and fake friends and fake maykaa and fake bhai, etc etc. Continues obsession with Ibrahims, loses her sense of independence, her dressing sense, and becomes foul-mouthed towards anyone who criticizes her fairytale and Shoaib a sharp narcissist trains her like a dog that whenever she would show her loyalty she would get affection. Hence their weird relationship.
NOW, she could not conceive and was worried that her past life people will say that ohh its karma for abandoning her daughter so she has passed a fake bump that changes randomly and is going around with basic Google research on pregnancy, no one mentions the upcoming child in Ramadan, no baby-shower in a family that celebrates friendships day also and there she goes living her fairytale.
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2023.06.03 19:05 alex_isaweirdo I’m in a relationship but I miss my ex

I (19f) am in a perfectly happy relationship with my (19m) boyfriend. We have been together for 2 years now and I couldn’t ask for a better relationship but sometimes I still find myself thinking about my ex. I dated him when I was in grade 10 and he was in grade 12 and at the time I thought it was a great relationship but it really wasn’t. We would both lie to each other and I did stuff I normally wouldn’t have done when I was with him. My parents hated him and eventually packed up everything and moved me across the country. That’s when I met my current boyfriend. He’s sweet and caring and trustworthy and everything you could ask for in a partner but for some reason I still think of my ex some days. I guess a part of me wasn’t ready to leave him when the relationship ended and I just miss the spontaneous nature of the relationship how each day I didn’t know what to expect. We also used to have a crazy sex life and he was the guy I lost my virginity too but he wants nothing to do with me anymore so I can’t even be friends with him even tho when we first started dating we promised each other we wouldn’t let it ruin the friendship. He was the one I told everything too and he’s gone forever. Don’t get me wrong I love my boyfriend dearly but I find it hard to put words together to tell him things sometimes and I guess as a result we just arnt quite as close as we could be.
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2023.06.03 19:04 Remarkable_meowy Maybe it's fine to risk again

I just want to share happy and hopeful thoughts here before I sleep. So, a week before, I was all alone in the house and I already finished reviewing for an exam and I have no one to talk to. Been practicing self love for months since it didn't work out well with the previous talking stage that I had. I wasn't really looking for anything, just decent talks to fill the deafening silence that night. I tried to use Omegle. Then I met this person, and sobrang saya ng usapan namin about life, school (both graduating kami), and even games. So in short, we really vibed.
Fast forward to a couple of days, I feel his growing interest sa'kin and also he already told me his back story, previous relationship, and a bit about his family, and I did the same thing as well. So, for me okay talaga siya. I also had this instinct na he's a good guy. To add pa he's so soft spoken and an introvert din. Plus points din sa'kin yung his love language towards a partner is acts of service, and he never ever dropped a single inappropriate statement. Also we both don't have any sexual experience din. Nakakatuwa lang.
Pero tonight, I was really overjoyed, kasi sa telegram kami nag uusap, and sabi niya sa'kin, he would not ask for my personal social media accounts, kasi he will just do it when we will finally meet in person, kasi gusto niya ako paghirapan. Damn! As someone na words of affirmation ang love language, I was just so mesmerized.
Another thing, he's from South and I'm from North (Bulacan- Cavite) and damn he's willing to travel that far kasi lagi niya sinasabi pupunta siya dito, tho di pa ngayon pero pag di na kami busy both. Kasi may OJT pa sila ngayon, and ako naman busy for final defense.
It feels like he's too good to be true pero I don't have bad instincts whenever we talk or spend time. Tapos yung OJT niya is from 8 am to 5 pm and sometimes may bring home pa na gawain but he still finds time and I do the same. Kahit busy we still exchange messages every break and talk for minutes or an hour at night before sleeping. Tapos he also mentioned he's willing to know my parents too. I like it when a person shows real intentions, and gives clarity. Shout out sa previous person na ayaw magpakilala sa parents and mixed signals lang alam. Tho thankful ako kasi I had some valuable takeaways.
I feel like I'm ready to risk again. I feel like he's worth it. I pray it'll will out.
Babalik ako dito if kami na. Hahahahaha. Lord you're so good. Now, I believe that someone really valuable comes along when you least expect it. Ladies, there are good men out there. You just gotta work on yourself, pray, and wait for it.
Note: Almost same sila ng name ng someone from my past. Hahahahahaha. Lmao. How funny the universe is.
Sorry mahaba. I'm really just happy. :)) Good night y'all!
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2023.06.03 19:04 allofmywatdotjpg 28 [F4F] Seattle/Everett/Washington - Looking for the Vi to my Caitlyn for GAY GIRL SUMMER :3

Disclaimers: I am married - my husband and I are ethically non-monogamous and date separately (he has his own girlfriend he is fully invested in). I am looking for a girlfriend for myself. If ya don't like dick, cool. Expectations are important. Given that I am married and live with my husband, there is only so much time in the world I can give you. I try to be as realistic with my expectations as possible and would like the same from you. While sleepovers every week aren't in the cards for us, going out to dinner and having a relaxing (or not so relaxing) evening could be a substitute. That said, I am very much a homebody and texting all day is a GO. I am also very introverted and am drained by others easily and I generally do not mesh well with heavily extroverted people.
Here is my face, 'cause that's pretty important. I am also living my BEST kawaii strawberry life with this look. I am petite at a towering 5'3'' and 110~ lbs. I am very much attracted to similarly petite, cis-f femme women (qt goth gf pls?). I've been watching the newest season of The Ultimatum and...apparently I'm also really attracted to masc women and enbies. So basically, if this post resonates with you please shoot your shot! :) Men need not apply as this is clearly an F4F post. I prefer someone local to Seattle and am not looking for a long distance partner at this time.
Sexually, I'm definitely more of a sub and would prefer someone who's either dominant in bed or a switch though I'm not a very sexual person. Not particularly interested in any TPE 24/7 arrangements but I do enjoy various aspects of D/s throughout daily life. Each dynamic is unique and we can create something that works best for us :) ...I do, however, really want a cute girl to sit on my face. Or play something on your computer while I chill under your desk, borednignored style. If you work at Hot Topic, please just fucking message me.
I am hoping to find someone who is just as excited about me as I am excited about them. Matching someone's energy is crucial - if you're excited to talk to me, I'm excited to talk to you :3 I want us to be that disgusting couple with the matching anime pfps who uwus to each other. Let us be the physical embodiment of creepyasterisks but it's acceptable because we're attractive. I'm not necessarily looking for a laundry list of particular traits in an individual - what I'm looking for is a particular feeling. I want to connect with someone on a deeper level beyond just sharing common interests. To me, being able to make someone laugh is one of the most important parts in any relationship, romantic or otherwise. If we can make each other laugh over text on a regular basis, that's when you know you have something special. I want to be getting weird looks from nearby onlookers as I laugh not so silently to myself over some dumb joke the two of us share. That said, having common interests is important as well. I'm a big fan of video games (RPGs, ARPGs, RTS, maybe FPS if you can convince me) and I think it's pretty crucial that you are as well. Path of Exile, League of Legumes Legends, Diablo, WoW, and whatever the hell you want to pick up I will try (I may be kicking and screaming, though. Branching out to new games is hard). I'm playing LoL just about daily at the moment and would LOVE to have another partner to play with! Also, maybe even Diablo 4??! I've tried to pursue people who aren't into video games in the past and it makes the relationship a lot more difficult to sustain. I am also quite vain and take a lot of pride in my appearance - I'd love to have a gym buddy and/or someone to appreciate my need to constantly buy fashionable (?) active wear. I'm pretty into fitness and being healthy and go to the gym about 4-5 times per week. Other interests include skincare/nail polish/makeup, body modification (I have stretched ears and quite a few piercings and recently got started on my full sleeve!), laughing at my own jokes, trashy TV (Love is Blind and just about any dating show on Netflix are my guilty pleasures!), and great food. Tell me about your latest D&D character and give me your best character voice. I am OBSESSED with my two cats and I love them almost more than life itself. I love to voice and video call so let's hop in a call and stare at each other like normal people do (what?).
I want us to be able to hang out in the same room doing our own thing and it be comfortable. I've recently heard this described as parallel play. Awkward silences? No such thing. Pausing what we're doing every now and then to show the other something we've come across on reddit somewhere only to return to what we were doing without a second thought. Communication and honesty are paramount to me and I value both highly in my relationships - I'm not about the whole "I'm gonna tell my partner I'm fine but I'm not really fine and I want them to ask about it" bullshit. If you're feeling some kind of way, let's talk about it like adults. No one's perfect and some conversations can be difficult, so if we need some kind of key word or phrase to alert the other we need to have A ConversationTM , let's do that.
I am an open book and will answer just about any question you throw at me. Looking forward to hearing from you :)
(NSFW tag for bot)
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2023.06.03 19:02 Thegreatoutsmores Feeling blindsided- partner completely changed his mind on our career/life trajectory agreement.

Hey y'all,
I've (27, F) been with my boyfriend (31, M)(prior enlisted, in comissioning program) for just over two years now, and we're approaching a time where he's about to commission and take off for TBS, so he'll be away for 6-9+ months depending on his MOS. Things have been serious for a while, and I know before he leaves he's going to ask me to marry him, but before I can make any sort of commitment to him I need to get something off my chest and get advice from people who know this lifestyle.
When we first started dating he was very clear about his commitment to the military, and that he would be in for ~12 more years, moving frequently, deployments, etc. I fully understand this, and agreed that if we committed to each other that we could make it work. To make things fair, he offered that after his military career I would be the one to choose where we move to, and that I could then get to focus on my career (I'm just about to finish my phd). Plus with this timeline we could have kids in a few years, and by the time they'd be school age, he would be out and we could settle in one place. To me, taking on the lion's share of future family responsibilities and being subject to frequent moves is more palatable when there's an end date in mind, and a future I can truly look forward to.
Fast forward to now, I've watched his workaholic nature skyrocket and he's increasingly dedicated to becoming the best (soon to be) officer that he can be- taking on many additional responsibilities and immersing himself in reading. I'm very proud of how much he has learned, how amazing of a leader he is, and I know he has an incredible aptitude for whatever he sets his mind to. Here's the problem: recently, he said that he was thinking about making staying in the military his whole career. record scratch WTF. Essentially meaning that he would be in another 20-30, and in that time I would never get my chance to pick where we live, I would never get the chance to fully prioritize my career, and any family we might have would be subject to moving constantly.
I was shocked when he suggested this, and I voiced that I felt that his staying in for up to 30 more years wasn't what we had agreed upon. His response was basically to shrug it off and say that he has a good mind for this sort of thing. I have a good mind for my career, too - does that give me the right to disregard prior commitments to our relationship to pursue my career?
I'm feeling borderline betrayed, and I have no idea where he gets the idea that this would be okay to do to me. Maybe it's from seeing a lot of his peers (all of them married with families) who have wives who don't really have careers- either working very minimally or not at all to take care of their kids? I understand it works for their families super well and I respect that 100%, but I've been clear from the beginning that that's not who I am, nor the kind of life/relationship I want. I have this sinking feeling that he doesn't respect my goals and wishes in life and that he's expecting me to abandon myself to make this relationship work.
I'm honestly at a loss- is this unusual behavior? Am I overreacting? Has anyone had something like this happen in their relationship, and how did it play out? Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks for reading.
TLDR; My boyfriend is about to commission and completely changed the nature of our agreement for life/career trajectory. Original agreement: he's in for 10 more years, then I get to pick where we settle, and I can focus on my career. His new decision: he stays in for 20-30 years, I have no say in where we go, my career takes the back seat. What do I do with these feelings of betrayal? I feel like he doesn't respect my goals or wishes in life.
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2023.06.03 18:58 Frank_Leroux Molossus, Chapter Sixteen

