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Similar Deviations
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Much as the Victorians would never have envisioned the coming of the Martians, none outside of the Timecasters had any notion of what was impending; and the Flux knew this. They planned accordingly, for this was a war of proxies. In their eyes, they imagined that the Temporians were much as they were; a parasite, a symbiote attached to a larger entity. So as the Immortal Empire hosted the Ascendancy, the logic went, so worked the Temporians through the Dark City Imperium. In their eyes, this was akin to a brush war, though a brush war that was rapidly escalating into something else. With their name spreading in the galactic far east, the Ascendancy felt an increasing calling to a more compelling sort of action; it was only through the petitions of Dassus, who himself was urged on by the hopes and fears of the Union of World’s emperor, that had prevented Dorin from conducting a suicidal charge of extermination across an unaware galaxy.

With Dorin’s—oh. Apologies. You haven’t gotten that far yet. It is poor form on my part to spoil the story before you live through it. Before she lives through it. For a soul so driven as hers, she deserves your pity. In her eyes, she is a rag doll trying to be an iron lady, and she is rapidly seeing herself fall into league with the Czar Nicholas IIs and the Tojo Hidekis, and she is feeling her own purpose slipping through her fingers. Shaw will not be kind in his benevolence to her, though even he will not see the full scale repercussions of his choice until—

I talk too much, and much is unsaid. My work of late has been…complicated. Strange turns of course are natural enough and expectable for ministers of fate, but this has been…particularly peculiar. Our paths naturally wind about and converge in strange and fluid ways, but of late all things seem strangely fortuitous. Even death, in turn, seems to have been to my benefit.

--oOo—

I could hear them. The first sense to return to me was my hearing, and I could hear them talking. Slowly I open my eyes, and…oh. I can’t see. It burns a little, the movement of my eyelids over the torn and bloodied pulp that was once eyes. I can see, in a sense; a mash of reds and purples, but nothing more than that. I’m blind. I repeat the phrase to myself a few times before I am calm again; blindness is only a setback. I can still defeat—

…Shaw.

And then I remember. Being chased through the cemetery after a night in hell, watching the dead rise and the soldiers come and having my eyes torn out by that despicable chaw. He probably thinks he can use that mask, the irony there will be delicious, but Shaw…

…and I remember preparing to fight him. Shaw. He came. He was there, he was there and I could at long last end this long and grueling quest. I’ve shoved a god into the corners of my mind, been hunted across vast distances of space, buried myself alive and had my eyes torn from me upon rising. I would accept all of that, if I could only end that monster earlier…

…and then someone-one of his cultists most likely-strikes me from behind, and then blackness.

I can hear them talking, and gently I try and move. He’s restrained me. I’m lying on my back, and as I gently test the strength of whatever it is holding me down. I feel the straps on my skin (leather, well worn leather I think. How antiquated…) and I only test them the slightest; I cannot see my captors, but I can see the flow of the world around me…

…and it flows strangely. I am looking at the rivers of time that we all swim through, and here…here it is nonsensical. If time is a flowing liquid as most chronologically sensitive races see it, here it is a vortex; it is like being within a wave that is cresting, or being beneath the surface of a stormy sea. It moves in rushed pulses, emanating from somewhere deep…

…and then there’s pain.

--oOo—

“Gods be damned, it’s in deep,” Chassovo murmurs, as he moves the instrument deeper into the wound. The bullet in his quarry’s leg had embedded itself in the bone, and his surgical apron is spattered ever so lightly with her blood. Leo watches her arms twist briefly against the straps of the surgical gurney. He hears her hiss loudly, and strange words begin to spew from the maimed woman’s mouth. She is dirty, in her torn funeral garments and with her bloodstained face, and her mouth contorts slightly as the air hisses through her teeth and her lips with a fury restrained primarily by those weathered leather straps.

“Sure we can’t sedate her?” Leo asks pensively as he watches her nails dig into the palms of her hands. She hasn’t said a word since the cemetery, but the noises she’s making make it evident enough that she’s in a great deal of pain. The bullet wound in her leg was purple and caked with dark shades of red, yet strangely as he watches it is darkening, before crumbling in a very minute yet methodical manner into grey dust.

“I am not sure that would be wise,” Chassovo murmurs as he pauses from his probing of the wound. “She has an awful lot of strange things flowing in that blood of hers.” With his free hand, he scrapes at a fleck of blood on the surgical apron, which is rapidly turning grey. The life is coming out of it, he thinks to himself with moderate amusement, before glancing back at Leo. “We wouldn’t want to kill her after having gone to such considerable efforts to prevent her death.”

--oOo—

I could go on there for some time as to what I’ve been doing. For at the same time as the timecaster was cutting into my leg, I am elsewhere, working with a diligence properly reserved for the mad ones. Echo proves to be right in that light at least. I am a mad one, from a certain angle. I am madly dedicated. Mad altogether, I would not think so; a mad woman does not make as much sense as I do, does she?

Does she?

…how would I know?

--oOo—

After the incident at the graveyard, Echo returned to the Drake capital tired and aggravated. He had decided he would meet up with his band at the local bar before returning to Gernot and the others. He needed to cheer up, relax, and enjoy himself. Certainly not listen to Gernot's painful voice berate him. As he walked into the dimly lit bar, past the drakes and humans getting drunk and celebrating personal victories, he saw that his friends had already gotten a booth and were waiting for him, and this brought a smile to the sound drake's muzzle as he walked over and engaged in their ongoing conversation, taking a seat next to his cousin, Tone, who was listening to Do argue with Re over who would win in a fight. The two brothers seemed ready to test out their theories right there.

The night moved quickly. He drank a bit, and then a bit more, and he tried to laugh on occasion as the situation merited. Echo told the story of the day, and entertained his friends thus, but halfway through he realized he wanted to stop: he was still thinking about it. Sure, describing Kane's arm being torn off was rather entertaining, but he still had to think about the thing as a whole, and it wasn't as fun in hindsight. In fact, he wondered slightly about just what had gone down. Still, the conversation held an almost trivial tone to it, as if it were just a tall tale being woven for the sake of the night; a story, a fable if it ever were one, of evil deeds done and heroisms and strange goings on in dark and deserted cemeteries.

He talked about Necrosis and of the dead coming back to battle their attackers, and about how their quarry had spoken specifically to him in a language he'd never taken the time to learn, and why yes, he'd have another, and they roared with laughter at the thing as a whole. Never mind the eerie, Echo thought; the eerie is gone. The eerie is no more. There is no eerie here.

Upstairs, a window had been left open; be it through fate or design is not fully relevant here, though if you suspect the later, you have the right mind for these sorts of things. Through the dark, a bird of the night flew in silently, and settled into the rafters. With keen ears, it assessed the clinking of glasses, and the roars of the band, and the sounds of dozens of lives going on beneath its small, taloned feet.

Some lives it paid more attention to than others.

--oOo—

After he removed the bullet from my leg, Chassovo and Leo had stood silently aside, outside of my earshot. Some sort of dampening was employed, I think; when I skipped back to watch the incident from outside that present perspective, it was only then that I fully appreciated the gesture they made to me. Perhaps I should have been more amicable towards them.

“So these Flux can’t be remembered?” Leo asked quizzically, and Chassovo tapped his bony fingers uneasily against a segment of his ship’s control console; not with intent to issue a command, but out of a simple restlessness that originates in the uneasy certainty that coincidences were happening.

“They’re absurdly frightened of being remembered.” Chassovo answered as he watched the eyeless woman carefully testing the straps. “If he’d made them a little more balanced, we wouldn’t be fighting these wars.” He frowned as only a skeleton can at his own words. It had been hundreds of years even from his perspective since that cold day in Antarctica. He had at one point often wondered what had become of the Commodore after that day, for he had never seen the man again; he fled Earth with Tanya after that bloody day, and the two had vanished into the black.

“He? Who’s he?” Leo inquired. Chassovo glanced at the drake for a moment before looking back at the blinded woman on the bed.

“Long story.”

The realization that the man I’d fought, the man I escaped from, was none other than the Chaw’Sah’Voh of our mythology was a strange instance in my life. The coincidences of our origins continue to double back on us, almost as if time itself found the game amusing. A man is mistaken for a god, and two dead men become angels and demons. The Khamood’Urr, the Chaw’Sah’Voh, and the Chaw’Haust.

I must learn more about Chaw’Sah’Voh. Our legends tell of him as a cunning monster of good intents, whose deception of the Khamood’Urr lead to his fleeing to the stars after the battle with Chaw’Haust. Our legends are, for the most part, accurate; overblown, perhaps, but accurate.

--oOo—

Garren’s flagship was destroyed quite effectively by the Immortal Empire’s fleet at Varandal. This was recorded history. Capitol’s leader never had his body recovered, for I buried him; it was only kindness, and he deserved more than he was given by fate and by those who pulled his strings.

When I visited him, he was about to be swallowed in flames. This sort of an undeniable fate was for him, to put it more mildly than is accurate, utterly unappealing. So when the explosions of consoles and the last second rushings of personnel and the glare of flames rising abruptly ceased, he did not waste his reprieve. Not in his eyes at least. Not in mine either, as I didn’t have them properly. The bird saw for me though.

I watched then from the back of the bridge as Garren rapidly reassessed the situation. The flames now give steady and unflickering light, and his crewmembers were all motionless, some in midair on account of explosions that would in the next instant would grow to swallow all things before they themselves would be snuffed out by the vacuum outside. Watching Garren come to terms with his death was dryly humerous, though I felt pity all the same; he executed an officer of his who would have been incinerated in the next instant for having the gall to freeze in mid air in the middle of a battle.

And then he tried to shoot me.

--oOo—






As Echo talked, he was forgetting, too-the night's details were beginning to slip. In part, this was alcohol; on another part, this was genetics. From his perspective, he had been gone but thirty minutes from the cemetery, and the memories he had about me were beginning to fall apart. This didn't trouble him too terribly, as he had become used to forgetting about the bald woman with his constant hunting. In fact, he looked forward to it: she had been a strange and unsettling creature, and he was glad to be without her now, whoever she was.

A hologram like waiter's menu materialized before him asking if he required another refill but he had enough to drink and motioned it away, laughing as Do told a story about a human stagehand and a faulty electrical system.

Above all, the owl sat silently. The place was loud, far louder than its temperament would have normally lead it to settle into such a place, but then again its motivations were hardly normal. It had a sort of strange itch in the back of its mind that it couldn't groom out, and for reasons beyond its understanding this place alleviated that discomfort.

As the night continued, Echo forgot most everything; he, as he was proud to attest, partied hard. That alone could have made him forget many things, and perhaps if the bald woman had been more mere mortal than she was, he might have forgotten her yet again without intervention on his part. But as the night closed around everything, the owl sat above all, and it waited. The bar would close soon.

And when it would, I would be waiting.

--oOo—

After some time I lay still on that gurney. It was silent now, though from a latter perspective I realize they were with me the whole time; but I felt alone there, trapped on that table inside the chaw’s timeship, I hurt rather badly, and I could not see; my leg ached dully now though I did not understand that this dullness was better than the sharp cutting pain the bullet would have given me had it remained. I was not thinking as clearly as I should have…

…but then again, on the plus side I didn’t have a god stuck in my head anymore. Silver linings, I suppose, have to be forged at high temperatures.