First Chapter
Chapter Fifteen
“Thank you, Ms. President, and Mr. Secretary-General. It’s my privilege to come and speak to everyone present during such a momentous time in human history. One which, I hope, will lead to a brighter future for us all…”
US President Correa’s boilerplate beginning flowed out as she scanned the room. Behind her rostrum sat a larger dais tiled with green marble, behind which sat the UN President, Secretary-General, and Under-Secretary-General. Two huge screens flanked the dais, and those screens now showed Correa’s face as she continued.
“…and we are committed to our country’s pledge to finding a peaceful and just way for Coalition technology to be incorporated worldwide, and to not attempt any reverse-engineering of our own. Make no mistake; we do not do this out of any sense of altruism or fairness, as pleasant as that may sound. We will hold this pledge sacred for the simple reason that, if the United States were to attempt such efforts the rest of the world would, without a doubt, find out. That, of course, would lead to a great instability.”
‘Great instability’ was diplomatic-speak for ‘the rest of the world then gangs up on the USA and then everything goes to hell’.
“I know there has already been a great deal of debate in this august hall as to the best way to proceed forward, in a fair and impartial manner. We believe that we have found what one might call a ‘trial run’ which will allow us to work out such matters.”
The general murmuring from the many semi-circular rows of desks in front of her increased.
“To begin with, during the first weeks after first contact we wanted to make sure our guests from the Coalition would not starve to death. Much like humanity’s own ships during the Age of Sail, Coalition exploration vessels store enough provisions for years…but such provisions never last. They have very advanced recycling, but mostly for water and even that is only a stop-gap measure. It is unknown even at this time as to how long it will take to repair the Exultant Finger of Rithro, and we did not want to risk the crew running out of food.
“Therefore, we undertook an emergency effort to have their ship’s medic examine various Earth foods to determine their compatibility with our guests’ varied biochemistries. I am pleased to report that there are quite a few Earth foodstuffs which are indeed compatible, although there are some specific items which act as allergens amongst some of the Coalition species. During these efforts, we did learn a bit about how their alien biochemistries work…information which has been duly published and is now openly available. We also began to get glimpses of something wonderful, and asked the Coalition crew for more details. They supplied us with some general ideas of what their medical technology can accomplish; I must emphasize that we do not possess any knowledge of how they can perform such miracles.”
Now the murmuring got quite a bit higher, but not quite to the point where they’d have to call for order.
“Yes, I use the word ‘miracles’ advisedly. For example, take Captain Sadaf. You have all seen her, and how she moves like a person in the prime of their life. Now. What if I told you that she is a little over four hundred years old?”
The murmuring died down into a shocked silence.
“Her species, the auhn, is no more long-lived than we are…but they are able to regenerate and remove the effects of aging. I hope the esteemed ambassadors can see what I am driving at. I propose that we set up a research institute, international in scope, to be placed at a neutral location which is still to be determined. The purpose of that institute will be to study and adapt Coalition medical technology for use in humans.”
Now the murmuring started again; she hoped they were actually listening instead of hatching side-deals with each other.
“You all have families and friends. I’m sure you have at least one family member, one good friend, who died of some horrible and unnecessary affliction. Think of what this means to the world, to us. It is also an excellent way to determine the inevitable issues and frictions which will arise from such a concerted international effort, and that, in turn, will inform our efforts in mutual reverse-engineering of other Coalition technology.
“I know this is, in many ways, a frightening time. Change can be frightening. But I am convinced that you will all know the right way forward, and that you will all see the need for us to unite in this matter, even if others may not be so clear-cut. I thank you for the opportunity to speak.”
As she stepped away from the rostrum, the UN President cleared his throat.
“We will now begin the debate on Madame President Correa’s proposal. Paper copies, with specifics of the proposal, are now being distributed to you all. We’ll now begin the debate period…yes, the gentleman from Portugal…?”
Correa’s Chief of Staff was a shorter, tubby man with an olive complexion by the name of Pablo Rosas. He and Correa sat in a White House conference room, staring at a big screen which now showed the results of the UN vote. “Well, I suppose that went about as well as we could expect,” said Rosas.
“Yep. I was surprised they even agreed with our asking them to kick in some money.”
Rosas chuckled. “Keep in mind that all of this new medical tech will be available for anyone patent-free. Should be air-tight legally, since nobody here on Earth invented it; we’re merely adapting it. I think that was the sweetener we needed to get it passed.”
The president gave a brief nod, then tapped a few keys on the controls in front of her. The screen now showed a world map. “Now we just have to figure out where to put the damn thing without everyone getting butt-mad about it.”
“Hmm.” Rosas laced his fingers over his substantial gut as he regarded the map. “Someplace not ‘the usual’, then.”
Correa growled in frustration. “I keep thinking Switzerland, but I know there’s gonna be a lot of shit flung about that it’s too European-centric. Taiwan would be great; they’ve got both a good tech base and excellent transport infrastructure.”
“But way too controversial, for obvious reasons,” replied Rosas. “Japan?”
“China will, again, kick up a fuss. Huh. New Zealand?”
“That might work. They tend to be more neutral…but then again some might say they’re in too close with Australia, and that this whole effort is too Western-centric.” His eyes flicked back to north on the map. He was about to move his gaze elsewhere, but then he paused. “What about Iceland?”
“Iceland?” Correa almost scoffed, then looked more thoughtfully at the map. “Okay, they’re a NATO member which is a minus. But they tend to remain mostly neutral, which is a plus. Decent transportation infrastructure…don’t we have a naval air base there?”
“I think so, let me check…” Rosas tapped at his phone. “Hey, Jack? What can you tell me about any US naval air bases in Iceland? Just the highlights.” After a couple of minutes, he responded with a curt, “Okay, that’s enough, thanks.”
He put his phone away. “We kinda-sorta have one, at a place called Keflavik. The base there used to be a lot bigger during the Cold War. Then we shut it down after the Soviets were no longer a going concern. Iceland uses it now, and they allow us to fly submarine-search aircraft out of there, but a few years ago they nixed the DOD’s request to rebuild it into a more permanent base.”
“That does work in their favor. It makes for better optics if they’re known for keeping NATO at arm’s length.”
Rosas sat up. “Think the UN will go for it?”
“We can only try. I’ll have our ambassador in Reykjavik make some discreet inquiries, let’s see if they’d be okay with our proposing them as a candidate.”
The Chief of Staff smiled. “If it goes through, this institute will be pumping well north of a billion dollars per year into their economy. That should make it more than ‘okay’.
Agent Cécile Savoie sat in a secure-location breakroom, silently grumbling as she held an as-yet un-drunk mug of coffee in her hands. As the agent-in-charge of the security detail during the Camp David incident, she’d been put on administrative leave, right alongside every other agent who’d been there. But it wasn’t like she had much down time; the inquiry board into that incident now summoned her damn near every other day for yet another round of tedious questioning.
“Hey,” said Hanson as he strolled in, looking just as sour as she felt.
She looked up in surprise. “Hey yourself. I thought you were assigned to the alien detail.”
“I was,” he said as he seated himself across the circular table from her. “Guess being in Alabama when the shitshow went down wasn’t far enough away to be completely out of suspicion. I just finished running my own gauntlet. But the rumor is, I’m getting it easy compared to everyone who was at Camp David, including the special forces people. Especially you.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty much a colonoscopy every day,” she muttered. “Going over the timeline, where I was at which times, who I had direct line of sight on, who I was in radio contact with.” She finally sipped her coffee.
Hanson’s sour expression deepened. “Do you really think it was one of us?”
She sighed. “It has to be. My gut tells me that there’s more than one mole and I told the inquiry board as much. The fuckers who got in knew too much about our patrol patterns, where everyone was, when they’d have a clear shot at an infil. That means someone with access to our methods and comms, and as to the latter we don’t use CB radios.”
The other agent leaned back. “Fuck. I wish I knew why any of us would do that. We’re supposed to be quiet professionals, not frothing radicals.”
Savoie turned the mug in her hands. “Not to tell tales out of school but, through the whisper network, they’ve been leaning hard on the captured dudes from the attack. Apparently one of their main ‘objections’,” and here she made some one-handed air quotes, “is that they think the whole Breaker thing is a ruse. It’s all smoke and mirrors, so that we’ll beg the Coalition to come and save us. And then…well, it gets vague after that but I guess they claim that at best we’ll get turned into the galactic equivalent of a Native American reservation. Worst case, we all get harvested for our precious bodily fluids.”
Hanson stared at her for a moment in disbelief. “That is, if you will forgive the uncouth term, utterly retarded. For chrissake, the Hubble got some beautiful shots of their ship once they’d spun that shield around to reveal it to us. I mean, I’m no spacecraft expert but even I could tell it had gotten the shit pounded out of it.”
She responded with a shrug. “Hey, Flat Earthers are still a thing.”
“Flat Earthers don’t stage FUCKING mortar attacks in our nation’s capital,” snapped Hanson. Then he subsided and spoke more softly. “Sorry, I shouldn’t be so on edge. This whole thing just pisses me off.”
“Join the club,” said Savoie as she sipped more coffee. “I just don’t get it, though.”
Hanson made a gentle ‘continue’ wave of his hand.
She leaned forward. “Okay. Our comrades in the CIA managed to identify the four who made it into the compound. They were all mercenaries, each with at least ten or fifteen years of experience in kicking ass around some of the worst hot spots in the world. Syria, Burma, bunch of places in Africa. One of ‘em even turned out to be ex-Wagner group.”
“Okay?” It was a leading single-word question, but not an unkind one.
“So why was the rest of the attack made up of nothing but a bunch of goddamn shit-kickers? And that includes the aborted attempt in Decatur. I’ve seen the files of those we rounded up in the Camp David attack. They were all low-life idiots just banging around, maybe they might have once held a gun in their lives. Hell, from what I’ve heard, the shootings that triggered the alarm at Camp David were an accident; those intruders were supposed to sneak around that patrol, not kill them. They all had the same top-of-the-line kit, so we know whoever is behind this has deep pockets. Why not hire an entire bunch of competent people instead of doing it onesy-twoseys?”
“It is a puzzle.” Hanson got up and set a styrofoam cup of water into the nearby microwave. As the cup turned within its electromagnetic prison, he leaned against the nearby counter and pondered her question. “Maybe the team in the woods was intended just as a distraction?”
“That’s what I thought at first, but then I reconsidered. I mean, what if the four who went in failed? You’d still need a proper backup plan. Same thing with the Decatur bunch. By the way, did they ever catch them?”
Hanson let out a dark chuckle. “Decatur PD found a pile of vests and rifles, hastily wiped down. They were able to pull a few partial prints off of ‘em. My guess is they’ve fled to the proverbial four winds, hoping to lay low for the rest of their lives. We’ll nab ‘em eventually.”
The microwave dinged and he retrieved his hot water, then pulled a tea bag out of his jacket pocket as he re-seated himself.
Savoie smiled. “I never figured you for a tea guy.”
He unwrapped the bag and with a bit of ceremony dunked it into his cup. “Well, I used to be a coffee guy, but my gut doesn’t agree with the acidity.”
“We do have tea here, you know.” She pointed to the storage bins behind him.
“Yeah, but it’s cheap-ass stuff. The brand I like is expensive, but worth it…” Hanson’s eyes widened as he trailed off.
She raised an eyebrow. “Hanson? Do you smell burnt toast?”
“They couldn’t afford it,” he said in a near-whisper.
Savoie was about to tell him to stop being overly dramatic, then she realized he might be on to something and that she didn’t dare distract him. “Keep talking.”
He leaned forward, his forearms on the table. “Okay. Imagine you’re a hard-bitten mercenary. You’ve been in the literal shit, in every nasty conflict anyone cares to name. Somehow, someone finds you and comes to you. They say ‘hey, these aliens are bad news, do you want to kill them?’ Even if you, as the hypothetical mercenary, are down with the cause…”
“From what the intruders were yelling, they were,” said Savoie.
“Yeah but even then, our mystery financier is asking you to infil and exfil out of one of the most heavily guarded pieces of real estate on the planet. Oh, and kill a bunch of special-forces-maybe and aliens-definitely in between. What do you do then?”
She replied with a grim smile. “If I’m that mercenary, then I ask for a metric fuck-ton of money. And there were four of them, they would have all done the same. Hell, they must have been doing collective bargaining.”
Hanson dunked his tea bag as he thought it through. “Okay, so our mystery mastermind has a lot of money, but not billions on hand to hire a literal army of hard cases. Huh. So those other dipshits might indeed have been a distraction.”
“Maybe. They must have also spent quite a bit on the mortar attack. That wasn’t made by some hobbyist in their bedroom, they knew what they were doing. Given that nobody saw them set up the launcher or leave, they were more pro.” Savoie hoped that the FBI’s efforts to track the various mortar components turned up something soon. Thus far, those efforts were bogged down; as it turned out, quite a few companies had ordered the identified components, and tracking the subsequent second-hand purchases was time-consuming.
“And those mortar-making pros would be more expensive.” Hanson sipped a bit of tea. “Did they ever get anything off of the launcher itself?”
“Sadly, no. Turns out the whole damned thing was homemade, constructed out of tubing and other off-the-shelf components. It was also wiped down thoroughly, no prints. Like I said, pros.”
“But limited in resources,” said Hanson. “Which explains one of the things that’s bugged me. Namely, that our OPFOR didn’t use some proper artillery. If they have a couple of moles in the Secret Service, then it should be easy to recruit and pay some military dudes to slip ‘em some gear and alter the logs. They could stow a howitzer inside a semi-tractor-trailer. You could park that thing anywhere up to 25 miles away. Use a single 155mm Excalibur GPS-guided munition, boom. That would have pretty much obliterated the stage and everyone on it. Then you just re-stow the howitzer and toodle off all innocent-like, right when everyone is freaking the hell out.”
“So they couldn’t afford that type of arty strike,” she said. “Or they simply didn’t have the contacts to pull that off. Hmm. I wonder if our moles are getting paid at all?”
Hanson resumed his thousand-yard stare. “The mortar attack must have been planned first. The other two attacks feel much more like rush jobs.”
“Eh? Oh, I get it. Sadaf’s speech was known well in advance. It was going to be one of her first big public appearances since the initial presidential speech. They were broadcasting it online to the world. Having her get turned into chunky red salsa, in real time, would be one helluva statement. So that’s what they focused on.” She drank a bit more coffee, and now it was time for her eyes to widen. “Our mole or moles didn’t arrive at Camp David until after Sadaf’s speech was announced.”
“That…oh, yeah, that makes sense. Originally the mortar attack is the OPFORs’ only focus, but yet somehow they’ve suborned one or two Secret Service agents and they have ‘em in their back pocket. Then one, or better yet both, of the moles gets assigned to the Camp David detail, and they realize that now that they have a golden opportunity to get at the other aliens as well. So they go off and hire four pros for the actual attack inside, plus a bunch of chucklefucks to act as a distraction, because that’s all they can afford since the four pros are asking for some serious money.”
Savoie leaned forward. “When did Chao and Grakosh leave Camp David?”
“It was, ah, three? No, four days after we got everyone settled, both the aliens and the special forces types.”
“Okay, so then the OPFOR gets word, courtesy of our moles, that one of the aliens is now heading to Alabama. But now they’re stretched so thin that they can’t afford anything other than to hire another bunch of dipshits to make a run at them and hope for the best.”
“And then the second bunch lets the FNG drive.”
They both laughed, but that humor settled down as they both thought through the chain of inference.
“It is pretty thin,” said Savoie at last. “There’s a lot of assumptions in there.”
“Yeah. But I do like the idea of our moles getting assigned at the last minute.”
She rubbed her forehead. “We had a bunch of new people come in when they decided to stow the Rithro crew there. Seven, no eight in all.”
“It’s a place to start,” said Hanson. He finished his tea. “C’mon, let’s see if we can get a meeting with the inquiry board.”
A little while later and not very far away, three people sat in a well-lit but otherwise deadly dull room. At least the chairs were somewhat comfortable. Matt and Martinez sat at two chairs against one wall, while across from them McCoy sat sprawled sideways on another with a foul look on her face. She glowered at the far beige-painted wall. “This completely sucks. Why can’t we have our phones? I could at least play some mahjong.”
“This is a secure location, Corporal,” replied Matt. “Ixnay on the onephays.”
Martinez’s leg jittered. “How long are we gonna sit here? They said they’d call us in, like, an hour ago!”
“Dunno, it’s some kind of last-minute interview thing,” replied Matt with Zen-like calm.
The corporal looked over at Matt. “I don’t get you, man.”
Matt grinned. “Nobody gets me. I’m like the wind, baby!”
“That’s not…I mean, I watched you open up a dude like he was a bag of fuckin’ Doritos using nothing but a fuckin’ knife. Now you’re being all Caine from ‘Kung Fu’.”
“It’s good to know that the classics are still appreciated,” said Matt.
Martinez pointed at him. “If you start calling me ‘Grasshopper’ I will shoot you.”
McCoy turned her glare to the ceiling. “Maybe it’s a psychological test. They want to see if we crack under pressure and start yakking secrets.”
“I mean, I’m sure they’re recording us right now,” replied Matt. “But it’s merely as a precaution. I am also five-nines certain that none of us are suspects. We weren’t integrated into the compound’s overall security, and thus it would be unlikely that we could have let our four attackers in.”
“Not to mention, we were the ones to kill ‘em,” added Martinez. “Well, except for the one that Takh took care of.”
“Yep. This is…I won’t call it a formality, but the board just wants to know where you were and what you saw. Walk them through your personal timelines, understand? Tell them only what you know. If you don’t know something, then say so.”
McCoy turned herself around so that she now sprawled the other way. “This whole bullshit just bugs me. Takh and the others are off with a bunch of strangers and I…I mean, we aren't there to help protect them.”
Matt and Martinez shared a meaningful glance. “From what I heard, Takh is quite capable of taking care of himself,” said the latter with a grin. “You told me he pitched that one dude across the room like he was throwing a softball.”
For once, the petite corporal looked a bit flustered. “Yeah, but, I mean, what if some other potential bad guy gets the drop on him with a gun? I don’t like not being there. I just wanna know that he’s okay. I should be there, just to make sure.”
The smaller man snapped his fingers in the face of the taller, who sighed and took out his wallet. With great ceremony, Matt pulled out a five-dollar bill and placed it upon the now-upraised palm of Martinez.
“Told ya,” said Martinez with a grin.
She sat up and glared at them both. “That doesn’t mean anything! Takh is a good guy!”
“Nobody said he wasn’t,” replied Matt as he stowed his wallet. “He is indeed a good guy.”
“Yeah, seriously, we’re glad you two hooked up,” added Martinez. “Takh’s solid. Hell, I’d let him date my sister.”
“I. Am. Not. Hooked Up. With ANYONE.” McCoy now looked furious enough to chew nails.
Martinez stroked his chin. “Kissing might be a problem, though.”
Matt performed a similar chin-stroking action. “Hmm, indeed, Corporal, I do believe it might be a serious issue. One has all of those mandibles to contend with.” He hooked his fingers next to his mouth in an approximation of an udhyr’s face. “Still, I think that, with enough will and effort, one could figure it out. Like the man said, life finds a way.”
“But how much tongue is he packing?” posed Martinez. “You know what the man also says. Big dude, big tongue. Could make things more interesting, all around.”
The woman did not look amused. “Martinez, Toke? You are now both officially gigantic flatulating assholes.”
“C’mon, McCoy!” protested Martinez. “Think of it this way. A few years from now, let’s say we filthy humans are now part of the Coalition and I’m at some meet ‘n greet, and I just so happen to spy me an oh-so-very-fiiine udhyr mamacita from across the room. Now, I wanna do my bit for my species and approach her, and get some good old inter-species cultural interaction going on. But there’s all sorts of questions. How do I compliment her without insulting her culture? How am I supposed to get in good with her? How do the mechanics work? How do the various bits line up? We need details! You’re at the tip of the spear, we all need good intel!”
McCoy slumped back into her seat. “Over seven hundred billion Dimmadollars of defense spending, and yet somehow I wind up stuck in a room with you two fuckos…oh, by the way, Toke,” she added, pointing a finger at Matt, “why the hell can you and Sarge never go back to Okinawa?”
“Nice distraction, McCoy,” said Martinez. “My guess is some sort of wet-work shit.”
Matt just smiled. “Oh for fuck’s sake, I don’t kill everyone I meet. I was a Second LT at the time, managed to somehow leapfrog my way into officer ranks all the way from enlisted. Anyways, the Okinawa affair was merely a case of, well, one particular case of rye whiskey. The good sergeant…was he a sergeant then? Oh yeah, we had done some other stuff I can’t tell you about in someplace I can’t tell you where, and we were celebrating Shaw getting his third stripe. We’d got ahold of the previously-mentioned case of whiskey and then we began toasting to each other’s good health. We did a lot of toasting. Quite a lot of toasting. As you can imagine, the toasting went on and on until we, um, well we did some unwise things. It started out with us sparring-for-fun with each other in public and escalated from there. No locals were harmed, and nothing we did was hella illegal, or I would’ve never made Captain. Buuut the local government would definitely throw a shitfit if me or, God forbid, both of us set foot back on the island.” He chuckled. “Hell, the Okinawan customs people probably still have both of our pictures taped up inside their booths with a big old sign saying ‘DO NOT ADMIT THIS PERSON, YOU FOOL’ written above them.”
“What did you do?” asked Martinez. His eyes were big and soulful, like a kid asking for yet one more story before bedtime.
Matt shrugged. “I mean, I don’t remember much for obvious reasons. I’m almost sure we didn’t piss on any monuments, that would have definitely been cause for a serious demotion. We did do a number on some shrubbery, that I do remember. We decided it needed to be trimmed back, and so we did so. Using our bare hands. Seemed like a good idea at the time.”
A fearsome light came into McCoy’s eyes. “Martinez, do you know what this means?”
He looked at her all uncertain. “Um, Toke and Sarge have cast-iron livers?”
“No, you fool. Blackmail material.”
Matt pointed back at her. “Hey, now, I told you that in confidence. Besides, Shaw has a lot more to contend with right now.”
The reminder of the sergeant’s current crippled state brought the elevated atmosphere of the room back down. McCoy nodded as her smile faded. “Right. Hey, did you see the Prez’s speech at the UN?”
“Yep,” said Matt. “From what I’ve read, the political wrangling after it seems pretty tame compared to the usual.”
Martinez snorted. “No shit. Did either of you see the laundry list of shit that we might be able to do? Anti-aging, limb regrowth, cancer treatments which work well and which don’t half-kill the patient…hell, maybe even Alzheimer’s could be in our rear-view mirror. The grand high muckity-mucks are falling all over themselves to get that out into the world, for themselves if nobody else.”
“You’re way too cynical, Martinez,” said Matt.
“Oh fuck off. What if…okay, I know this sounds like a cheesy sci-fi concept, but what if they hoard all of the good shit for themselves and we peons get just the crumbs?”
Matt lapsed back into his meditative demeanor. “In that case, my dear corporal, you or I or McCoy or someone like us will show those hypothetical elites that, while they are indeed long-lived, they are not in fact immortal.”
The trio fell into silence for a few minutes. Then Martinez leaned over towards Matt. “Ah, a little birdie told me you were involved in questioning the prisoners we nabbed at Camp David.”
“I merely facilitated certain conversations,” replied Matt.
Martinez sighed. “What the fuck does that mean?”
“Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies…Corporal.”
McCoy let out a growl. “Well, I heard these terrorist assholes are saying that the Breakers aren’t real, that it’s all fake videos from the Coalition.”
“Just to play devil’s advocate,” said Matt, “our AI image and video generation is already getting to the point where, soon, we puny humans could manufacture such evidence.”
“What?” Martinez looked as if he was about to launch himself at Matt.
Matt held up a calming hand. “I’m not saying it is fake. The Hubble pics are damned convincing.”
Martinez hiked up one foot to place it on his seat, then rested his chin on his knee. “Fuck. I guess it didn’t convince everyone.” He mused for a few moments. “Wait. What if we made it even more convincing?”
“How?” asked Matt.
“We send some humans up to the Rithro. Two or three at least. The boats can still make it up to the ship, right?”
For once Matt looked uncertain. “I think so? Dunno how many times they can come and go without recharging, we’ll have to ask ‘em.”
“Right, so we set up an even better publicity stunt than the Hubble pics. Choose a few people, from all over the world. We have ‘em travel up to the Rithro, take pics and video up close showing the damage. Even take ‘em inside the ship and get a full tour, maybe…if the crew is okay with that, of course.”
“Huh.” Matt sat back and pondered the idea. “That’s a really good idea, Martinez. I guess you aren’t as dumb as you look.”
The corporal responded with a slight smile at the verbal jab. “We’d need to choose the right people, though.”
“They’d have to be trustworthy…or at least someone that the entire world will consider trustworthy,” said Matt.
“Well known,” added McCoy. She no longer looked vengeful. “With recognizable faces and voices, and then they can go on all the talk shows after and say that, yes indeed, I got a tour of the ship and it is indeed quite banged up.”
Martinez stared at the far wall. “Some kind of celebrity? Heh. You think Tom Cruise would be up for it?”
Matt laughed. “That beautiful maniac? Hell, he’d insist on shooting an entire movie up there, with at least one action scene where he’s hanging off of the outside of the ship.”
They all smiled at the resulting mental image.
“Chao could work,” said McCoy into the silence. “She’s kind of a celebrity now. After all, she was the first human to come into contact with aliens, eh?” She gave Matt a big and very un-subtle wink.
To skirt the rather…unconventional methods used to achieve a positive First Contact, Matt’s role had been very much demoted in the official story. Now every recounting of the tale included a bit of ‘…oh, and there was also another person who stumbled across our brave woman in the midst of her attempts at informational exchange with the aliens…” His exact identity was also not published, under the screen of ‘he wishes to remain anonymous’.
“Oh bite me, McCoy, it’s fun,” replied Matt. He waggled his eyebrows. “Besides, I work better in the shadows!” He threw his forearm across his face like a half-assed Count Dracula trying to hide behind his cape.
Then he dropped his arm. “Yeah, Chao would be good as a current social-media darling. Of course, she might not want that. She strikes me as more of the wallflower type, for the most part.”
“We need more people,” said Martinez, as he stared at the floor. “Chao might be good on her own, but she’s got that motor-mouth talking thing when you get her going. It’s one or the other. Either she’s trying to shrink into a corner and take up as little space as possible, or suddenly you’re getting pulled into another corner for a doctoral dissertation on how minimal-energy transfer-orbits work.”
Matt pondered for a moment. “Wait, when did she do that? I never sat through one of those lectures.”
Martinez looked away and…well, Matt hoped that their supposed overlords were indeed recording this particular moment in time because the hard-bitten Hispanic special-forces corporal actually blushed.
McCoy, of course, realized a golden opportunity for payback and immediately pounced. “Why, Corporal Martinez,” she purred. “Doooo tell us. When did Chao Me Chu, heh, pull you into a corner? Hmmm?”
“She’s…she’s just real nice, that’s all,” replied Martinez. “I asked her a couple of questions, and she answered them. That’s all. We both love classic sci-fi, like Asimov and shit. I guess we bonded over that.”
Matt cleared his throat. “Aaaaand may I remind you two and everyone listening in that we have all been cooped up nuts-to-butts for awhile? Don’t mistake familiarity for romantic bullshit.” He pointed over at Martinez. “But you. If you can follow at least half of what she talks about, then you are absolutely without-a-single-fucking-doubt wasted as a corporal, even if you’re in a low-drag high-speed outfit like this. You hear me?”
“Um, yes sir.” It was the first time in McCoy’s memory that anyone had addressed Matt as befitting his perhaps-former rank.
“Good. You get your ass into college, somehow. You’re a smart guy, you’ll figure all that shit out. And as for Chao? Just give it room to breathe. Let her know you’re interested, but don’t press the matter.”
“Let her know?” For once Martinez looked completely lost. “How do I…” he trailed off. “I mean, I like her…and yeah, I mean I like her in that way, but she’s so damn smart and pretty and I’m just some dipshit meathead.”
“Hey, don’t sell yourself short,” said Matt. “You’re our dipshit meathead.”
McCoy’s vengeful smile faded. “Martinez…no, Luca.”
Martinez looked up in surprise at her use of his first name.
She continued. “Just talk to her. Neither of you have any clue as to what ‘normal’ social interactions look like. In your case, it’s because you’ve been a soldier for all of your adult life. In her case, it’s because she’s, well, because she’s Chao. So just walk up to her and be straightforward. Trust me, it’ll be like a breath of fresh air for her to not have to navigate social cues. Just say something like ‘Hey, I really like you, do you like me and do you want to go get a coffee sometime’? Start with that. Chao’s good people, the worst thing she’ll do is say no. She won’t yell at you or talk shit about you online. Buuuut, some sixth sense is telling me she won’t say no to getting some coffee with ya.”
Matt smiled. “McCoy, I think you might have a calling after you leave the military.”
She snorted. “Oh yeah, I’ll hang up my match-making shingle on the internet and start raking in the big bucks. Martinez is right, though. If we try to do a publicity stunt up at the Rithro, then we’ll need somebody alongside Chao to win the world over. Somebody well-known, but preferably someone not in the traditional Western pop-culture sphere. That’ll make it more palatable…”
Her voice trailed off and she stared into space. The two men now looked at each other in genuine concern until she spoke again a few moments later.
“Guys? I think I just had the best idea ever.”
submitted by Frank_Leroux to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 18:57 rune_officixl type me please