As I lay there, I was thinking intensely about so many things. Even after so long of explaining to you how I think, I doubt I have done a fair picture of it. I watch the time thrust and rush all around me inside this ship and it seems like pounding surf or the roar of the aurora a planet’s pole; but it is none of these things. I am thinking about history. I am thinking about my future, about your futures, and how to bring all of these futures into careful and judicious alignment.

I am also thinking about escape. My temporal gauntlet had been thoughtfully tied down quite well while I was unconscious; the plates that spin about it tightly pressed to the table. I cautiously will the device to action, in small steps, and I can feel the straps stretching taught in response to the irresistible force I summon into it.

Outside, though I do not know this, Chaw’Sah’Voh and his companion are watching.

--oOo—

It was almost morning when the bar finally started to close and the more nocturnal guests were forced to leave, both out of drunken exhaustion and the angry drake bar owner who had set her arms aflame in irritation preparing to strike whoever's tail wasn’t out the door in the next five minutes. Echo and his friends had left the bar laughing as the owner literally kicked a human teenager out on his face into the mud, passed out from drinking drake ale.

His vision was minorly blurred by this point, but it would not hinder him all too terribly-drakes had a knack for alcohol. It simply wasn't as potent for them as it was for smaller simian species, much to Echo's private chagrin. Even still, it gave him a certain pleasure, in that it gave him an excuse. Civility wasn't something he hung to with any great attentiveness, but after a few drinks he had the excuse he didn't even really need for his behavior.

He was not, of course, thinking this as he tapped the human's shoulder with his foot again, sending him a few inches further into the murk. He looked up with a grin and then—

--and then he wanted to pause, because it blurred a little. This was the alcohol, of course, but when he had finished pausing, she was still there, standing under a streetlight. It was dark still; morning was young, and day was hours away.

She was across the street. It was a busy one, too; cars and rickshaws moved across it with moderate frequency at this hour, but even still there were long breaks where he could see quite clearly the far side. He starred awkwardly at her for a moment, not quite sure if he knew the face or not, especially when viewed in its present state, but before he could summon up the faculty to identify the figure, something brushed past his head, and he flinched as it flew out into the street, landing on her arm.

Then she turned, and began to vanish again into the dark. She was going around the corner, and he continued to pause in confusion at the sight; he still could not quite...place...the face...

--oOo—

Garren had looked on with astonishment as I halted his bullet’s flight towards my head in midair. He was evidently not fond of gentle reminders of mortality.

“That was rude.” I say gently, as he looks back at me with bewilderment, the gun still smoking in his hand. I reach out and gently pluck the bullet from its frozen moment, and extend my hand towards him with the bullet as an offering in it.

“Who the hell are you?!” He spews. He is hiding fear with fury, defying mortality with a malice. The poor man is doing everything he can to deny the obvious. The bodies frozen mid-air; the flames licking ad infinity at the skin and metal; time was twisted so that he and I were the only breathing parties.

“You fought nobly, you know,” I lie gently. There is no nobility in conflict, not since men and swords were replaced by muskets. Perhaps it was earlier than that. Perhaps nobility was lost when clubs replaced rocks, or FSEMCES replaced temporal shearing. “The battle is over though, Garren. Nobility does not ensure victory.” He is beginning to shake now, having realized what this all was.

“…wh-why are you here then?” He stammers awkwardly, panic beginning to encroach upon the forced appearance of ferocity he is trying to wear. “…are you here to rescue me?”

The owl on my shoulder fluffs its wings as I frown.

“I’m afraid not.”

--oOo--

His progress was slow, but as he turned around the corner, he saw her shape moving smoothly down into the darkness, and he followed. He didn't know quite why he was following her, or really who she was, but there was a strange sense of familiarity here, and he followed on that notion as if it were a good one. She moved quickly past the streetlights, and as he followed he saw a rickshaw slow to a halt near her; it was one of the more modern ones, with the robotic carriers hissing softly as they kept their servos spun up to speed. And yet, as she approached it, she slowed, and then turned back towards him for a moment.

Her face was bruised and dirty; he suspected it was blood. In that instant, he began to recognize her and realized where he'd seen her before, though it hardly came back all at once. It was more of a feeling of a memory than a memory at all, but he felt something odd, something decidedly odd, as he focused on her face. A white, stained cloth was wrapped over her eyes like a blindfold, and in its folds there were mild stains and strange shapes that hinted at uneasiness in the face as a whole.

She remained there, paused for a moment, as if she were looking right back at him, and then turned and began climbing into the rickshaw.

Echo calmly but cautiously approached the rickshaw and the woman as she climbed in, closing the gap between them as quickly as he possibly could, he could tell she was waiting for him through her motions and he wanted to know why, or, according to his own mind, remember why.

She was indeed waiting for him, and she sat on the opposite side of the rickshaw as Echo came to a stop just outside the rickshaw. She was still in the gown she had been wearing when they had found her, though this had not as yet been made evident to Echo; but it was torn now, damaged in the scuffle and the battle and the tearing out of eyes. She was dirty, and perhaps the only clean thing on her was the white cloth over her eyes.

She was looking straight ahead at the far seat as Echo considered the situation, while the owl on her arm worked its way towards her shoulder with its eyes ever trained on him.

"Tell me when you remember." She said flatly, not so much with impatience as simply a tired tone.

--oOo—

“So she’s the thief.” Leo marveled quietly, watching her patiently begin working away at the straps with the single panel from her gauntlet that she had managed to maneuver free of its restraints. Now she is broken; eyeless, blood covered, soiled and dirty, with a carefully stitched wound on her leg where Kane had hours earlier shot her for the sake of amusement. “I don’t know how she’d manage to steal anything again given the shape she’s in now.”

Chassovo watches with muted fascination as the strap on her hand is cut. She’s going to free herself within the next two minutes, he muses silently, before tilting his skull towards Leo.

“She seems to be doing well enough given the circumstances.” He quips dryly, as Leo begins to move towards her. Chassovo though stretches out a hand, pausing his friend and provoking a look of confusion from the drake towards the timecaster. “What, are we letting her get loose?” He looks almost hurt by the notion, especially after all the effort that had gone into recovering her safely from the cemetery. “She’s going to get free and then it’s going to be a pain in the—“

“Yes.” Chassovo says simply, as she reaches over and begins blindly working on the latch on her other hand. “She’ll be free soon enough—“

“And why the hell do we want that?” Leo retorted indignantly, unheard by me within the confines of the silenced portion of the room.


“Because that’s the only way she’s going to begin to understand we’re not against her. We already had to have you clonk her over the head,” Chassovo notes as the other hand comes free, and the straps on the torso are addressed. More plates are becoming free now, and they hesitate cautiously around her as she works viciously to free herself from those leather constraints. “And then I strapped her to a table and operated on her leg. She doesn’t understand a word of this, so from her perspective I imagine she thinks we’re the same fight she suffered through earlier.”

--oOo--

Garren’s health was strange. I had finally begun to coax him to speak on the matters I had come to address when he gasped abruptly, and then the man convulsed. When I say convulsed, I mean twisted; the muscles in his body wracked his bones and sinews in angles reminiscent of old films about demonic possession. The dead dictator howled, screaming in agony, and…

…and I admit that sympathy got the better of me. I reach out and gently cradle him, my fingertips against the skin on his scalp, and with concentration I begin snipping and cutting into the neural pathways of his mind. It is destructive for him, I confess; if I did it long enough, he would be just as much a vegetable as Sloane had become. And we talked longer.

His failures I said nothing of. When a man is at death’s door, his shortcomings cast long shadows that must be cast aside. Oh, I felt the wicked echoes of cruel intents, I do confess that much. Having the god of chaos jammed into your skull evidently takes more than a few days to wear off. But compassion won out here, for the first time in Garren’s life perhaps, and for hours we talked about life. I showed him his childhood, and we revisited the joys, those few precious joys…

Garren’s life had never been a happy one.

--oOo--

Echo stood next to the cart and looked at her silently, his memory slowly but surely returning, as everything became clear he turned his attention to the owl, leaning on the rickshaw with his head through the door.

"What’s with the owl?"

She turned her head towards him with an upsettingly condescending sort of sneer on it. He'd seen that look before many times, and while he found it familiar on Nagaetros' face, it was unusual to see it on hers. He realized now that in his own strange way, that face had become hers through his efforts; there were little bits of Nagaetros left in her even after she'd deposited his hopes to parts unknown.

"She's my pet." I reply coolly. There was a new feature to me now, a part that had not been so evident before my ordeal in the cemetery. I imagine that he could almost taste the reservations melting off of me, and it was an equally pleasing and unpleasant thing. Nagaetros would be pleased, when he was back to being himself again, that Echo had succeeded so well in his purpose; but at the same time, he found it increasingly unnerving to see such malice, even when held in check.

I nodded slightly towards the seat opposite herself.

"I think you should get in." I suggested, as the owl abruptly fluffed its feathers and settled into place on her shoulder.

Echo shrugged and climbed into the rickshaw, folding his ears back to allow him to sit up straight.

"Ok... so you have a pet owl now....I guess you don’t get tired of the word 'who'...good for you."

Slowly motors closed the curtains, and with a melodic motion the rickshaw gradually began its journey. The woman opposite him seemed tempted to laugh at the humor in Echo's blunt jest, but refrained. She held her head still for a moment as if she were looking Echo over quite thoroughly, before a slight shrug seemed to bleed out of her body.

She was thinking back a ways, to the casino ship. She remembered what she had said to Echo before he-or she, she wasn't entirely confident of that matter anymore-had blown the window out and sent so many spiraling into space. She had sworn she would come after him for those deaths, and this promise was not lost on her now; but more importantly she had promised to do so after Shaw was taken care of. She hoped Echo hadn't kept much of the memory, and truth be told, odds were he hadn't.

"I'm going to be direct with you, Echo." She said bluntly after a brief pause. "To be anything less would be wasting both of our time and I think we've both had a rather long day. I don't think I have the patience for delicacy at this point."

"Uh-huh, you’re telling me. It’s not easy dodging fire from both allies and enemies. At least you didn’t have to see what happened. It’s not fun watching soldiers literally rip themselves apart" Echo replied staring at the bird and shifting uncomfortably in his seat.

--oOo—

She sat upright for the briefest of moments, appreciating her growing freedom. In spite of the comprehension of how he would act, how she would likely respond, Chassovo still felt nervous to a small extent as he watched her rapidly hack through the remaining straps with the gauntlet’s plates. She rolls silently off the gurney, landing with an umph and a hiss of painfull air leaving her lungs, before she is crouched besides it, looking out with nonexistent eyes.

Slowly, Chassovo reaches out, taps a console, and reveals himself and his companion.

I still remember that moment well. For perhaps ten feet around the gurney, a field had been in place, trapping the sounds and what lay beyond. At that instant, my perception increased; I could still see the pulsing writhing mass of time itself being sucked in and drawn out of the apparatuses that the Temporian used to power his ship. I would later learn that he refered to her as the Tempest. The name fit; she was all storm and fury pounding against the surf of reality.

And then I see two faint timelines, quite close in proximity, almost obscured by the writhing force of fates being doubled over upon themselves. Two blurred forms stand, and I stand, and I hesitated.

--oOo—

The bald woman tensed slightly at the joke. She considered telling Echo that she had tried to remove him from the scenario before the attacks took place, but opted not to: Necrosis probably hadn't told him about her interest in that case.

"I have Nagaetros' hopes in a place you'll never reach it. You want them back. You have access to Chaw'Hast," she said, giving Shaw a begrudging honorific as she did so, "and I want him more dead than he is at present."

“So you want old Shaw, for the hopes of Nagaetros himself in return?" Echo replied with a chuckle. "That’s quite the offer... I don’t know. Personally, I’d love to sell that bone-head out, but ...it's still a pricey request. Nagaetros wouldn’t very much like that."

Again, the slow shrug bled out of her. She wondered, as she tended to wonder, about the sincerity of the chuckle.

"Nagaetros won't very much like anything if he stays like he is. There are many uses for a dead god, you know." Slowly a hand reached up, and she stroked the owl's head. "For one, if he sleeps forever, then you rule in his stead. No more...second fiddle..." she faded out softly as the owl looked back at her, and a small, possibly sincere smile flittered across her face.

"Hmmm...." a wicked smile crosses the sound drake's mouth at the thought but quickly disappeared. “But what of the others? They would obviously be suspicious of my rise to power...Vulcan and Gernot are almost more loyal than those damned dogs of his, of all the people Naga has recruited, they would never accept it. They would continue to search for their 'true master'."

She paused her stroking of the bird for a moment as if she were contemplating the matter, when it had really been done well before then.

"Then heal him, and take the credit. I am not particular if he lives or dies. Either way, you'll profit. That matter is for your mind to sort through. But before any of that happens, I must have my share of the deal."

Echo smiled again. "Then we have a deal... but there's still a problem that's out of both of our control..."

--oOo—

“Sotek.”

The word was whispered. It was a frightful word from him, and it passed through parched lips like a desert breeze moving amongst the palm fronds. He repeats it, and the pain begins to return; more nerves are clipped, but I realize that whoever this Sotek is he is occupying the body of Garren. More precisely, he is trying to get back into his mind; I have cut him out of it temporarily, but he crawls back in like water into a tidepool.

And the tide is coming in.

“Can you…save me…” Garren whispers. He has talked long, his mind wandering as nerves are cut, interspersed with bolts of pain from his unseen assailant. I see through the owl’s eyes on my shoulder the sweat on his brow glistening in the frozen firelight, and I pause and realize all at once what I must do.

It is the only right thing anyone could do, really.


“Yes,” I whisper, and then I lean in and embrace him as I snap his neck.

--oOo—

The bald woman, the blind woman, the bloodied woman pauses as she rises to her feet. She is looking with sightless eyes right at them, fingers twitching like cats’ tails, and slowly Chassovo reaches elsewhere on the console.

Leo can imagine what she’s thinking. She is more animal than man now, more fury than poise or grace. In her weathered funeral robes, she is a spectre trying to return to her own side of the divide between the living and the dead. She is the spirit pulled out by a séance, considering throwing the china, making the table levitate, or doing worse than that—anything to return to the grave.

“Stand…very…still…”  Chassovo says gently, slowly, under his breath. His skeletal hand is slowly moving across the console towards another trigger, another implement for altering the scenario. He too is treating her like an animal, and his wisdom is evident here. She has little sanity left to offer at this hour, but she pauses, staring right at them with half-present eyes and almost beginning to bare her teeth in a snarl.

“…you know…” Leo says slowly, as Chassovo gently begins to bring his hand down on the button to open the door to reality.

“…yes Leo?”

“…I don’t think she cares for us much…”

--oOo--

Echo hesitated at the thought.

" Naga's deal with Shaw doesn’t keep him on a very tight leash like the rest of us, he could be anywhere at any time, I have no clue where he is or what he's up to and I can’t control him...I could keep you informed but I won’t be able to do much else..."

I shook my head briefly at this and sighed softly. "You underestimate both of us." I said it with a moderate degree of sincerity. "I have the utmost faith in your capabilities for this situation. When the time comes, you'll be prepared for what needs to be done. Afterwards," I added as the rickshaw came to a stop, "you'll decide what you want to become of your boss, and I'll oblige you in that." I turned my head back and called out to the machine directing the rickshaw. "We won't need to stop here," I commanded softly, and the machine carried on into the night.

Incidentally, I had been prepared to drop him in the central chamber of a very unfriendly church. Silver, gold, holy water…would have at least made us slightly closer to even in terms of grievances to each other.

"Fine, I’ll see what I can do" Echo replied flatly as the rickshaw continued on its journey, adjusting himself so the spiked covering his body were in more comfortable positions. “But there's never been a 'time drake' before."

Her attention seemed to pique at the phrase, and for a moment it seemed like she and the bird were one creature peering with great interest at their guest. "I've been studying him longer than you've had breath. He is a fascinating creature, isn't he?"

Echo leaned back and sighed. "You could say that. But personally I don’t like it this at all. Unique cases like him often attract unwanted attention...like you, only crazier..."

She felt a twinge of disappointment at the simplicity of his attitude. "At least you appreciate my sanity then." She murmured softly, before the rickshaw slowed to a halt. "Once Shaw is dealt with, you'll have the hopes, and I'll be out of your circles well enough."

“That’s good to hear, the sooner the better. But who said I thought you were sane?" Echo replied as he sat back up.

She felt he was baiting her, in his own little way. Echo was the sort of character who would go out of his way to express his indifference to things, simply so that he could convince others he didn't care one way or the other. It was evident enough from his interactions with Shaw (she was much less interested in Echo than Shaw, but Echo remained present for several of Shaw's visits to Nagaetros' court) that at some core level he explicitly disliked people he felt thought they were above him, or that at some level HE thought were above him.

"You did." She answered softly as the motors began withdrawing the rickshaw's curtains. "I admit you didn't outright say it, but it's obvious anyway. You wouldn't have gotten within arm’s reach of me if you thought I was crazy. I can smell it on you, you know." The owl yawned slowly, and she nodded her bandaged head towards the parting curtain.

"New day, Echo. Make the most of it."

---oOo—

I sucked the blood out of Garren’s body. No, don’t look at me like that. Really now. Really. Do I seem like a monster…

…ah…

…we’ll pretend it’s a rhetorical question then…

…I, I myself, I didn’t do that. I brought machines in to do that. Do you know the value of a royal’s blood? It’s priceless, generally speaking. Thousands will fight and die for sake of bloodlines; children are executed, locked in towers if their blood is too close, or too far away, for the liking of others. Blood is livelihood just as much as it is the liquid of life itself. It has so many uses…

…oh, don’t look at me like that!

--oOo—

The door opening was like watching white light pour into a dark room. I turned my head towards it, then back at the two unmoving figures.

They were letting me leave.

The gauntlets spun slowly, lazily, in false ease, and I gingerly took a step towards the exit. While I was facing them, it was just a convenience; I was looking in all directions, trying to see any form through the churning maelstrom of time that wrapped and wipped its way around me. I anticipated trickery, ambush, betrayal out of any corner. This was too easy. Too simple. Shaw was toying with me.

And I was tempted to call out to Chaw’Haust, urging him to try and strike me down. Truth be told, at that moment, he probably could have without any real difficulty. But I didn’t.

I slowly raced out into reality.
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Uprising: The Rendezvous

Just outside Spartan Space

"Still no word from command?"
Admiral Salvek watched from her command chair as her communications officer fiddled with his console for a few moments. He turned, his face grim.
"Nothing since we picked up that wide-beam, Ma'am: "protect the Empire and its people. When in doubt, use initiative. Further orders will be forthcoming. If possible, regroup with loyal fleets."
The order had been signed with the tac-signature of the Supreme overlord himself.
And what did he mean by "loyal" fleets?
"What do you think?" the young admiral asked, turning to face Faison, her Scuridaean XO. The small gray Squirrel-like creature sat on an elevated platform installed specifically for him. His tail twitched in agitation: his race was known for short tempers. And violence.
"I think there's been a coup."
There. It was out in the open now.
Salvez shuddered briefly: ever since contact had been lost with the high command, the ship had been picking up reports of revolts and riots on various worlds.
What was disconcerting was the rioters actually seemed to be WINNING.
Then the second bombshell had dropped: the rioters were, in fact, mutinous soldiers.
Spartan troops on countless planets had risen up, killed their commanders, and either seized control of the planet or fled into the deep core of the Galaxy. They had been tracked to a planet inside the rim of the core, Tau Volaris, a mining world known for harsh atmospherics and being generally unpleasant, even for Spartans.
Those renaming "loyalist" forces who had managed to either overcome the rebels or avoid whatever madness had taken them had first attempted to regroup and head for the Capitol: protect the Supreme Overlord, was the order.
This had been overturned by the Supreme overlord himself, who had ordered all ships to stay away.
Salvez couldn't help but wonder: had their leader been taken with madness himself?
"Ma'am"
Salvez snapped out of her thoughts as Faison spoke up. His high-pitched voice offset the seriousness of his tone.
"ma'am, we need a course of action. What are your orders?"
Salvez pondered, recalling the orders given to her: Protect the empire and its people....
"Comms" she said suddenly "are we in contact with other fleets?"
"Ah, yes, ma'am" the Comm officer said, playing with his screen for a moment. Shortly, several fleet group indicators appeared on the star chart that encompassed the ceiling over their heads. It zoomed in on their position: the other fleets were not far.
"If we called to them, we could regroup within a day or so." Faison said, his high-pitched voice offsetting the seriousness of the situation.
"Quite." Salvez said. "QM, what's our troop strength as of now?"
The Quartermaster spoke up from his station to her right.
"28 divisions ma'am, spread out across the fleet. We also have tanks, transports, and accommodation kits for the above."
"Any heavy stuff?" she asked. She heard the QM buzzing through his console readings. He grunted in satisfaction a few moments later.
"Nothing apocalyptic, but a few nice toys for the good girls and boys." he said with a touch of whimsy. Salvez stifled a smile.
"Alight: Comms send out a transmission to the closest fleets: we're going to need some combined arms support."
"Yes, ma'am" Comms said, turning back to his screen.
"Also, project a tight-beam to that Union fleet we detected a few days ago: they must still be in range."
"Aye" Comms said. His head was already buried in his console, his fingers flying.
"What’s your scheme, ma'am, if I may ask?" Faison said. Salvez smiled once more: he already knew. He was just humouring the men.
"Gentlemen, all this mess began with the transmission from those pacifists a few days ago. Well, they're clearly not pacifists anymore."
She tapped a few commands into her chair's access pad, and the star map changed above them.
Instead of showing their fleet, on the rim of Spartan Space, the black background changed to a golden abyss of swirling nebulae...with a flashing red dot near the edge.
"Helmsman" she ordered "lay in a course for Tau Volaris."

The order transmitted, the fleet quickly regrouped and, linked to the command ship, jumped to lightspeed as a unified force.

Mirach System: Union Territory

Volkus went over the troop listings again with a slight frown "I hope this will be enough" The man in front of him nodded "Don’t worry sir they’re the best of the best, besides I will make sure they all come home in one piece. We got all the other nations supporting us too"  The man in front of Volkus was the commander appointed for this mission and his name was Eric Rane, a young commander in looks but was actually quite old in reality, he had seen many combat drops but seemed to be relishing the chance to work with the other nations armies. Volkus nodded one final time "Alright these numbers work out, you have your go commander, however beware we will not be able to give you any reinforcements. All of our forces are being used in the coming defence of Mirach; this conference will have our full attention and security. So you will be on your own until it’s over" Rane saluted "Of course sir, I won’t let you down. For the Union" Volkus stood up from his desk and saluted back, Rane then turned around and marched out of the office. A few hours later Rane was sitting in a side chair on a Pilum class battle cruiser, though he was the commander for the whole operation he was a ground leader and so respected the ship’s captain to know the space side of things. Besides no other man should captain another’s ship. The small fleet was currently waiting to jump; the rendezvous point had been set to 8 light hours away from the Tau Volaris system edge and was the meeting point for all the empires forces that were to take part. The Union captain turned to Rane and Rane nodded back the captain turned back to his crew "All stations jump"
Rane watched as real space returned, it had been 4 days since the jump from Mirach and it seemed like they were the first on the scene, no other ships could be spotted "Looks like we got here first" The captain said and Rane nodded. "Sir, we are detecting multiple jump signals inbound: Looks like the parties about to start" Rane replied.