• How old are you? What's your gender? Give us a general description of yourself.
I am 18 years old and nonbinary (agenderflux to be specific).
• Is there a medical diagnosis that may impact your mental stability somehow?
Yes, a lot of them so I'm just going to list them here. - Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - ADHD (Inattentive Type) - Social Anxiety - Moderate Depressive Episode (although I no longer agree with this diagnosis) - Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) - suspected Tourettes Syndrome - Complex PTSD - Maladaptive Daydreaming - Mixed Personality Disorder (including Borderline, Narcissistic, Dependent, Avoidant) - suspected OSDD1 or DID
Some of these are professionally diagnosed, others have been self diagnosed based on a lot of research and self analysis, as I currently do not have access to professional help and that likely won't change within the next years.
• Describe your upbringing. Did it have any kind of religious or structured influence? How did you respond to it?
My upbringing was not the best. I experienced emotional abuse from my mother from a very young age on, others say that there was physical abuse as well but I don't remember any of that. My father seemed very absent during my childhood. He is chronically ill, therefore he had alot of problems to tackle besides his family. I grew up relatively poor, although my parents attempted to not let me notice, they cut short on their own needs in order to always be able to fulfill the children's physical needs. Obviously they couldn't shield me from the facts forever, around the age of 10 I would notice how other kids in my age would have way more expensive things, etc. There is no religious background in my family. I was raised agnostic-atheist, but would not have been shamed for choosing to follow a religion. As a child my day was clearly structured: set meal times, a (forced) time to rest after lunch, set bed times. I would not always agree with them but not adhering to the rules would only bring me negative consequences so I eventually went along with it. The older I got, the more I enforced my own structures, as the pre-existing ones made my life harder, and at some point my mother also couldn't justify some of her rules anymore, considering I wasn't a young child anymore.
• What do you do as a job or as a career (if you have one)? Do you like it? Why or why not?
I am currently a tax consultant assistant in training and I quite like it. Obviously there are parts of it that I would rather avoid, such as interacting with clients, but the longer I am in this job, the less this aspect makes me want to quit it (although it fluctuates, depending on my mental state every day). My favorite part of my job is accounting, I am good with numbers and like tasks that don't require me to learn new laws every year (which is why after my apprenticeship I will probably ditch the tax part and focus on becoming an accountant. Obviously there's still things that change over the years, but not as many).
• If you had to spend an entire weekend by yourself, how would you feel? Would you feel lonely or refreshed?
It depends on whether I have something I'm interested in available for interaction, and on my mental state. Obviously, if I get depressed out of nowhere or suffer from an episode of anhedonia, I will not enjoy myself. Usually I will enjoy a weekend in solitude as long as I am busy with things I like. I like meeting my friends as well, but sometimes I lack the energy or motivation to meet them so I won't do it. Let's say that in 50% of the cases I would feel refreshed.
• What kinds of activities do you prefer? Do you like, and are you good at sports? Do you enjoy any other outdoor or indoor activities?
I don't like and am not good at sports. If I don't have to do them, that's good because I am everything except fit. I like taking walks, sometimes, when the weather is nice. Indoors I will usually be on my phone or at my computer, consuming media that interests me (usually video games or movies/tv shows). I also like to read, but lately I haven't had the energy to focus on reading. My favorite genres in media are Sci-Fi, fantasy, action and psychological horrothrillers.
• How curious are you? Do you have more ideas then you can execute? What are your curiosities about? What are your ideas about - is it environmental or conceptual, and can you please elaborate?
I am curious about quite a few things. My special interest is mental illness, specifically personality disorders and dissociative disorders. Not their history etc., but how exactly they affect people living with them, and their many different presentations. I am very curious about things concerning my special interest and hyperfixations (which are currently the video game Phasmophobia and the psychological horror show Generation Loss). What I am also curious about are moral and in general philosophical questions, as well as questions around consciousness (among other things connected to lucid dreaming) and what makes a person themselves.
• Would you enjoy taking on a leadership position? Do you think you would be good at it? What would your leadership style be?
I am unsure about this one. If everything went according to plan, maybe, but only if I wasn't the one making the plan on my own. I need people to reflect on the plan with, so I don't make fatal mistakes. My leadership style would most likely be a democracy, as I can't see myself enforcing my ideas at the cost of people's suffering. I may be self centered but with this many people's wellbeing at stake, I will not compromise my morals. I usually only compromise my morals around people I don't like.
• Are you coordinated? Why do you feel as if you are or are not? Do you enjoy working with your hands in some form? Describe your activity?
I have dyspraxia, so not really. Especially bigger movements are hard to coordinate for me, smaller ones are easier. It sometimes feels like the connection between my brain and the rest of my body is severed, because I see others do with ease what I struggle to do.
• Are you artistic? If yes, describe your art? If you are not particular artistic but can appreciate art please likewise describe what forums of art you enjoy. Please explain your answer.
I would call myself semi-artistic. I don't paint or draw, instead I feel very attuned to music and sound in general. I compose music, usually orchestral pieces. Added to that, I have also been into poetry for a while and I have written quite a few poems of my own. I enjoy all kinds of art, as long as I can give it a meaning (or it already has one that I agree with). Some of my friends write poetry or create digital art, I enjoy seeing these, as well as I enjoy music. The art I like the most is the one that makes me stop and think. The one that has a twisted meaning and can be interpreted in many different ways.
• What's your opinion about the past, present, and future? How do you deal with them?
The past just kind of happened. Positive experiences are easily forgotten, negative ones tend to stick around. There is no way to change it, and I don't know if I'm actually really dealing with it or if I'm just detaching from it. My memory is also pretty bad so I tend to forget a lot of what happens, therefore there is no time to deal with it and to process it. The present is something I don't feel all too connected to. It is happening around me and obviously I interact with it, but most of the time I feel distanced from it. Maybe 10% of the time I actually feel connected to what I am doing, saying, feeling, etc.. The future is scary. I would prefer to avoid it because things could always get worse than they already are. The future holds challenges that I don't feel equipped for. I take measures to avoid it, if possible, else I distract myself from it so I don't have to think about it. I think it's kinda noticable that I am a very avoidant and detached person.
• How do you act when others request your help to do something (anything)? If you would decide to help them, why would you do so?
It depends on who the other person is and if they pissed me off, or if I'm otherwise occupied. For example I will likely refuse to help my mother or sisters, especially if they pissed me off. However as soon as I am around people I can't be an asshole towards, I will swallow my pride and help to maintain my image of being a good person. There's people I don't want to lose and they can't know how I treat people I wouldn't care about losing (not as in I wouldn't care if they died, but I wouldn't care if they hated me. Obviously I would care about how they treat me when they hate me, but that's a different issue). I will usually help people I like, and I might help old people in public with stuff sometimes but I prefer to let others help, as usually I don't consider myself capable enough to help.
• Do you need logical consistency in your life?
Yes, I'd say so. If people do or say things that don't make sense/add up, and expect me to go along with them, it can drive me insane and I will not be able to function properly in such an environment. I try to make sense of everything that happens (to me), I dislike things I can't explain.
• How important is efficiency and productivity to you?
It's somewhat important to me, if the thing that is being done benefits me. If not, I myself might be lazy, inefficient and not productive. It also bothers me when other people do things inefficiently and then complain about the results. I feel better when I'm productive, but I don't like putting in the effort for it.
• Do you control others, even if indirectly? How and why do you do that?
Probably. I mean, everyone does to an extend. Action/reaction. People react to things in certain ways and you can use that in order to get what you need/want. Obviously I will not walk around attempting to emotionally manipulate people, but I will most definitely use what I've been given to my best in order to have my needs fulfilled. I recognize patterns in people and use them to my advantage and sometimes for example lead conservations in the direction I want them to go. I also control people in other ways, such as attempts at direct control (but only within my family). I will directly voice what I want or what bothers me and argue with them about it, with the expectation of them giving in. It doesn't really work, but it's an attempt.
• What are your hobbies? Why do you like them?
My hobbies include singing, playing video games, watching movies/tv shows, composing music and talking about philosophy or psychology. I like them because, well, I like them. I can't quite explain it better. They make me happy.
• What is your learning style? What kind of learning environments do you struggle with most? Why do you like/struggle with these learning styles? Do you prefer classes involving memorization, logic, creativity, or your physical senses?
My learning style is hyperfocus, I guess. I learn things the best when I'm fully interested and focused on them. However, if that isn't the case, I usually learn best by memorizing visuals to the point where I can recall them from my brain during exams. This has saved me quite a few exams by now. Memorization, logic, that's how I learn. I am also a visual learner, despite everything I thought in middle school (I used to claim that I wasn't a visual learner just so I didn't have to add pictures to my presentations. Had no success with that). I believe that the learning style I struggle the most with is creativity. If a teacher was to introduce a new topic and told me to creatively present it, I would probably be quite overwhelmed. But it also depends on the topic and the classmates around me. I might also be good at learning with my physical senses. You can only really grasp the essence of something if you have touched it, analyzed its mechanics yourself instead of just reading about it.
• How good are you at strategizing? Do you easily break up projects into manageable tasks? Or do you have a tendency to wing projects and improvise as you go?
I am not all too good at strategizing and used to be someone who would improvise projects as I go, but I am currently trying to learn to properly plan my projects. Especially in my job it is essential to be on top of your tasks.
• What are your aspirations in life, professionally and personally?
Professionally I want to become an accountant, preferably for a well paying company. However, I also have the dream of being a famous musician, basically living on stage and having everyone absolutely admiring me and also feeling inspired by the music I create. Personally I aspire to be someone people look up to and say "dude. They made it. Despite all of their struggles, they made it". I don't want to be a role model, but instead an inspiration for others. I also really want to heal from my trauma and mental illness and experience true happiness. I want to feel fulfilled when I die, like there is nothing I missed out on.
• What are your fears? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you hate? Why?
I fear a lot of things. I fear the unknown because of what it could hold. I fear failure because of how other people would see me. I fear making the wrong decisions because of how my life could worsen with no way to fix it. I fear being alone with no one to watch out for me because I don't think I could take care of myself. I fear other people because of how they could attack me, verbally and physically, for making mistakes, not fitting the norm, etc.. I fear the death of my loved ones because one, I cannot imagine a life without them and two, I am scared that I will move on too quickly and that feels immoral to me. I fear confrontation with anyone except my family because I feel like asking for consideration of my own needs hurts the ones I care about and am confronting, and I fear that they might leave because of it. I am uncomfortable with tons of stuff, from being confronted with my fears down to the am smallest possible issues like kids screaming, or similar stuff. I hate it when people don't see the obvious. Doesn't matter if they are incapable of seeing it or if they are ignoring it on purpose. I also hate it when people (my family) refuse to acknowledge my personal needs but expect me to acknowledge theirs.
• What do the "highs" in your life look like?
I don't know if it counts as a "high" if it lasts an hour at maximum. But those highs usually look like exciting days with friends, or me listening to really good music.
• What do the "lows" in your life look like?
During my "lows" I will usually have little to no energy, so I might lay in bed all day without eating or drinking much, unable to do something else except mindlessly scrolling on my phone to escape the dread in my mind. They tend to last longer than the "highs" do, but also tend to be ended by one of them.
• How attached are you to reality? Do you daydream often, or do you pay attention to what's around you? If you do daydream, are you aware of your surroundings while you do so?
I mean, I have maladaptive daydreaming. I have been daydreaming 50% of my life since I was a little child. And as I mentioned in the question about the past, present and future: I usually feel very detached or distanced from reality. Most of the time I am semi-aware of my surroundings when I daydream, I may even implement my surroundings. I will usually be able to quickly snap out of a daydream and react to reality, if needed.
• Imagine you are alone in a blank, empty room. There is nothing for you to do and no one to talk to. What do you think about?
I might think about any options I have to try and get out of it. Eventually I would give up and start thinking about my life, the good and the bad things, the people who might be worrying about me and I might feel sorry for making them worry. Part of the time I would use to daydream but eventually I would run out of ideas.
• How long do you take to make an important decision? And do you change your mind once you've made it?
It takes me a lot of time to make important decisions. Usually I make my choice last minute, as it is very hard to determine your future without knowing 100% of the consequences. I may change my mind very often about a decision, but not always. Sometimes I just go along with them afterwards.
• How long do you take to process your emotions? How important are emotions in your life?
I barely process my emotions. They overcome me, overwhelm me and then leave. I detach from them before I can process them. Emotions are somewhat important in my life, but they often hinder me from what I actually have to do so I don't have the best relation to them. However, I like inducing emotions on purpose by listening to certain music, etc., then I will 100% enjoy them.
• Do you ever catch yourself agreeing with others just to appease them and keep the conversation going? How often? Why?
Yes, usually around people I like and at work. These are people who I cannot disappoint or they might leave me or harm me otherwise. I do it all the time.
• Do you break rules often? Do you think authority should be challenged, or that they know better? If you do break rules, why?
I don't break rules often. I used to, as a child, but that was because the rules of my mother were way too strict and didn't allow me to be the child that I was. Most of the time I didn't even break them on purpose, but instead couldn't comprehend them because they didn't make sense to me. Authority should be questioned and challenged if needed. They definitely don't know better. They're only humans, such as you and I. Just because they happen to hold a lot of power over the general population doesn't mean that they know better. Power corrupts, which is why I very much mean towards challenging authority. However I don't do it myself, as it would put me into an unsafe situation.
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2023.06.03 18:56 Spirited-Manager5230 need help with snchider skink