Unknown Point in Space: Carnaith Territories
"DAMNIT!!!"

The bridge of the destroyer went silent as the captain screamed; a small patrol fleet had for some strange reason deserted their course and changed vectors to head towards a volatile, ugly mining planet known as Tau Volaris.

"what is it sir?" one of the Comms men asked, the red lighting underneath the catwalk-like floor of this model of starship adding an even more enraged feel to the Captain's face.

"The traitor forces have joined with those of... the Union of Worlds... “Causing a murmur between the bridge crew, "and Sparta..." after he said that, absolute uproar began.

"Respectively sir, I believe this is absolute horse shit. Neither of those empires has seen a traitor worth a damn" an engineering commandant replied

"Well, I will tell you that the UOW has a fleet approximately three light-hours away from the planet, and that they have confirmation on hostile takeover of the planet" The captain said, a hostile touch to his voice.

The bridge fell silent.

"Comms!!!" the captain said,

"Sir?"

"Contact the rest of the patrol fleet; we're joining with a UOW and Spartan joint fleet just outside of Tau Volaris range. What are the ships we have?" the captain said,

"We have 5 heavy landing craft, fully outfitted with armour, mechs, and men, a handful of SOL-class bombardment platforms that are low on ammo from a tassel they had with the traitor group and a small group of other destroyers, Sir"

"Good, we'll need them. Helmsmen, jump in-zone to join with our allies, and prepare fighters to secure orbital positions"


the Veil: Nex Space


Lock reviewed the transmission again and sighed. If he recalled correctly Tau Volaris was of interest to their ally of the Union of Worlds and therefore it came under the terms of their alliance to send assistance. He knew little of the world in question and cared not to learn more. He leant back in the chair inside the base and sighed once more. “I suppose father would want us to send assistance” he said in a barely disguised tone of distaste. “Very well captain, take 6 ships and make full speed for the rendezvous our ally mentioned”. Orras nodded but remained silent, waiting for Lock to continue.  “Seeing as your ship is still undergoing repairs, take…The Storm, 2 carriers and a small escort squadron.” Lock lent back on his chair again and stared out of the window considering what to commit to battle if need be. “Take two Riflemen companies, three Support companies, a Lancer company and… a few Pyrope’s just in case”. Lock grinned fiendishly. He loved fielding Pyrope’s due to the sheer annihilation they caused to their targets. Orras began to walk away when Lock spoke once more. “Orras. I’m sending Azar to lead our ground forces. He’ll respect your position as fleet leader, but don’t try to order him around. He does outrank you after all. Now run along and go squash these rebellious bugs!” Orras walked out of the room towards the shuttle bay where Azar was waiting for him. “Good to be working with you again Captain” Azar said patting his comrades back. “The pleasure is mine Azar” Orras said returning a grin to his friend.
Lock stood up as the ships began to move away from orbit. He wished he could join the fight himself but he had his roles as Commander for now. He smirked once more then walked off towards the training grounds.


Rendezvous point: 3 light hours from Tau Volaris System

Eric watched as signals of Spartan ships, Carnaith ships and even the Nex appeared on the view screen. "Seems we are gonna have some serious company to take down these traitors" Eric said to the captain. "Yes sir, i can see why the Spartans are here but Carnaith and the Nex?" Eric turned and replied "The Nex are our allies they are here out of honour, Carnaith is probably the same, though I expect they also have ties to the planet" The captain nodded. They had a set time frame before the attack but he was sure a lot more races would be turning up to assist.

A sudden lightning storm appeared in space of what was thought to be a freak astral storm, but when a ship emerged it was clear that the storm was a vortex slip and a great stream lined cruiser appeared which brought a silence to all other ships in its area of vision

Eric watched "Well that’s certainly new... who the hell are these guys... Unidentified ship, state your intent"

A loud booming could be heard 'We will not obey your commands, but we do not seek violence, our intent is for us to know'

Eric raised an eyebrow and saw that the Nex and Carnaith fleets were moving into a defensive formation. "Unidentified ship, this is a restricted area and operation, though you do not seek violence we are highly suspicious of you. For all our sakes please state your intent"

'Who is your commanding officer?'

"I am the commanding officer of the Union forces here; these other forces are also friends"

'We will speak in from, prepare to be boarded' and with that the Unions ship's interior lights flickered off for just a nano second and an armoured figure appeared in the vast empty space of the bridge.

The crew turned and some raised their weapons, Eric himself also pulled his side arm but then lowered it "Stand down. And get the Nex and Carnaith on the line I want all of us to hear it, the Spartans won’t be here for another hour"

"Azar to Eric, what’s going on over there? Who are these guys?" Azar waited for the reply with a slight sense of unease.

"Captain Volk here, what is your status?"

"I think our visitors are about to tell us" Eric replied to them both waiting for the figure to talk.

'Our intent is investigate and possibly terminate this unknown occurrence, Believe it or not but we are allied to the Union'

"You’re.... You’re the Sicarii? Many of us didn’t believe you existed... Interesting, you are here to aid us against the forces that have taken control and corrupted Tau Volaris?"

Azar looked sceptical but ordered his ships down from high alert whilst still maintaining readiness encase of treachery.

'Yes I am indeed and I can assure you we are very much a reality, there is also a possibility that an Abyss portal may become active and that is the reason we are here'

"I see, well we are glad to fight alongside you. We will be attacking in 5 hours, we are waiting for more allies to turn up, feel free to join us"

And with that the figure vanished with another light flicker and the ship took point on forward position

Before the other vessels could react, Space rippled for an instant, and the emptiness was replaced with a Flotilla of starships, each bearing the crimson lightning-bolt "S" of the Spartan Infinite Empire.
Azar grunted.
"leave it to the Spartans to show up late to a fight."

Amathine System: Nex Space

Lock watched as the last of the signals disappeared of the system map. He closed down the interface and turned to see a Krieg commander stood just inside the door. "Yes Loken what is it?" He said patronizingly before returning to his chair.

Knight Lock, we have heard that you are going on a planetary strike to stop an Uprising and the company under my command the 13th Orbital Insertion force was wondering if you needed any support in this operation

"So you wish to aid Loken? That seems acceptable. I'm sure your Assault carriers will prove most useful upon deployment. Yes I suppose that shall do. Make haste to the Tau Volaris system and speak with Orras and Azar when you get there they are all ready on standby waiting for deployment. Now go" And with that Lock turned back to the console and began work once more"

Loken bustled to load the ships with the infantry protectors and tanks and then he had to oversee the supply ships 1 whole ship for artillery shells and another for infantry ammunition and then a 3rd just for tank round whatever he was getting into he was going to be prepared for it. Loken walked onto the Bridge of the Soul of Death then barked at the crew to make head way to Tau Volaris to help out the Nex.

Orras had the fleet on high alert but was surprised when 8 Krieg IFF's tags flared up. 3 Munitions transports and 5 of the prototype assault carriers. Orras nodded pleased with the fact he would have a closer ally to support him during the conflict. "This is The Storm to Krieg fleet, nice to see you gentlemen. I am Captain Orras Nex commander during these operations."

"I am Commander Loken, Commander of the 13th Orbital Insertion Force we are here to provide support where needed on this operation" Loken was desperate to get into the conflict finally a war on ground somewhere were Krieg may finally be of use to itself and its Ally

"Pleasure to be working with you Loken. Form up with the allied fleet for the time being, we are awaiting instructions. Orras out."


IRS Space: En route to Rendezvous point

Breyvek the Captain of the IRSS Defender watched as the sensor group got larger as the small IRS fleet approached the rendezvous co ordinates. "Comms open a channel as soon as we arrive" the officer nodded "Yes sir" From these sensor readings there were all sorts of races there. This was going to be one hell of an attack... he felt honoured to be in a massive combined effort like this... The alarm warning to arrival sounded and he lurched slightly as the FTL dropped the fleet out into the darkness of space, in the surrounding area he could see Union, Sparta, Carnaith and a few other races he did not recognise "More potential allies then..." He muttered he opened the Comms "This is Breyek of the IRSS Defender, I have brought a substantial fighting force as requested, we will take up fleet position and await further orders" Breyvek watched as symbols and pings of acknowledgements appeared from the many ships. This was gonna be one hell of a show... and Breyvek had front row tickets.

Unknown point in Space: Tenebrean Territories

Aleharain Watched the readouts from the display in the centre of the captains nest, suspended above the projection tables smooth obsidian surface, the Rahdonahs tail twitching slightly as he did, the brass coloured aspects of his uniform catching the light of the screens and the projected fleet movements of the Cascus system. "Is there any further word from central?" He asked. Half to himself. "Nothing yet captain. Not sense the last transmission, riots are continuing but col-sec forces have managed to get the majority of the uprisings in orbit under control." A female Tenebrean technician responded, communicating with the drake over a Projected Comm-link screen. "Have we at least determined what’s been occurring?" The Aleharain asked, his tail moving with an air of agitation now. Referring to the series of reported riots and militarized uprisings that had erupted across several of the outlying colony worlds. "Not sure as of the present." The Tech responded. "Reports have told us that the Black blades have been deployed to several of the affected spheres and colony outposts.” She went on. "From that we can assume that it may have been... Still might be perhaps, an attempted uprising, or a coup...” Prompting the raudonah to shake slightly, bearing his teeth slightly in a suppressed snarl. Like the other vessels in orbit or the flotillas that had been patrolling throughout the mining system, Comms had gone dead suddenly.  Not long after that, short range, the short range reports of riots and uprisings occurring on multiple worlds and orbital cities in orbit had been intercepted across the sector. What had later come as an impending shock was that on almost half of the reported worlds and stations that had reported in and managed to send out distress signals and alerts, the riots were quickly growing out of control of the combined col-sec and military forces that had been mobilized in response to the uprisings.

What had been even more severe were the more detailed reports and Video feeds, which had revealed that over half of the rioters and Militants had been of military and Col-sec Personnel. Radical members of a previously peaceful multi-territorial anti-war movement that had identified themselves as the "The Dispossessed”. Who had, according to updates on the situation prior to the communications blackouts in the sector, shown signs of mobilizing and of subtle draconian worship among their ranks?  Personnel who had, according to update. Turned on their commanders and previously allied troops and vessels, causing massive amounts of damage and confusion before departing from the system or shunting out. The Raudonain captain frowned at the thought. Taken slightly off guard by the uplinks as the light of the screens cast odd shadows about the captain’s nest. Feeling much the same way as the other captains had following the uprising. Turning to look at the view port that dominated the front facing side of the small command room. The thick armour plates that would slide in front of the crystal panes as the ship went into battle formation clearly visible at the edges of the ultra-hard view port. "And of the other reports... Err... Rumors. Miss Daniels?" He asked, referring to the scattered bits of rumours and intercepted transmissions that draconian cultists and Zealots had taken up arms and had mingled in among the rioters, while further reports that more than two War Flotillas had gone completely renegade, and. Along with numerous civilian and industrial ships, as well as a full I.S.M. mining fleet, had shunted out bearing a course to a joint mining system on the edges of the golden expanse. "A system..." he half muttered to himself, as the system map shifted to display most of the explored territories of Ancerious, overlaid onto a star map of the galaxy projected in the 3-d spectrum. Before zooming in on a system on the edge of the galactic core. Several highlighted FTL routes, with readouts from multiple empires converging on it. While several others seemed to shoot past it, branching off towards the unknown territories. "...Tau Volaris...” He finished muttering. "What’s happening out there...?” He mused a moment longer, before turning back to the open Comm-link screen. "Miss Daniels. What forces do we have available?" he asked. Running his claws gently along the obsidian surface of the Display table.

"Not much captain." Came the technicians reply "Our forces are either somewhat scattered, or are engaged in controlling the riots. There are enough free assets for 2.5 war flotillas, but not much more." She sounded slightly distant as she focused on readouts on her end before spinning them over to him on a screen. "Not an invasion force, but they have full on-board troop assets and Drop ship/gunship complements." she finished. The Raudonain considered the asset list for a moment, before closing the screen and giving his instructions to her. "Contact the two fleet commanders and have them Prep their captains to get into combative formation and prep all assets for blockade and possible ground ops. Collect more troops and prep the ones they have on-board." He said, turning back towards the display before him. "Send them the coordinates and start Preparations for a jump to the Tau Volaris system. Contact system forces when we arrive." He finished, vaguely listening as she acknowledged his commands before closing the screen. Turning to look at the Display of the system and its orbital bodies, tapping his claws on the display table as he heard the metal plates begin to slide into place. "What's going on out there?” He asked himself silently, weighing the possibilities is his mind.


High Orbit: Tau Volaris

The fleet that orbited the world above them stood vertically like three Damocles’ swords. Compared to the vast storm that gathered around Tau Volaris, the minimalistic formation could hardly be considered a fleet. They were arranged in a perfect triangle, disturbing the orbits of nearby debris and old satellites with the gigantic gravitational membranes that kept them fixed in a geostationary position above the austral, broken labyrinths of the planet.

A four mile-long muon-powered starship with an overdense fractal brain the size of a house does not usually debate. However, Hlr found that debating was the wisest course of action. So he debated as best as a human of his stature could.

He knew his words were futile, obsolescent the very moment he uttered them. The three supercomputers probably created thousands of Turings of him and simulated his entire mind in the time it took him to open his mouth. By a large margin they knew what he was going to say.

He spoke, accepting his redundancy.

"I am not deluded, I know we're in a state of siege." Hlr spoke to the three monolithic intelligences. "Different only in its literality, perhaps. Several million people in the planet below, demiorganics and some more have joined us upon arrival. I can guarantee every one of them is ready to die for Nivose with the fullest of their heart and soul. Zeon gave us shelter, which we will defend with everything we've got."

"And if you fail?" One of the ships asked in its mind-bending, qualic language. It frightened Hlr to think the implications of the question; perhaps they had already carried out simulations of the coming battle and had found out they would be outlasted.

"The enemy isn't axiomatic." Hlr remained firm; though he knew the three etheral computers detected his worry through the slightest perturbation of his body. "Their only advantage is numbers. Victory is possible, as you might have told from your simulations. We have already crossed the point of no return, and I believe you would much rather stand with your most honoured demiorganic brothers against the coming horde of simpletons than face the AIs on your own."

"We did not defect to follow your alluded demiorganics." Another of the ships, Carpalis, mentioned. "Upon elaboration our decision to help you can be overwhelmingly attributed to Nivose."

"Yes." The third vessel, Palmar, broke its contemplative silence. The three ships anchored themselves to the planet's gravitational frame several hundred miles above the unseen domes where the followers of the legendary Nivose lived, prepared and fortified. "We've comprehended, nevertheless, that we near the dawn of a new era and that new era, just like the early stages of human evolution, industrialization and the birth of our most sacred Axiom, requires new men. Doubtlessly it will require new ships. Individually, Nivose's flock is odious to us; we've reasoned that for the paramount fate that congregates us here, we're not individuals."

"We will help." The first ship conceded. "You will have your weapons."

"Nivose bless you." Hlr prostrated himself in thankfulness adoration.

"May the Son of Man bless Nivose. We will return."

The ships swirled and twisted beyond the limits of their geometry, finally warping into spherical manifolds trough which they disappeared, sending gravitational ripples throughout Tau Volaris' orbit.

The peoples below were once again left alone, to keep building up their fortress-arcologies for another day. Escapees from the endemic continent-spanning gardens of the worlds under AI control; they weren't bound to their positions by distant, abstract alliances or false warrior traditions. For every single being on the planet, there were only two ways out: victory or death.
Tau Volaris system

Down on the planet, hidden by the impenetrable storm clouds, lighting arching back and forth amid booms of thunder that echoed like distant artillery, beneath the buzzing domes of the shielded cities and mines, beneath the possessed Traitor legions, working like ants to construct defences around their fortresses, hide heavy weapons and prepare bunkers and pillboxes, working around the myriad of those dead from exhaustion, deep beneath the tortured soil and bedrock, beneath the mantle, the veins of rare and valuable minerals for which the planet was so coveted, reaching out from the core like delicate tendrils......

......something stirred.........
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Union High command Orbital: Mirach system: Union space


Hargun after finishing his speech watched as the various delegates were led towards their respective seats, a holo tag appearing when they sat down to show who they were and their positions. Hargun also made his way to sit down with Lydia and Volkus at either side of him. He waited until the bustling and moving was finished and his eyes swept around each of the delegates "So gentlemen. We shall begin. Now... for the first on our agenda... I think we can all safely assume is one thing... The war" Hargun said looking at the Tenebrae and IE representative. Would the two of you kindly put forward your sides?"


Xtopher tilted his head thoughtfully, the calvaras glassy lens like eyes catching the light of the room as he turned his focus towards hargun, the other tenebrean diplomats sitting, largely stern faced in their seats. The raudonian male named aldarian sneaking looks at the teruvian known as Victoria sitting with the coalition diplomats. After a moment more, the Administrative-caste opened his jaws and spoke. "Sides?" He said curiously. "I don’t recall that we took sides. My people had little, if any relations towards his..." He said, giving a gesture towards the Emerald sword. "Yet despite that, they launch a sneak attack directly on our capital system, Glass our terrestrial worlds and orbitally bombard our cities and Destroyed our military command... We, having observed their actions with the cerabians only months before, Choose to defend ourselves, and launched appropriate repercussions as they were needed." he said, crossing his arms and looking at the union captain.

“is that what you would call a side, or an act of Reactive Defence?" He asked, aiming the question at the human.

Hargun made a gesture "Im sorry I was merely asking for your side so the races of this chamber who do not know of the happenings can guage a response or themselves. I didn't mean to offend only act as an intermediary. Besides you know our stance on this subject" Hargun said trying not to cause a argument.


“indeed." The calvara said, his skeletal face seemingly set in stone, his voice now heavy with suspicion following his receiving  of the SSC transmission. "I know all too wel, Captain hargun." He finished. "it is of no offence... But Many under my care Died as a Result of their, unforeseen and unprovoked attack.... After Cerabia, And i know that there are those among you that witnessed that campaign. and utter lack of communications prompted by them, aside from their tasteless defacement of a lunar body in a taunting manner. we were forced to go on the offensive." The calvara said, pausing.


A Jakeili, the muscular, but slim Bat-like creature would lean forward, "I would like to interject at this point, and offer the Coalition of Shattered Star's assistance in helping aggressors, non-aggressors, and simply bystanders caught in this terrible fray. No matter the political aims, the mistakes, or the gains, no civilian should suffer the horrors of war. It is upon these tenants that we offer our goods, nd manufacturing ability to all sides at a remarkably low premium. The Coalition chooses no sides in any war, but the sides of the Innocent civilians who have lost life, limb, jobs, and homes in this terrible war. Our hearts go out to those on all sides, as does our offer. It's a truly remarkable sale price. I suggest all peoples to consider it." He leaned back with a gentle smile

Hargun looked to the side to see Lydia grunt with her arms crossed "Corporate dogs..." She muttered under her breath, he was also sure she had her privacy field up but he ignored the comment
Reik had his head leaning into his right hand, elbow on the table, and was shaking his head slowly, for pretty much the same reason as Lydia.

Xtopher turned slightly to look at the coalition diplomats as they sat further along the diplomats, catching Aldarian sneaking looks at the female Teruvian sitting among the coalition members. giving him a slight look. "While we appreciate the offer, and may very well accept..., perhaps that a discussion best saved for a different period of time then the present one... " He said, the calvaras voice laced with the same tone as lydia and reik. After a moment, and a secondary glance at the male raudonah, he turned back to Hargun. "should we continue?" He asked.

Hargun nodded "Of course"

“What else would you need to cover?" Xtopher asked.

Well all we need now is the Immortal Empires response to this..." Hargun said looking at the Emerald sword who had been silent all this time.


Laramar sat back and watching the conversations of the humans intrigued by the distaste in the tone's of certain individuals. As far as he was aware they were here to discuss not childishly slander one another with hidden insults.


The Emerald Sword gave a small nod to Hargun before speaking.
“First I’d like to thank the Union of Worlds for allowing me entrance. What the Tenebrae representative said was mostly true. It is true that we attacked without provocation or warning. But I think it worth mentioning why we acted so. Even without contact we had some information on Tenebrae. This is solely from the occasional stray signal, and very distant observations. These observations led us to believe one of two possible outcomes were most likely.
The first, and most worryingly to us, is that at some point in the next several thousand years Tenebrae would attack, in desperate need of resources and space to contain their ever increasing population.
The second was that the Immortal Empire and Tenebrae would form a sort of, neutrality pack. At worst we would avoid each other at all costs and at best we would be mildly friendly to each other. This was the most favourable outcome, but also the least likely of the two.
Since we lacked sufficient information to make a proper decision, we decided to perform a test. We attacked you without warning to see how you would react.
If you had sought to know why we had acted as such, attempted to inquire us on our motivation, we would have explained. We would have even lent resources and man power to restoring the system we ravaged. This would prove beneficial to us as we wouldn’t have to go to war and our two nations would at least be on speaking grounds.
If you simply attacked in simple response, then we would be at war. This would benefit us as it would start the war now rather than later. Because the two of us aren’t as fully established as we would be in several thousand years, this would save countless lives, civilizations, and planets from destruction. No matter what you did we would benefit.”
The Emerald Sword turned his attention from Xtopher to address all present. “As for the attack on Excion, it wasn’t as bad as you’ve been told. Yes, we devastated the planets and wrecked havoc on the local forces. But we didn’t target the cities. We attempted to keep civilian deaths to a minimum. The vessels we attacked, we did our best to merely cripple and not destroy them. Death was kept to a minimum. It was a test after all. If we had destroyed everything in the system, left nothing standing, then a retaliatory attack would be completely justified. But it was a test, we intentionally did a minimum of damage. Unless you think us incompetent, with that attack being the best we could muster.
As for our actions in the subjugation of Cerebian space. You are aware they were on the verge of civil war, right? That the Drake were about ready to wage a war against the Furr, the Cog, and the Urdont? That our conquest put an end to it before it could spiral out of control? That we have unified them again, even if it is against us. We did so because, while it would be costly, it would benefit both us and them in the long run. We are not the mindless destroyers that Tenebrae makes us out to be.”