hi about 2.5 weeks ago I bought a snchider skink from underground reptiles and I did avid research and have him in a 20L [pictured below]. he did not eat for the first week but since then I have been tong feeding him super worms [ dusted with cal and reptive] and I am going to try to get him on a salad and the bluey buffet [any tips on how to get him to eat that]. the first week and a half he stayed buried except for the occasional bask and is now frequently comes out In the morning to bask and eat. he seems to be aways trying to escape and is scratching at the glass and is climbing to the screen lid. I have been trying to tame this fella but he is still kinda scared. he will let me pet him while he is eating and sometimes when he is basking but after a pet or two on the head he kind Dosent seem like he is enjoying it and will sometimes hide [I have tried the nerd method of putting my hand face down in the tank ect]. just today was the first time I had his entire body climb up my arm but as soon as he was 3 inches away From the tank he jumped and ran hiding himself behind a canine I got him back in the tank and he has not come out since. [ when he ran he looked like his life was about to end]. I also am wondering if he needs a different tank another skink or what because I was expecting him to be like the dog of all skinks a come out to me and climb on my head ect. he Dosent appear to have mites but I can't tell if this is scale rot or not [ pic below]. if he dose need a bigger tank any recommendations [ without breaking the bank] and if he dose need a buddy where can I find a captive bred. thanks
tank parameters
substrate 3/4 eco earth 1/4 playsand
light 10.0 usb zoomed and 50 w basking bulb
80 f average temp and like 50% humidity
is bio active with springtails and soon to be isopods
his poop looks normal
and he shed once so far with no prob
tank he basks most of the time on his rock that is around 100f
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2023.06.03 18:56 tqthrownaway The hardest part about change is believing that you can.