Reik at this moment raised his hand, wishing to speak.

Hargun nodded in acknowledgement to the IE and then turned to Reik "You may speak"

Reik composed himself before speaking, "according to the Comms between the CINS Aurius and IE commanders, you told the Captain of the Aurius that you and Tenebrae had been allies before, and eventually had a war..." he paused, "and to go against your words, you threatened to quote; 'have us burning our own worlds within a year'"...

Xtopher Looked at the Emerald sword, his expression softening to one of Deep knowing. "So, you attack was a Test then? and that you took over the cerabian empire as an Act of stability and good will. Would we all have to assume then, that your Race, or Rather, your faction of humans sees themselves as both the Judge and Jury of the Ancerious Galaxy? Are we to assume that, based on your reasoning?" he paused.

“You forgot executioner. But to answer your question, no. The Immortal Empire is only interested in what would benefit or harm us. There are worlds in ‘our’ space that we have intentionally not laid claim to because it would prove more beneficial for us to befriend the local populace after they have advanced to a proper point. At the same time there are civilizations that we destroyed because they would end up proving more trouble than they’re worth. And then there are those that we have accepted into our ranks, because it benefits the both of us. This isn’t because we feel we are in the right, or morally just in doing so. It also isn’t just to pointlessly increase our own strength or numbers or wealth. It is simply because we are stronger than those whose fate we determine. This doesn’t make everything we do right. After all, the right choice isn’t always the best choice.
Before I address the issue about resources, let me clear something up. The Immortal Empire is not a human empire. It was founded by humans, but they get no benefit or preferential treatment over non-humans. They are just one of the races that make up the Immortal Empire.
As for your point about not needing resources. We have similar technology, so I am well versed in its limitations and can with good authority say that you would still need resources. If things continue to progress as they have, then most of those assembled here would have expanded their holds in this galaxy to the point that we would be 'border to border' within ten years. Within a thousand or so years you would be forced to either export your ever expanding populace out of the galaxy or import massive amounts of resources in. Neither is particularly cheap. Or you could expand into the territories that surround you. Another option would be to use your own populace for the needed raw matter. But the likelihood of that happening was so remote that it hardly even bares mentioning.”

The Emerald Sword then turned to address Riek, "The admiral was giving a partial lie to you. He was attempting to turn Carniath against Tenebrae. No, we never had contact with Tenebrae before now. Yes, we believe that they will turn against you within the next several thousand years. As for the burning your own worlds thing, I would believe he is referring to the deployment of our Bio-weapons, where it would be easier to just burn your world than try to root them all out."

Counsellor Rowan sat somewhere on the side, perhaps in a corner simply observing the exchange. A look of appal seemed to form on her face once the I E exclaimed there rather alien, and grotesque form of logic concerning diplomacy. She shook her head and crossed her arms and leaned back, remaining silent as the floor seemed for the time being dominated by the Tenabrae and I E's rep. She looked over to see if the SCC rep was there to raise a brow concerning the convo so far.

Enrico Hess listened to the debate as it went back and forth. The bit between the Immortal Empire and the Tenebrae was interesting however it seemed odd that no one was addressing the how and who portion of the equation. The addition of the Carnaith delegate’s comments into the mix made for a hard means to interject a point of reference into the debate and then there it was. The emerald sword had clearly made a misstep. Enrico considered his words with a slight smile across his face as he took advantage of the silence to afflict a small measure of political damage.
“The Rationality of such an act is not rational at all. To have assaulted a man because you thought he might compete with you ages down the line is an affront to all things civil. You would have no means to come to those conclusions, as no sane man would think thus…unless perhaps someone told you that is what would happen and in your common fear you bought it, the head, the tail the whole damn thing.”

The Coalition was known for being both random, and neutral in most things and the Teruvian male of the delegation leaned forward, "Taking that out of context, Mr. Hess, one could state that at times a pre-emptive strike while your target is weak is perhaps the most rational and logical point of view you can take. Seeing a nation rise quickly and powerfully... one might fear they would have imperialistic goals and plans... not that, I am going so far as to point such fingers at our good friends of Tenebrae, mind you..." He'd nod to the Tenebrean delegation gently, "But, we are in a Galaxy of many different, and varying backgrounds. Cultures differ, and in many ways... have completely alien idealisms behind them."

Xtopher would listen to the Teruvian male, before nodding solemnly. "Such a route of thought is not without understanding in that aspect... and we hold no offence to your statement." He said, giving a gesture towards the coalition Delegation.

“However, can I assume that, Other parties of a certain "Nature" Were not perhaps involved in reaching that conclusion" The Lah,thainian sitting next to the administrative-caste calvara asked.

The Emerald Sword stared at Enrico Hess for a minute before speaking. "An affront to all things civil? As the Coalition just pointed out, from our standard it is completely civil. What makes you the judge of what is and is not acceptable? Our intentionally weak test strike was unacceptable? That we wish to know more of those that surround us, and more importantly which are a threat to us, is unjust?"

"Highly." the Lah,thanian said in response. "enacting contact with those who surround you is Civil, Attacking them however, is not. actions such as "That" is universally seen as a gesture of extreme Aggression and imperialistic intent."

"And there lay the flaw in your argument. I notice you've not made one of these strikes against say... the Union they're as big as you if not bigger. No offence to our hosts of course, but the point must be made. Can anyone else but the Tenebrae say they were targeted for such acts to the extent the Tenebrae have been? If not, then your attack is illogical and fuelled by something other then paranoia of expansion and competition."

Hargun nodded in the validity of the point and gestured to continue. He wanted all the points out in the open before a solution could be found.

"It seems...you had something else in mind." Hess said.

The Teruvian sat back quietly, not exactly snickering... his point had been made... and admittedly, while going around attacking random people could be both good and bad, the people in the room did need to realize something the Coalition had to deal with every day. Races had different backgrounds, different evolutionary prospects, and different cultural idiosyncrasies that would make them 'different' from others. Sometimes it was easy to mesh, other times... not so easy to mesh. Watching the sexually rampant Gadzu interact with the generally asexual Teruvians were one such notable cultural conflict in the Coalition. Cultures viewed things differently, what could be construed as a rampant bar fight to one culture, was a blatant targeted attack to another, and to the other it was a challenge of honour to a worthy opponent. The Teruvian leaned over to the Gadzu and gently muttered these things under his breath, garnering a gentle chuckle from the entire Coalition delegation... trying to force one culture's idealism on others was a sure-fire way to end up with rampant arguments and fights.


The Emerald Sword turned to Hess "The Immortal Empire has worked to be able to predict the actions that a species will make based on nothing but raw data. This is not 100% accurate, but then what is? As it stands, the chance of Tenebrae forcibly expanding its boarders stood at 47.0045% before our pre-emptive test strike. As of right now, with the additional data, it stands at 73.7501%." he then looked towards the Lah,thanian "Universal is it? The Drake of the Cerebians treat any initial, unannounced strike as a simple way of showing power. This is true of many species. It is hardly universal." he then once again turned to Hess, being bombarded by points. “There was no need to attack the Union of Worlds. Attacking them would gain us nothing. It would not start any war earlier. It would not open the table for discussion. There would be no point to it, like there was with attack Tenebrae...” He paused slightly “…like there was with the attack on Tenebrae. And besides, the Union has already been tested by us. Unlike Tenebrae they passed their test.”

Hargun seemed to raise an eyebrow at the statement.

Counsellor Rowan watched the SCC delegate word fence with the I E delegate. Though she looked at the Coalition personal with a bit of a disappointed frown and nearly face palms. But, it was to be expected. That however did not prevent her from feeling what she felt. She rested her face in her paw as she just listened for now.

The Lathanian looked at the emerald sword curiously, not quite in a manner that suggested scolding, but also an amount of pity. Although the majority of its candid face couldn’t easily be read under its mask. "But would it change the fact that they would still view it as an aggressive advance in time, Even a race that follows a warriors Honour system would have to be able to recognize a tactical threat. in that way, while the initial response differs, the end result is usually the same among sentient species in the drive for self preservation, It "Is" Universal in that aspect if said race expects to survive."

“If the attacks continued, then perhaps, depending on what species. The species we called 303.121.4.1 found violence and war to be the greatest of pleasures. There was no ‘honour,’ as you put it. The only reason that they even survived long enough for us to discover them was because of an absurdly high birth and maturity rate. They enjoyed violence so much that even the extinction of their species wasn’t enough to dampen their mood. It was a shame too, they had such interesting architecture.”

The Tenebrean known as pham sat up After Listening to the Lah, thanian diplomat. turning towards the emerald sword from where he sat. making a Gesture that indicated that he wished to speak. "I will repeat the question posed that you have yet to answer." He said. not entirely glaring at the IE diplomat. "Does your civilization consider themselves to be the Judge and jury of the Ancerious galaxy, in their "Albeit poor" Judgements of the empires present, of which you have displayed a clear lack of understanding in terms of resources and territory, which brings up questions towards how much you actually know of us. or do you not? in which case, there would be no "Rational" Reason for the Actions that you have chose to take, which lends further support towards the SSCs argument, That there indeed, is a Secondary Drive to this past what you have told us?"

Hargun stood up “Perhaps then representative of the IE your people should have taken the diplomatic approach anyway. Not only would it have prevented a war between many nations which I may say you will not be able to win, if not for the fact you are outnumbered and out resourced. But it would of also increased your standing and gained you allies, which would mean more trade and the resources you would take in the war, would be gained through trade anyway. And if Tenebrae did turn on you the galactic nations would see Tenebrae as the instigators not you. As everyone here knows the Union of Worlds is one if not the most diplomatically active, well known and diplomatically respected of the galaxy. You could of easily came to us and still can to stop this war and set things straight, that is one of the options you have here open to you both. You must realise this war isn’t going to do anyone any benefits. And me and my superiors see this as a cover for something else, what does the Immortal Empire gain from a war against the galaxy?”

Xtopher turned to Hargun, Looking at him where he stood. "We of the Tenebrean empire would be more then willing to Work with the union in order to come to that conclusion. As its apparent that you Have a greater grasp of our Culture and Technological ability then they can, as it is apparent you don’t base your judgements off of your own follies and short comings. And we thank you for that. We would request it." The Calvara said. Nodding slightly towards the union diplomat respectfully.


Hargun nodded to Xtopher "We have the potential to save thousands if not millions of lives for BOTH sides of this war and all those who may be dragged into it, You do not have to ally however I would be more than happy to help negotiate a cease fire between you two. It all depends on the Immortal Empire now, what is your reply?" Hargun said looking at the Emerald sword.


Pham then turned his attention back towards the Emerald sword, "Xtopher has a valid point... From your own words, You've not given us a Single point of solid Reference towards us in your "Judgement." Of our race. Rather, you've only pointed out that you've used the Technological and cultural limitations of your own and assumed that they applied on a "Universal" scale. something, that is of No offence... A Poor Reference point by most, if not all. comparative standards. As the coalition rep stated, different races have different evolutionary and Cultural development paths. using yours as any sort of Reference of comparison and authority displays a strong deal of hubris on the part of your civilization that, Pardon my saying so, you done nothing to deserve... " the Tenebrean said. leaning forward slightly.

Xtopher paused for a moment as both Hargun and Pham spoke, before responding. "if they would be willing to negotiate a Cease fire, We would be willing to do the same, Provided they leave us and our population alone." The Admininstrative-caste said. Leaning forward to rest his hands on the table, a look of suspicion set on his skeletal face.

Alexanduer remains mostly silent. He didn't really join in the conversation, and merely listened, for the longest time. When he decides to speak, he clears his throat, and says, "If I may."
He says, after a short pause to allow others to turn their attention to him, "I think that it's worth noting that a pre-emptive strike, while admittedly intelligent, is questionable morally. I don't think any one of us here can truly claim mastery of the future, of every future, and therefore none of use can say that we know exactly what is to come. Each and every one of us have free will, and each and every one of our people the same. So this war, to me, seems, while in the name of understanding and pre-emption, quite destructive, and rather needlessly. 'Testing the boundaries,' as it were, should come from free and honest trade of information, not from wanton destruction. Every person in each of our empires deserves his or her own choice in this world, and by waging war we eliminate their choices one by one. With every life snuffed out, every weapon fired- our future, the future of this GALAXY, changes irreversibly. When people such as us expand into this new galaxy, we must become more than we were, more than we ever thought we could be. We, here today, are the representatives of millions of years of history, of military might beyond all imagining- of races as old and as young as one could believe. And- no one of use should choose, due only to curiosity or fear, to disrespect this history and this power. So I think- and it's safe to say my people are behind me with this- that all of this needs to stop. That war, especially amongst peoples so civilized as us, needs to be curbed, and avoided at all costs."
He finishes his speech, and having realized that's what it was- he hadn't originally meant to talk that long- he sits down, not remembering having stood up, and then says, "We should all want freedom and safety for our peoples- that should be the penultimate goal of all cultures. And war, plain and simple, countermands that goal."

"And if any of you decide that you disagree, then all I ask- is that you offer your civilians a choice. The offer of the coalition is quite kind, but I'll add to it- my borders are open to any and all who wish to escape this war, their nations. They will find refuge and safety in our homes and cities. And this offer will stand as long as war and oppression remains a factor in this galaxy”

Hargun smiled and nodded in recognition to the Adectu reps. The speech had been very good and Hargun admired them greatly “I concur, that and the Unions borders will be open to, I suspect we will be working close with the Adectu to help any civilians in Ancerious that are in need, If you would allow that of course?” Hargun asked.

The Emerald Sword turned from Hargun, to the Tenebraen Representatives, to Hess before speaking, “You three have accused the Immortal Empire of having an ulterior motive behind our attack. There was none. We enacted our test and waited to see the results. The result being the destruction of a planet, its population, and a system being ruined almost beyond repair. It was only through happen stance that we where able to repair the damage done. This result gave us all the information we needed.
It would have been detrimental for us to use the diplomatic approach. If we had started with such a course, it would have only delayed the war. We would have eventually reached the same conclusion, and then have been forced to strike first, as to avoid a more massive war. This would prove quite detrimental to our standing in the eyes of others. Now we are not perceived in the best light, but the other course would be far worse for us. No one would wish to align or ally themselves to those that attack their allies.” He turned to Hargun once more “You wish to save millions of lives that currently live in the here and now, which is admirable. But we are acting to save so many more. I’m sure by now that the territories of the largest of us here are already capable of supporting trillions of lives. Think of how many more there will be in a thousand years time. How much more massive and destructive our fleets and weapons would be. How much more devastating this war would be then, rather than now. We will not be seeking peace at this time. We may at some point, when certain conditions are met, but not before.” The Emerald Sword then turned to face Pham “Then you misunderstood me. I merely countered the point regarding the ability to manipulate matter as a reason that a ‘war of resources’ wouldn’t happen. Nothing more or less. We use no scale, only data. When we lack data, our predictions become less accurate. So we work to gather more information. Hence the test.”

Laramar spoke at this point his tone resonating of every surface and echoing throughout the chamber. "I must agree with Alexanduer" he said nodding towards the mentioned. "This galaxy has seen enough war over its lifetime, enough hatred and destruction. Enough races annihilated without cause and enough civilians killed without warrant. Having lived through and seen many of these atrocities and wars, I ask you my friends, to end it with us. End this cycle of war and destruction and allow Ancerious to finally be at peace. Think of the lives we can save by preventing but one war, together we can work towards the peace of Ancerious and forge a future for all of our nations." Laramar finished, remaining calm and collected in stature.

At this point Reik was beginning to fume at some of the things being thrown around the room, especially the fact that an empire would use data compilation as an excuse for an attack. He waited to say anything, wanting some more to say before he said it.

Hargun frowned, an offer of galactic peace had just been openly rejected. They had the audacity to spit on the Unions offer... even in front of all these other representatives. Hargun looked to both of his captains, Lydia and Volkus. He knew what each was thinking as they looked back, Lydia wanted war. That much was wholly obvious as she wanted to execute the Emerald Sword right now. Volkus seemed more worried, he was thinking on war grounds, about casualties and the logistics of such a pointless conflict. Hargun merely frowned, he looked into the eyes of the various reps. He could see Tenebrae was furious, as well Carnaith. The SSC looked disappointed, so too did the Adectu, Drakes, Trinova and various others. Only the Coalition didn’t really looked like they cared. Hargun merely looked at the Emerald Sword “You do realise you rejected peace in front of all these nations here? Our aim here was to achieve peace between us, create a better tomorrow. But you have rejected that. That is your choice, but do not expect reprieve. Many of those here will base their opinions on that very move. Choose your next words wisely. Not for your sake but for the diplomatic sake of your empire and its people” Hargun said with a seriousness few had seen.

Hess watched the back and forth between the Tenebrae, IE and Union as it progressed. The central point of debate seemed to change, essentially evolve from the first open exchange to the current offering of a proverbial olive branch.  "It is most certain that this would be the best time to put an end to a conflict that benefits the few and certainly stands to sow misery to the many. The alternative is unthinkable... however..."  Hess found himself interrupted by the presence of one of his assistants who interrupted by placing a hand on his left shoulder leaning in to whisper something into the diplomat’s ear. “What are you sure?” More hushed whispers continued before the assistant handed Hess a moderate sized box of the sort that often contained data-rods for distribution. The short conversation was entirely enough to ignore whatever it was the emerald Sword was saying. Hess nodded to the assistant who seemed to melt away into the shadows of the room before turning back to the room clearly a bit shaken by whatever the news was.
“I have just received word, of an incident… That is, I must now ask the Immortal Empire to explain why they felt it was a good idea to attempt to deliver numerous deployment devices across SSC territory all of which contained a virulent semi or completely sentient biological pathogen? I may add it is a waste of your time to deny such an action, I have here copies of the investigation of the launched delivery vehicles upon capture, the technology is clearly of your people’s manufacture.”

Hargun looked shocked at the sudden news "Is this true?" He turned to the IE rep.

"Have with me straight from High command twenty detailed copies of the incident reports and studies of the captured devices as evidence of this severe transgression. Any who asks may claim a copy for their own study."

Reik's eyes widened, as well as his assistants, the Carnaithian Fox one's ears perked, and Reik's face went from shock to anger, but he kept his mouth shut... for now. Reik sent one of his assistants across the room to the SSC delegate, and began reviewing it when it got to him.

Xtopher choose that moment to add the information that his own people had gained in the recent events of things back within their own home systems.  "i would also like to interject with news of a Captured device that was recovered within our "Capital" system. A briefcase, which was recovered from an agent of unknown decent and name. a briefcase... Quantum storage field tech built into it... but further scans with Advanced equipment by Black blade units have Detected IE energy and equipment signatures within the storage unit. The agent killed himself soon after within custody, cause of death was a trained neural liquidation. would you care to Answer questions regarding that device?"

The Stromian sitting with the Tenebrean delegates raised a thick arm in a gesture towards Hess. "If we may request one?" the rhino like alien asked in an accent heavy voice.

Hargun nodded too "We would also like a copy"

"As would we" Terran called out from the drake's group

"And I" Laramar boomed.

"And we will too" The IRS rep shouted out. Despite staying out of the war the IRS still wanted more details on any potential event, especially the use of advanced chemical weapons. But for now they were content to sit back and watch.

"Of course." Hess nodded and his assistants began to distribute the data rods to the interested parties.. wait where did his assistants even come from? It was as if they appeared and disappeared as needed...creepy. None the less Hess would wait until the requests were fulfilled before commenting again.  "A select few of the objects remain under stasis while all new occurrences due to the probable nature of the agent contained within are as I have been told being utterly irretrievably destroyed at an undisclosed site of an anomaly. Thus far...twelve such objects. all propelled by solar sails and designed to not be seen...all aimed at critical stations and planets..."

The door opened in the hangar and four figures made their way through and towards their respective spot. Two of the figures being much larger than the other two individuals but they moved as if they were one mind and stood just behind the two smaller individuals. Their armour was a clear indication of who they were from being none other than the Mars Empire's Royal Guard. The two smaller figures were then easy to identify being none other than Ambassador Drogan and General Templar. As soon as they made it to their respective spots Templar and Drogan sat down in their chairs while the two royal guards when to a guard like position just behind them not moving at all like statues but ready to defend Templar and Drogan from any sudden attacks though such a thing was standard procedure.

Hargun nodded "Welcome members of the Mars Empire, good to have you here, You have come at a rather high tension time of debate... over the current galactic war..."


(THIS IS EPIC AND IT IS GOING SO WELL THANKS EVERYONE WE CAN SERIOUSLY MAKE THIS MORE EPIC STILL)
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Faux Propaganda Art

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 8:52 PM






Propaganda I by Yuujakumi



by techgnotic

The Comfort of Mindless Obedience


When is information true and useful and when is it just “propaganda?” Why in fact is an image or phrase or animated art sequence “propaganda” rather than it simply being a “lie?” What about acceptable lies that define our society as much as they degrade it - - for example commercials that obviously hype a product with untruths or political advertisements full of unachievable platitudes.










It can be instructive to look back at the early days of “mass society” and the need to impart vital national information before the ubiquitous presence of personal radios, televisions and telephones in every citizen’s home. World War I and World War II provided the framework worldwide for the mass “propaganda poster.” It’s amazing how similar the mass propaganda posters of the warring nations were – in their patriotic images just as much as in their simplistic messages of sacrifice and belief in the cause. Many are familiar with Uncle Sam, born in WWI and Rosie the Riveter from WWI, whose “Yes, we can,” was repurposed in the 60s and again recently as an Obama campaign maxim.




The messages seem simple and quaint today, instilling the glow of some kind of nostalgia. Yes, the point of propaganda was always to get us back in line, onto the straight and narrow for God and country or for country and religion alone, the conundrum that the opposition were doing the same was easily handleable without too much intellectual athleticism. In fact, sometimes mass conformity feels good – like a U2 concert. We’re being sold that something is way more important that it really is, but we don’t mind … so it’s “propaganda” as opposed to being a “lie.”







We’re being sold that something is way more important that it really is, but we don’t mind … so it’s “propaganda” as opposed to being a “lie.”











propaganda by ~DrabRats




“Us” vs. “Them”


In researching the subject the Mass Propaganda Poster didn’t make it through the Vietnam War era. If it showed anywhere as a graphic equivalency, it was on anti-war T-shirts. It wasn’t just improved TV technology and the daily coverage of that national struggle (in the jungles of Nam and the streets of American cities). It was also that the war was too confusing, to ambiguous, to be reduced to the simple “us” vs. “them” formula of the two wars that had come before. So iconic poster art of young American men fighting evil devils wasn’t just ineffectual, but insultingly simplistic.