I have never aligned with who I’ve become. I’ve always wanted better for myself and I’ve always wanted to prove people wrong. I knew I wasn’t the narratives placed upon me by the hurt adults around me who bled their trauma on me. Despite knowing this and wanting this, I never had the tools to be this. I survived in a low structure/low emotion household. On top of that I was ridiculed for not being what I like to refer to as “a self cleaning oven”. I was shamed for not automatically knowing how to do things. I was expected to figure out life on my own and I was ridiculed for trying. There was no room for growth, so there was none. Despite, that fire in me never died. I am still not where I want to be at 27. Actually I’m very far from it, but at the same time I am the closest I’ve ever been to it. Crazy enough it’s hard for me to compute that. I still expect perfection. I still get mad at myself for not being that person RIGHT NOW. Those unrealistic expectations from my childhood still haunt me. I wrestle with “I’m just not who I thought I am” constantly as I was often to “You’re just not that kind of person to be able to do XYZ”. That still hurts me. Why tell a child that? Repeatedly? I’m lazy, stupid. I would get ridiculed for laughing because I looked “goofy”. Ouch. Kid can’t even laugh. I’m still here through the suicidal ideation, the self sabotage, the infrequent ups and the very recognizable downs. I’m still trying. The hardest part of change is believing that you can. Even when you fuck up for the 153749th time. That it still matters to 13 year old me, 19 year old me, it still matters to 23 year old me, and it matters now.
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2023.06.03 18:54 RedDevil_Forever [Post Match Quotes] Ten Hag: "We are broken. Disappointed of course. It is tough, I am proud of my team but we conceded two soft goals. Both goals are avoidable." "This team showed resilience, character and personality. We know we have a way to go but this will make us better"

Erik ten Hag

Ten Hag: "We are broken. Disappointed of course. It is tough, I am proud of my team but we conceded two soft goals. Both goals are avoidable."
Erik ten Hag: "It hurts, you can feel it in your stomach."
Ten Hag: "I have only one plan. That is to improve this club."
Ten Hag: "I think we are the only team in the world capable of fighting back against this City"
Ten Hag: "First of all I want to congratulate City. I think it was very narrow, head to head, very competitive. Good organisation, didn't allow them a goal from open play. We fought back after quick goal down, I think we are the only team in the world who could fight back."
Ten Hag on De Gea: "In this moment I don't want to talk about criticism, we played a fantastic season. If you consider City before today had 42 wins. The difference was made today (United have 41 wins). I am really happy with the performance from my team."
Ten Hag on De Gea kicking: "Say it like this, we are in the right direction but there are issues in the game we have to improve, definitely, if we want to make next step + win trophies."
Ten Hag on watching City lift trophy with team: "First of all, show respect always. Then of course motivation, feel in stomach, it hurts, it's fuel. We want to be there. My players deserve it but you have to grab it, that is the next step."
Ten Hag on takeover: "In this moment I don't want to discuss that. It is about finalising the season, we have to be quiet, analyse, go in depth, set right conclusions, then take action."
Erik Ten Hag told me on talkSPORThe was pleased MUFC did not fold after conceding after 13 seconds. Cited MCFC away and LFC 7-0 as a mark of how far they have come mentally.
I asked if De Gea could have done better with the 2nd He said 'now is not the time to criticise.'

'This will make us better'

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, speaking to BBC One: "We are broken, disappointed of course, but I said I am proud of my team. We did very well, we conceded two soft goals but we were in the game. There was a great spirit and very good organisation.
"They were tough goals, they were so soft and avoidable. When you play aaginst City and you don't concede almost nothing from open play it is a big credit for the team but if you concede goals like this it is disappointing.
"This team showed resiliance, character and personality. We know we have a way to go but this will make us better. It was a test for us, we didn't succeed but we can take a lot of positives into next season."

Bruno Fernandes

'We've made big steps'

Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes, speaking to BBC One:
"Everyone is down and it's really difficult. We wanted to end the season in a different way but it wasn't possible.
"We've made big steps for next season, it wasn't a successful season overall but it was a good one. We have come back next season and try to win bigger trophies."
On conceding early: "We came back into the game, we started badly but came back into it and had good spells on the ball in the first half.
"After we scored, we had some good counters but didn't score. We conceded early in the second half and then still had other chances but we didn't and City deserved the win.
"We were too soft and gave up too much space for the first goal but it's an amazing strike. If players are tighter then maybe they can stop it but it's an amazing strike.
"He's [Gundogan] an amazing player and one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.
"Our fans have been great all season and they deserved a different result today. We're disappointed that we couldn't give fans the joy they deserve.
"We are grateful for everything they have done this season. I promise we will come and try again next season."

Roy Keane

Roy Keane: “They need a new goalkeeper and world class striker, I’m sick of saying it.” [ITV]

Peter Schmeichel

'Future looks bright'

Today is tough to take, you get to Wembley and don't win - that's tough.
The season has been really good, though. Think back to the first two games of the season and it didn't look great but United have won a trophy and finishing third.
He's taken away 10 years of uncertainty and the future looks really bright.

Peter Schmeichel on De Gea: “He should have done better. I was very surprised that it went in [City second goal]. He isn’t following the game.”

Pep Guardiola

Guardiola: 'The better team won. We were humble enough to accept how good they are and we did it.'
Pep Guardiola: "It was the best way to start a final."

'Now we can talk about the Treble'

Pep Guardiola, speaking to BBC One:
"We can now talk about the Treble. Of course we still have to win the Champions League. We performed so well for our city and our fans.
"They follow man to man so tight and we didn't expect them to defend so narrow. We found more spaces in the second half.
"Tomorrow and the next day they can have off. We've then got three or four sessions to train for Inter Milan. We'll travel on Thursday morning after training.
"It was so important for us today. The FA Cup is so nice.
"I'm a Barcelona fan but I will love this club for the rest of my life. I know today we gave our fans a good gift to enjoy against our neighbours."
On Ilkay Gundogan: "What a season he has had. The skills are there but he also had the mentality. He plays the big games like they are friendlies, he can cope with the pressure."
On John Stones: "Incredible player. He's played so well lately and has given the opportunity to play in this certain way. All of the guys were amazing.
"Stones has the quality to pass the ball and he can arrive into the attacking positions to control the play."

Jack Grealish

'It's stuff you dream of'

Manchester City midfielder Jack Grealish, speaking to BBC One:
"Unbelievable. It's stuff you dream of when you're a little kid. I was desperate to win one at Villa and now I've done it.
"I don't even think it's a penalty. I wasn't even looking at it, I turned and it hit my arm but Gundogan saved me.
"The best thing about this team is we have a mix of everything. Everyone is confident, we've got older more experienced lads and the younger lads are learning too.
"We'll have a good night tonight and then straight back at it on Sunday and Monday for a big game next week."
Will you celebrate tonight? "Course I am. I don't win an FA Cup every week so I'm going to enjoy it. Straight back to training and recovery tomorrow. I love this club, the players and the staff."

Quotes via BBC
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2023.06.03 18:53 The_Alloquist [A Lord of Death] - Chapter 55 (Efrain)

[←Chapter 54] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 56→]
The silence that hung over the tent was absolute, with only the slight wind in the bows breaking it up. Naia sat with the faintest of smiles tugging at his lips.
“And what, exactly, is that meant to imply?” he said, the smile coming out in full.
“Plainly, then - it’s foolhardy to send your most valuable assets into the fire with an under equipped force,” said Efrain, his patience with this game already up.
“Yes, it must,” Naia said, “alas, the mystery of the church is not to be readily questioned, especially if one wants to reach a position of understanding it.”
‘It was an open secret among those in higher society’ Efrain translated.
“Then why you?” he said, “you hardly seem like an uninformed man.”
“Allow me to divulge a little secret, Efrain, though it must not go outside this tent,” said Naia, “originally, the crusade was to be lead by a lesser noble’s son, who, I unfortunately must say, is not in the favour of society at the moment.”
‘It was doomed from the start so they elected to kill two birds with one stone.’
“And yet, here we are,” said Efrain.
“Indeed. Me and mine saw it for the honour it was. Frankly I was shocked that nobody else did.”
“I see. A lapse of judgement among nobles? I’d never thought I’d see the day.”
“Far be it from me to speak ill of the administrators of our great society. Their duties keep them quite busy. As for my superiors, how could they not take notice? The church was asking for armed men, afterall.”
“And out of all the people they could’ve sent, they sent the young commander with ‘unorthodox’ recruits.”
“Why, they thought it was a great way to prove myself, as did I.”
“It must be hard,” said Efrain, “getting such a difficult job assigned to you.”
“I do what I must, though, I must admit this has had its fair share of headaches. Wonderful surprises too.”
Efrain stopped for a moment, to consider the conclusion that all of this pointed to. It was something so large, so at odds with everything he understood about the church, that it seemed almost impossible. But he had to be sure, absolutely sure that they were on the same page.
He put up his hand onto the table, and felt magic return to him. It was stronger, more definite than before, almost… wilder. Pushing that sensation aside, he remembered crowded inns and temples, the clamour of people, all fading into the background. The air around the pair shimmered ever so slightly, and Naia blinked.
“What did you just do?” he said, looking around.
“Nothing major. Stay in close, or it’ll break. Our conversation will be just a little less intelligible for prying ears.”
“Ah. Useful,” said the captain, nodding in appreciation.
“Hardly,” Efrain said, “anyone with any knowhow could break this with ease. I hope you don’t have another secret mage hiding in your retinue who’d listen in.”
“I’d be surprised,” said Naia.
“Very well,” Efrain said, leaning forward and preparing to drop the axe, “so, why is the church so eager to get rid of its oh-so-special Bequeathed?”
The silence returned once more, slightly distorted through the muffling charm Efrain had cast.
“You’re certain that this,” Naia said, waving around them, “is intact?”
“Quite. Answer the question, commander,” he said, “perhaps they’re not as valuable as I was led to believe.”
Naia sat for a few moments, mulling over the blunt truth, then took a deep breath.
“They are valuable. Incredibly so. They are living, breathing symbols of the faith, but that’s not all.”
Efrain nodded, waiting for the captain to continue.
“If half the stories of their battle prowess is true, then they are golden military assets. Though they haven’t been used as such for a very long time.”
“Ah,” Efrain said, as the pieces began to fall into place, “so that’s why they sent you.”
“I may or may not have been selected for this reason,” he said, the smile more dry than knowing.
“And if anything went wrong, if the precious Bequeathed came back with all these strange ideas about the church, they could blame the unorthodoxy of the commander.”
Something twisted in Naia’s smile - Efrain had touched on something painful.
“Precisely,” he said, “although I would like to believe that they chose me because they knew I’d avoid doing things so crudely.”
“So, they want you to… what, drive a wedge between the Bequeathed and the church? Subtly, of course.”
“You know, I was planning to tell you this all after you agreed to join me,” Naia said flatly.
“Ha!” Efrain said, “age and experience, young man.”
“Clearly,” Naia said, spreading his arms in defeat, “so, I stand before you, uncloaked. What do you think?”
“I think that there would be at least one member of the church disguised in your retinue, no?”
Naia’s smile grew cold and thin at the mention.
“The man wouldn’t listen to reason. We counselled him to stick with our company, but he had other, more pious ideas about wandering in the wild forest.”
Efrain nodded - he hadn’t really expected anything else.
“And what about the paladins, do they suspect anything?” he said, sitting back.
“Lillian is of high birth. I don’t doubt she hasn’t heard something that might make her suspicious. Niche might’ve but he’s… well stupid would be a disservice to both of them. Niche is certainly more naive than Lillian. As for Sphernt, she’s vanished, but, of course, you wouldn’t know her.”
“Another paladin?” Efrain groaned, trying to drive home the exasperation to cover him.
“Indeed, and far less pleasant than the others,” Naia laughed, “I know, a charming prospect. She was bullheaded, refused to listen or wait, so I sent her on ahead. As far as I know she’s buried under a snowdrift somewhere. We were going to search for her, but Aya’s finding threw everything into disarray, even her fraternity dropped it.”
Efrain almost let out an audible sigh of relief, but he managed to catch himself at the last moment.
“Well, in any case that makes your ultimate job easier, if you so choose to join me,” Naia said.
“Hold up,” said Efrain, “let me guess. You can’t act because questioning the authority of the church would compromise your personal position, as well as make the children suspicious. Given that I am potentially the most unorthodox person you could employ, you would use me to get to the children, and then foist the blame on me if anything went wrong.”
“Phrased it better than I could,” Naia said.
“Well, I can certainly see the appeal,” Efrain said dryly, “but what makes you think I would agree to that? Say, hypothetically, I went all the way to the silver city with you. You suddenly blame me for corrupting the children, then its my head.”
“A fair point, but consider - I am so close to being outcast that I need you, and if the children spoke out in your defence, they might well eclipse my influence. In addition, who would it reflect badly on if I did so? That would only worsen my position by leaps and bounds.”
“Fine,” Efrain said, “so what role did you have for me?”
“Oh that? Simple. You’ve been doing it already by most accounts,” Naia said, “teach them magic.”
Efrain stopped to consider it for a moment - no doubt he’d been briefed in full after the church incident. The fact that Naia hadn’t executed the mage for that alone spoke volumes to his intentions.
“And if, if, I were to take you up on this offer, well, first off, how far would this arrangement go? Secondly, how would I get around the paladins? I imagine they’ll be hostile.”
“That would be your job. From the sound of it, you’ve already got Aya on your side. Arrange meetings, teach her subtly - I’m sure someone of your ‘age and experience’ could figure something out. As for how long, if you have no desire to come to Angorrah, why not until we set sail? That should give you ample time.”
“And what’s in it for me, then?” he said, “Seems that I’m taking an awful lot of risk for simple promises.”
“What, a prospective general as a friend is not enough?” laughed Naia.
“Prospective. I’m not inclined to weigh reward on the whims of other unknown people,” Efrain snorted.
“A reasonable concern, though it’s only a week or two of work for a potential lifetime of benefits.”
“Granted. And what are you to say if I did not find the prospect of using children as pieces appealing?”
Naia arched an eyebrow at this, but the smile remained.
“This is the world we live in. In a way, if they should happen to throw their lot in with us, as it were, they’ll be getting a better life. The army is not quick to dispose of such valuable tools, unlike the more capricious elements of the church. They would not have to live by scripture and ceremony.”
“By throwing them at enemies, until they’re spent?” Efrain said.
The silence in the tent took on another character, something colder and heavier.
“You’ve said your knowledge of Angorrah was out-of-date. Do you know what they did to bring the merchant cities of the coast in line?”
Efrain shook his head.
“It’s quite simple. The palaces of Ennen’alla? Smokey marble with brass accents. Beautiful, beautiful buildings. Angorrah chose them to be their examples - now they’re little more than ruins and dust. From the other cities, rather than go to war, they offered up noble children as wards. I’m sure you can imagine; Hundreds, thousands of days, living under suspended sentences? A sword hanging over your head, waiting, begging to fall, based on the slightest provocation you have no control over.”
“This is supposed to be a positive comparison?”
“The Bequeathed, whether or not they and their guardians realise it, are living under the exact same sentence. Welcoming them back into the church might delay it for a time. The military is ruthless, I won’t deny, but it’s interested in service. Which is better? That the children are a pawn of the faith, used in political games across the continent, liable to be sent to a bitter end based on whim? Or, they live a tough but honoured life, and, in time, might rise to see the power and freedom to dictate their own destiny through generalship?”
“I can see why they sent you, commander,” Efrain said, “you’ve got quite the tongue.”
“I offer simple truths in pretty prose, that’s all,” Naia said, “if you want to look out for their wellbeing, then it might be best you align with me anyways. As for other rewards, I’m a commander, which comes with privileges. If you want gold or valuables, I can probably get them with time. Access to influence, knowledge? Those are easy enough, with the right friends, which I’ve made a point of making. All this potential for a few days of work, Efrain.”
The cloth rustled slightly in the breeze.
“And I’ll be free to go, alive, unharmed, not immediately killed for knowing your secret?” Efrain said.
Efrain examined the man’s face in depth, noting the lines that gave away his age. The dark hair with just a hint of blue mingling with the black, although whether that was dye or somehow natural he could barely guess. It was a dangerous gambit, predicated on the word of a man who by his own confession was willing to murder and scheme to get what he wanted. Still, he couldn’t deny the sway of the promise - a general of Angorrah who owed him a personal favour, that would be a very potent tool indeed.
This was again, assuming the man kept any kind of faith, which Efrain had mixed evidence to show for it. Still, if he was only going as far as the port, that would be fairly safe, or so he hoped. Maybe perhaps, if he could gain some trust with the paladins, play them off eachother…
This was getting too complicated for his taste, and the dangers of a company of soldiers around him didn’t sweeten things. Still, there was also the commandment of the River, and he was interested in the children and their talents. If Naia spoke the truth of its word, then there could be very good reasons for him to work with the commander. Then again, it’d also warned Innie of his death should he pursue this course, maybe this offer was that threat recast.
“Well?” said Naia.
There was nothing for it, Efrain surmised, at least until Karkos.
“It’s a deal. I’ll do what I can, until you sail,” Efrain said, holding out his hand and shaking it with Naia in the Karkosian fashion.
“Good. I would lay out the mission and your role, but you’ve guessed all you need to know already. This all stays between us and no one else, not even my captains. On pain of death, Efrain.”
“Understood, commander,” said Efrain, fully conscious of the irony.
“As for a method of approach,” Naia said, “the paladins have taken charge of much of the children’s education. However, I’m sure I could come up with an excuse to educate them on something. Maths, perhaps, or military history. We might be able to arrange them to have time away from the paladins.”
“So you want me to teach them the arts,” Efrain said, “and so doing, shake the foundations of the church.”
“More or less,” Naia chuckled, “you should return and recover your strength. Your companion was quite worried.”
“Oh really?” Efrain said, dispelling the charm, and leaving the tent.
He walked back to the circle of waggons he’d found himself in not twenty minutes ago, reflecting on the conversation he’d had. When he made it back to the one he’d slept in, he heard the sounds of voices within the canvas. Peaking in, he found Aya sitting before Innie, chatting away.
“I see you two have become good friends,” he said as he clambered in.
“Oh!” she said, “friends? I don’t know. Maybe not friends.”
“Stop teasing her and sit down Efrain,” Innie said.
“Fine, fine,” Efrain said, lowering himself onto the wooden slats.
“Now, as I was saying dear, “ Innie continued, “the talent of ‘seeing’ magic is much more about feeling it than actually using your eyes. You could use your ears, or nose, or tongue for that matter. It’s about the communication, much less about how you receive it.”
“You mean people can taste magic?” Aya giggled with a note of awe.
“Taste, and hear, and smell. More attuned beasts use their nose, like with everything. Humans tend to use their eyes, hence they tend to ‘see’ magic. Well, with some exceptions.”
Innie turned judgemental eyes to Efrain.
“I was a beginner,” Efrain said, “besides, I quickly grew out of it.”
“Why?” Aya said, “what is he talking about?”
“This one,” Innie said with relish, “started smelling when I first taught him.”
“That’s true?” Aya said, eyes wide, but with an amused smile creeping onto her face, “what does magic smell like?”
“Alright, you’ve had your fun,” said Efrain, “it can smell like many things. It depends on the magic, it depends on the wielder. I ran into a fire wyrm once and everything smelled like burnt flesh for days after. Magic stinks for better or worse.”
“That was about the time you switched over to seeing. I guess you learned your lesson,” Innie said.
“But that’s not all magic can convey. Sensory information is but a pittance. More complex things, emotions, moods, entire concepts can be compressed into magic. The language we spoke to the trees in the pourjava’s hollow? You can express much more with magic, much faster, than with mere language alone.”
“The language you spoke in the-”
“Tematek, a kind of template, a mould which magic creatures developed various dialects from. Most magical creatures with the intellect to speak a language will speak Tematek or some variant of it.”
“So does that mean we’re speaking it right now?” she said, the whites of her eyes shining in the dim light.
“No, I speak human tongues as well,” said Innie, “the process of learning Tematek is a long one. You’ll simply learn how to see this way.”
“Could I learn it?”
Oh, this is too easy, Efrain thought, hearing Naia's voice echo about ‘opportunities’ falling into laps.
“You certainly could. It would be as hard as learning any other language however. And there’s the fact your paladin guardians are rather… possessive of you.”
“Well, they’re not here right now, I checked,” she said, and Efrain thought he saw a glimmer of pride at the deception, “they’re sleeping. Niche tried to keep watch but sleep caught up.”
“So, you’re saying you want to go behind the back of the church’s representatives to practise magic. The penalty for which could be death,” he said flatly, “that’s an impressive commitment.”
“That’s all they’ve said for the past few days,” she said without pause, “‘magic is dangerous’, ‘mages aren’t to be trusted’, ‘the Lost this’. Maybe they’re right.”
“And yet here you are.”
She nodded.
“They took me away from my home, my family. I don’t know anyone here, I don’t know what they’re planning for me. If I trusted you, would I be going on more than trusting them?”
Efrain chuckled.
“No, I suppose not,” he said, “although I think I do have one advantage.”
“Your mother asked me to take care of you, if I could,” Efrain said, “I met her, before I ran into your group.”
To the girl’s credit, she held her expression, though the explosion of shock in her eyes were unmistakable, as well as the quiver in her jaw.
“You-you did? Is she- is she alright?”
Efrain paused. Maybe it was an old kindness that stirred below lost memories. Maybe it was mere self-interest, to pursue a relationship by putting the girl at ease.
“I’m sure she’s fine,” he lied, “but, we’d best get started, before your minders get up.”
[←Chapter 54] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 56→]
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2023.06.03 18:53 airysuit I (29F) found out my boyfriend (27M) has joined some local femboy discord servers recently

I (29F) found out my boyfriend (27M) has joined some local femboy discord servers recently
I (29F) found out my boyfriend (27M) has joined some local femboy discord servers recently
Sorry for any bad English, it’s not my first language. Also sorry for the wall of text.
Some backstory first. We have been together for 1 year and 2 months, and we are very committed. Next month we will move to another country for a year, this will be the first time we move in with each other as well. He is the one that really wanted to live in that country for a while, and although I'm looking forward to that, it has also been hard to say goodbye to my family, friends, my current home and job. Because of that I have felt more need for extra reassurance of our relationship, and a little bit more insecure (I already had some insecurity and anxiety issues).
The last few months I have had a feeling something was a bit off with him, I asked about it multiple times but he said everything was fine. The feeling kept gnawing, and the other day he left is laptop and discord open, and I did something very bad and looked through some of his messages because I had the paranoid idea he might be talking to someone else. I didn't find such messages, but I did find some welcoming bots to (local) Femboy discord severs. I already knew he was pansexual so the fact that he is into femboys isn't that surprising. But I do feel very hurt because of two things:
FIRST: I have a very high libido and am very sexual, he is not. In the beginning this resulted in some extra insecurities because I thought he might not be that attracted to me. We talked it out and I realized it is nothing personal, he just said he isn't that sexual. But now I feel hurt because I'm afraid he might be into a type that I am totally am not. I'm kind of a full figured tomboy girl, not resembling a femboy at all.
He also doesn't like me to send nudes or erotic pics (i like sending nudes), but now I am finding watching other peoples who tend to live nearby we live right now.
I also always used to ask if there was anything I could do for him to make sex more fun or satisfying for him, or if he had any fantasies he wanted to share but he said there were none. So now I'm wondering if he had been lying and hiding this sexual preference from me, and that is why he doesn't want to have sex a lot with me (around 1 time per week).
SECOND problem is, is that we are very exclusive, he himself doesn't like for me to flirt or seek out boys online, and I don't like for him to talk flirty/sexually to boys/girls online as well. But in those servers he very specifically states he is non binary (never told or hinted to me about that either) and that he is into femboys, without saying he is currently in a relationship. I just don't feel that it fits our agreement around cheating/talking to other people regarding sexual preferences.
But honestly I don't know whether I should worry about this being dishonest, or is it just some sexual thing he doesn't wanna share, but isn't necessarily something he wants to pursue in real life.
I just feel sad he didn't share this with me when he knows how important enjoying sex and sexual fantasies together is for me. Also it kinda feels like he is crossing boundaries because he is looking at pics from people nearby and interacting with them, so not even random people far away on the internet.
I know what I did by snooping is very wrong and I feel very guilty about invading his privacy, especially if he just wants to keep his sexual preferences to himself. I am going to apologize for that and accept he will be mad and feel betrayed by it. I am just very hurt and sad that he didn't share this with me and is actively hiding it from me. Our relationship has been great besides that, we communicate a lot, also about my insecurities, so i just didn't expect him to hide such a thing from me. Especially because he always presses me to talk about everything and not hide anything from him.
So like I don’t even know where to go from here. Thoughts? Advice?
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2023.06.03 18:52 TopDurian5515 Christianity influence on the formation of America and how it was and still is fundamental in The United States of America.

Christian ideas, values, and symbols played a significant role. This explores the ways in which Christianity influenced the FORMATION of the United States, shaping its political landscape, guiding the writing of foundational documents, and inspiring the principles that continue to define the nation. It explores the movements it has affected afterward and how it has continued to be an INTEGRAL part of our country
Christian Ideas in the Founding Documents
Christianity's influence on the formation of the United States is evident in the principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The concept of natural rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, can be traced back to Christian beliefs regarding the inherent dignity and worth of every individual as created by God. These ideas formed the basis for the assertion of human rights and equality, providing a moral framework for the American Revolution and the subsequent nation-building process.
Moral Foundation of Governance
Christianity also played a crucial role in shaping the moral foundation of the American political system. The framers of the Constitution, many of whom were influenced by Christian values, sought to establish a government that would safeguard individual liberties while promoting justice and the common good. The belief in the fallen nature of humanity, as taught by Christianity, informed their understanding of the need for checks and balances, the separation of powers, and the importance of a virtuous citizenry for the preservation of liberty.
Religious Freedom and Pluralism
One of the core principles that emerged from the formation of the United States was religious freedom, a concept deeply rooted in Christian thought. The early settlers, seeking to escape religious persecution, sought a society where individuals could freely practice their faith. The First Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom, reflects the influence of Christianity in recognizing the importance of allowing diverse religious beliefs and practices to flourish.
Christian Rhetoric and Symbolism
Throughout the formation of the United States, Christian rhetoric and symbolism played a significant role in inspiring and mobilizing the population. Many of the Founding Fathers, such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, incorporated religious language and references to God in their speeches and writings. Christian imagery, such as the use of biblical references and the adoption of the motto "In God We Trust," can be found in national symbols, monuments, and official documents, emphasizing the nation's Christian heritage.
Ethical Foundation for Society
Christianity provided an ethical foundation for the formation of the United States, influencing societal norms and values. The teachings of Jesus, promoting love, compassion, justice, and selflessness, resonated with the aspirations of the American people. These values were reflected in early American social reforms, including the abolition of slavery, the temperance movement, and the fight for women's rights, all of which were motivated by Christian ideals of equality, justice, and human dignity.
Christianity has also played a pivotal role in inspiring and driving social reform movements throughout the history of the United States. The teachings and values of Christianity have motivated individuals and communities to address social injustices, promote equality, and advocate for the marginalized. This report delves into the ways in which Christianity has influenced social reform in the United States, focusing on the abolitionist movement, the temperance movement, and the fight for women's suffrage.
The Abolitionist Movement
The abolitionist movement, which sought to end slavery in the United States, was profoundly influenced by Christian ideals and values. Many of the prominent abolitionist leaders, such as William Wilberforce and Frederick Douglass, were motivated by their Christian faith to challenge the institution of slavery. Christian teachings on the equality and worth of every human being, as well as the principles of justice and compassion, were central to their arguments against slavery. The Underground Railroad, a network of individuals who assisted enslaved people in their escape to freedom, often operated with the support of Christian communities and churches.
The Temperance Movement
The temperance movement, aimed at reducing or eliminating the consumption of alcohol, also drew inspiration from Christian principles. Supporters of temperance believed that alcohol consumption led to societal ills, such as domestic violence, poverty, and moral degradation. Christian groups, such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), led by figures like Frances Willard, promoted temperance as a means of promoting personal and social morality. Their efforts to combat the detrimental effects of alcohol on individuals and families played a significant role in the eventual passage of Prohibition in the United States.
Women's Suffrage Movement
The fight for women's suffrage, advocating for women's right to vote and equal political participation, was intertwined with Christian values of justice, equality, and human dignity. Many suffragists, such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, found motivation in their religious beliefs to challenge gender discrimination and demand equal rights for women. They argued that the principles of Christianity should extend to all aspects of society, including political representation. Christian women's organizations, such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union, provided a platform for suffragists to mobilize and advocate for women's suffrage.
Social Gospel Movement
The Social Gospel movement, which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, sought to apply Christian principles to social issues and promote social justice. Influential figures like Walter Rauschenbusch and Jane Addams were at the forefront of this movement, emphasizing the moral responsibility of Christians to address poverty, inequality, and labor exploitation. The Social Gospel movement called for reforms in areas such as worker's rights, education, healthcare, and urban living conditions, aiming to create a more just and equitable society.
Pro-life Movement
The Pro-Life movement stands as another significant social reform movement in the United States influenced by Christianity. Rooted in Christian beliefs about the sanctity of human life, the Pro-Life movement advocates for the protection of unborn children and challenges the legality and morality of abortion. The Pro-Life movement finds its foundation in Christian beliefs and values that prioritize the sacredness and dignity of human life from conception. The Pro-Life movement intersects with various social issues influenced by Christian principles, including discussions on the sanctity of life, reproductive rights, and bioethics. These intersections have led to broader conversations on topics such as euthanasia, assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research, and genetic engineering, all of which touch upon questions of human dignity, the value of life, and the ethical boundaries of medical interventions.
(there's a whole paper I could write on the moral effects of Christianity across the nation and the disintegration of them but that would make this too long, which it already is lol)
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond, I appreciate it.
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2023.06.03 18:51 dragonkii How to change avatar in Reddit?

Is this a real life? Is this just fantasy Callibg a land slide No escape from reality
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2023.06.03 18:50 ToUnderstandTheWorld 24M [friendship] let's share our hearts and minds into the late hours

isn't it astonishing how much the weight of the relatively few words i put on this page are? a microcosm of myself is shared, yet somehow it is enough. it is enough for someone else out there to read and recognize me, in no less than a profound sense.
i want you to know that i come from an earnestly compassionate and kindhearted place. i want to share everything coming from this place inside me by default, and seek people who are the same way, prioritizing emotional safety. i like sharp, compassionate souls who know how much violence it took to become this gentle, those who have walked through hell, have made it to the other side, and therefore would go to the ends of the earth for one another, knowing how sacred true connection is.
for me, friendship is an intimate experience. friends eventually become family to me. we hold each other close, we share anything about ourselves together sensitively, and we are always there for one another. so far, i have made my longest term friendships from people whom i have met online and i now even live with one of them after knowing them for six years. it's been a blast. i tend to relate to outsiders, those who are insightful, people who see society as an obstacle or something one has to deal with. if you happen to be interested in something i know little about, do not fret, because i'd love to learn all about it if we really "click" in how we are the way we are. my mind is tickled in the most fulfilling way when i come across someone who is unabashedly themselves and clearly displays a great capacity for critical thinking and inner growth, and sees through the external systems which attempt to propagandize and control us all. i've noticed a trend that those who i've connected with so far probably don't have much redeemable biological family, have some combination of childhood trauma and autism, and don't really "fit in" anywhere - and we see none of these things as bad, for we are just different, and this has enabled us to accept ourselves, for we just have our own view and experience of the world which has ultimately led to contentment. we have realized we do not really need much except one another and our own little projects to be happy, having done away with the usual expectations and pressures of society. we are in many ways eccentrics who float along the outskirts of society, making our own adventures together, engaging and sharing our intellectual interests, and support one another in all our needs and life's goals. each day i feel an increase in the amount i feel fulfilled having gone down my own path.
for me, friendship is built. i would like to build a solid foundation for friendship that allows us to feel happy and lifted to our tippy toes each time we interact with one another. while there was always this sort of intangible, instantaneous recognition of one another which has been almost immediately apparent with everyone i have come to know for a long time, i understand there is a lot to learn about one another to fill in the cracks and begin to really get each other's communication styles and particular individual modes of operating, about which i am patient. this is something i look forward to, as well. there is nothing that i am not interested in about you if i like you. i would like to reach a level of openness and acceptance with one another that brings true fulfillment. i want to grow with you, learn from you, and share our perspectives on life. i have a quite dialectical approach, that there are many things that are "true" and therefore everyone's perspective provides a valuable angle which we are able to incorporate to synthesize a greater mutual understanding, which would, of course, enrich our connection and interaction.
if it matters, some of my "interests" in the colloquial sense are philosophy, spirituality, self improvement, the singularity, books and cats, mathematics, nature, and any good films and shows (shoutout to Vinland Saga right now!). again, i do not like to be prescriptive about interests because it's your person that matters to me, not whatever you happen to be into. if we are a match, then for me, anything you do will be interesting, and i will therefore be keen on interacting.
so, tell me a bit about yourself and i look forward to chatting!
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2023.06.03 18:50 ToUnderstandTheWorld 24M let's share our hearts and minds into the late hours

isn't it astonishing how much the weight of the relatively few words i put on this page are? a microcosm of myself is shared, yet somehow it is enough. it is enough for someone else out there to read and recognize me, in no less than a profound sense.
i want you to know that i come from an earnestly compassionate and kindhearted place. i want to share everything coming from this place inside me by default, and seek people who are the same way, prioritizing emotional safety. i like sharp, compassionate souls who know how much violence it took to become this gentle, those who have walked through hell, have made it to the other side, and therefore would go to the ends of the earth for one another, knowing how sacred true connection is.
for me, friendship is an intimate experience. friends eventually become family to me. we hold each other close, we share anything about ourselves together sensitively, and we are always there for one another. so far, i have made my longest term friendships from people whom i have met online and i now even live with one of them after knowing them for six years. it's been a blast. i tend to relate to outsiders, those who are insightful, people who see society as an obstacle or something one has to deal with. if you happen to be interested in something i know little about, do not fret, because i'd love to learn all about it if we really "click" in how we are the way we are. my mind is tickled in the most fulfilling way when i come across someone who is unabashedly themselves and clearly displays a great capacity for critical thinking and inner growth, and sees through the external systems which attempt to propagandize and control us all. i've noticed a trend that those who i've connected with so far probably don't have much redeemable biological family, have some combination of childhood trauma and autism, and don't really "fit in" anywhere - and we see none of these things as bad, for we are just different, and this has enabled us to accept ourselves, for we just have our own view and experience of the world which has ultimately led to contentment. we have realized we do not really need much except one another and our own little projects to be happy, having done away with the usual expectations and pressures of society. we are in many ways eccentrics who float along the outskirts of society, making our own adventures together, engaging and sharing our intellectual interests, and support one another in all our needs and life's goals. each day i feel an increase in the amount i feel fulfilled having gone down my own path.
for me, friendship is built. i would like to build a solid foundation for friendship that allows us to feel happy and lifted to our tippy toes each time we interact with one another. while there was always this sort of intangible, instantaneous recognition of one another which has been almost immediately apparent with everyone i have come to know for a long time, i understand there is a lot to learn about one another to fill in the cracks and begin to really get each other's communication styles and particular individual modes of operating, about which i am patient. this is something i look forward to, as well. there is nothing that i am not interested in about you if i like you. i would like to reach a level of openness and acceptance with one another that brings true fulfillment. i want to grow with you, learn from you, and share our perspectives on life. i have a quite dialectical approach, that there are many things that are "true" and therefore everyone's perspective provides a valuable angle which we are able to incorporate to synthesize a greater mutual understanding, which would, of course, enrich our connection and interaction.
if it matters, some of my "interests" in the colloquial sense are philosophy, spirituality, self improvement, the singularity, books and cats, mathematics, nature, and any good films and shows (shoutout to Vinland Saga right now!). again, i do not like to be prescriptive about interests because it's your person that matters to me, not whatever you happen to be into. if we are a match, then for me, anything you do will be interesting, and i will therefore be keen on interacting.
so, tell me a bit about yourself and i look forward to chatting!
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