So instead, the mass propaganda art posters of the 60s were the psychedelic rock-n-roll posters promoting the new phenomenon of guitar heroes. The cultural “war” it seems was better suited to the creativity of simple iconic poster art than the complex disaster of war. Of course, the use of mass propaganda in posters was reaching a zenith at the same time in China as part of the Cultural Revolution in every home, every workplace and every government operation.











Today, while “actual” political propaganda posters are still occasionally put out on the street of our cities to vex the establishment by artists like Robbie Conal, there is the new phenomenon, best exemplified by artist Shepard Fairey’s “OBEY” posters and stickers, of “faux (false) propaganda art,” which mocks and comments on the very concept of mass propaganda itself. The artworks often call up classic images from the “loose lips sink ships” days of war era propaganda to stir our patriotic fervor for battling the Sith and joining in other causes. Star Wars and Star Trek are favorite subjects used for the primary context of these fake posters, as well as many video games and movie and TV franchises. Faux propaganda memes are a regular subject for deviantART satirists as can be seen on this page.




Faux propaganda art has an eerie vibe – like playing with fire. Remember, this was the stuff utilized, for real, by feared despots to drive others to countenance the murder of millions. But now it seems so childishly safe in its simple messages. One has a feeling of nostalgia, even – as if any evil has been sapped from the subject, and with the viewer being a survivor of a bygone era. We are no doubt being manipulated and “sold” on more contemporary issues by more sophisticated means of mass propaganda flooding our brains daily – but at least these colorful beasts from the past are easily mastered for our simple enjoyment.





Once again, Do we have any scholars out there who might shed an even more educative light on the subject?


Has anyone been studying or reading extensively about the history of Propaganda Art? Would love to hear opinions, analysis and corrections from those of you even more familiar with the history of propaganda art than I.








CommentaryFrom deviantART's Advisor in Chief


The notion of “faux propaganda” is false because it remains propaganda. When my kids asked me what I did during the Vietnam War, my answer was that I fought the war against the war in Vietnam; and that my side won. The strongest image I have of that movement is, of course, the peace sign. The second strongest is a raised red fist. The first of these symbols was borrowed from the anti-nuclear movement of the very early 1960’s. The second was borrowed from communist propaganda posters of the 1920’s and possibly earlier.


Sheppard Fairey’s Obama poster was propaganda - - for good, I believe, just like the peace sign - - even though it owes its context to posters of Moa Tse Tung and the now high art of Andy Warhol. The red fist was propaganda for bad as it was to become to be understood and then it was used for good, as I believed; and will likely be considered bad or good again in another round of propaganda to come. But what’s interesting to me is that the stylized look of a Moa poster, the peace sign and the raised fist will always be considered propagandistic in a Pavlovian sense. You see them and you know them to be propaganda.


makepictures


QuestionsFor the Reader


  1. Do you like modern faux propaganda art or does anything recalling the Horrors of past wars still seem inappropriate as an art subject – if only because of possible inadvertent trivialization?
  2. Do you think faux war propaganda posters for movies like Star Wars raise real issues about the danger of war (like in Star Wars) ever being presented, even subconsciously, as “fun?”
  3. Are there examples of modern mass postering (like the Obama “HOPE” political posters) that still send “real” and effective messages and information?
  4. What about your own politics drives your feelings on this subject and artform?






When is information true and useful and when is it just “propaganda?” Why in fact is an image or phrase or animated art sequence “propaganda” rather than it simply being a “lie?” What about acceptable lies that define our society as much as they degrade it - - for example commercials that obviously hype a product with untruths or political advertisements full of unachievable platitudes.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
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2012: Year of the Dragon
















According to the Chinese zodiac, 2012 has ushered in the year of the dragon upon the world stage.


In addition to occupying an ages old position in our cultural consciousness, legend and folklore surrounding
the dragon mythology has long been firing the kiln of our dreams with fright and menace. When we are speaking of
Dragons, we are speaking from ancient texts gathered form the beginnings of kept records of any kind and from all
points of the Earth Sphere.


In a time before modern science and anthropology, farmers tilling their fields and
fishermen drawing their nets would find amazements that struck them with fear and awe: fanged serpentine skulls
larger than the tallest man, along with other bones indicating powerfully-taloned creatures taller than the treetops.
All creation itself was assumed to be no more than several dozen human generations’ lifetimes’ long, so the idea
of dinosaur remains from 200 million years ago was beyond the most educated human comprehension of the time. The
mind of ancient man must have been reeling.







Dragon by TheMinttuDragon Mage by kerembeyitLava Dragon by kerembeyitBahamut by GENZOMAN


What were these creatures? Monsters? Gods?! And more pressing: Did they still walk the earth? (Or fly above the clouds?)  
In what remote lairs could they be found?  Mountaintop keeps?  Inside volcanoes?  Living deep beneath the oceans?






Believable stories, legends, mythos had to be created to help humans
calm their fears and place these terrifying beings within some kind of manageable
context in their lives and societies.

The dragon mythos was born.












Although ancient Europeans imagined their dragons to be originated from the seas (like the terrifying “sea serpents” and
giant octopuses and squids that haunted the seafaring Europeans’ nightmares) and the Chinese and Far Easterners imagined their
dragons to have flown forth from volcanoes, spewing the volcanic fire that was their birthright – what is remarkable about
dragons is their ubiquitous presence in the myths and legends and historic consciousnesses of peoples and societies all over
the world. "Dragon” is an instantly understood idea and image held in common by every person currently alive. Dragons have continued
to evolve as frightful symbols of nature’s overwhelming destructive forces, far beyond the defenses of humankind, on down through the millennia.





Of course, in our warp-speed modern times, just when science might be thought powerful enough to finally “explain away” the “dragon”
skulls and forever vanish the monsters from our fitful dreams – we, being the fun humans that we are, have decided to embrace The Dragon
in our pop consciousness like never before, even transforming him (and her) from a force of destruction into a friend and protector (as in
Anne McCaffrey, George R. R. Martin, and Harry Potter novels and many highly-grossing films and video games). It would seem that while we
as intelligent beings value our scientific discoveries, we value just as much our marvelously crafted and generationally passed-down stories, myths and legends.




Thus: Our Dragons will live forever!




Grimbelly by kerembeyit:thumb99595873:Quetzalcoatl by GENZOMANHydra 2 by el-grimlock









Questions for the Reader




1

What aspect of the “dragon” most fascinates you personally? The mystery of their possible actual reality (now or long ago)?
The amazing worldwide span of the “dragon story” and belief as well as the millennial timespan of the legends? Or simply the
the incredible fun that fills the dragon stories and artful depictions?






2

Do you think science ruins wonderful myths like “dragons”?  Or can science and mythic consciousness exist side by side if both are respected, appreciated and given their due?







3

Which dragon story or depiction most influenced your childhood?










4

What is your first impression of a person you see wearing dragon jewelry?





:thumb201999787:Spirit of the Dragon by KellyMorgenJewelryChinese dragon pendant by ukapalaIce Dragon Necklace by foowahu-etsy



5

If a living dragon were discovered to be living in an Icelandic volcano, what impact do you think this would make on our world?  What if because they emerged in Iceland, Bjork and Robbie Rotten were designated as our human ambassadors to the upper echelon of an emerging dragon society?









6

If we ever needed to, who, in your opinion do you think we should assign this most important of positions, specific and depending of course on which Volcano in what part of the world they were to emerge from?  And why would they be best for the job?









The Monster in The Mirror

Thu Oct 17, 2013, 6:09 PM






A Pop Culture Interpretation of The Supernatural


Every culture around the world created gods and other mythical beings by mixing and matching fanged and taloned animal parts—e.g., enormous eagle heads on lions’ bodies—human beings have always seemed to need to believe there are powerful and usually quite vengeful supernatural beings lurking just beyond the candlelight.











Supernatural beings come to serve several purposes:




  • They kept people on the lighted path of truth and goodness, fearful of exploring beyond;
  • They were a reminder of the punishment we deserved for our sins;
  • They were a way of analyzing primal drives and their consequences by creating stories about the gods.







Above all, the monsters we created, gods and devils, were reflections of everything evil or destructive we feared might be hidden deeply within ourselves.











Since the beginning of the Twentieth Century, films have been our collective monster factory, reflecting a rough idea of our deepest fears at any given time—fears exposed on film for necessary cathartic ritual showings. A brief survey of the monsters of our last century tells us a lot about what our civilization was thinking about each night when the lights went out.



The first supernatural content in silent movies tended to fixate on witchcraft. But it was Dracula and Frankenstein in 1931 that rescued Universal Studios from the Great Depression and redefined “the monster movie” forever. Horror icons Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi would establish the vampire and the reanimated dead as the templates for monster creation. The Universal monsters of the 1930s and 1940s reflected the Depression and World War II.


It seemed a golden future made possible through science had somehow gone horribly wrong and thrown us back further than when we started out. Science could be dangerous. And perhaps the mysticism of religion shouldn’t be abandoned so cavalierly.















The nuclear cloud of the atomic bombing of Japan hung over most the monster movies of the 1950s. The vampires, werewolves and mummies of the decades before could be fought and defeated with an American purity of heart and re-established trust in higher powers, but the imminent worldwide nuclear holocaust caused a new monster to be born from the irradiated waters of Japan.


We can thank the bomb for

 

Godzilla

 

and the many other enormous city-crushing Japanese monsters.












Dracula and Frankenstein faded away.


Universal only managed to launch one new bona fide “monster”:


The Creature From the Black Lagoon






He was Godzilla Light. In Hollywood, Roger Corman produced low-budget irradiated critters flicks like Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957). The studios followed the Japanese, unleashing the following menaces all super-sized by radiation leaks: Ants, Leeches, Wasps, a Tarantula, a Mantis, a Scorpion, Shrews, Spiders and a Blob.


Nuclear war and radiation were what was on our minds in the 1950s, and our gigantic monsters reflected the overwhelming immensity of the fear.








The violence and upheaval of the 1960s climaxing in Vietnam brought the British Hammer Studios monster movies into vogue featuring massive infusions of nudity, bloody violence and random cruelty. The Hammer Dracula and Frankenstein monsters completely lacked any subtlety.












The 80s gave us the Reagan era tough love reaction against youthful sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll culture perceived to have run amok. The President had three Dark Knights to lead the charge against fun:


Jason, Michael & Freddy







These three new monsters from, respectively, Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street, and a plague of their sequels worked the formula of exploiting stories of unsupervised stoned teens getting it on to rake in ticket sales—while at the same time driving home the Reagan-tough point of the morality tale by having one of the three knights slaughter the offending sex and drug-partaking kids in his own ultra-violent signature fashion. The new monster was an immortal force of nature—actually, two:  the ravenous male testosterone-driven libido and its complement, a psychotic religious guilt over each eruption of that libido.


Jason, Michael and Freddy can never die because the teen sex and guilt conundrum can never die.  It is the forever formula for human and box office regeneration.













In the late 1980s and 1990s, the Soviet Union and its satellite socialist states collapsed. While the Three Knights continued their slaughter of wasted youth domestically, a second track was opened in the American psyche, in monster terms. The USA had lost its grand Other. With no Soviet Union, who was our main enemy seeking to invade? With no military force on Earth strong enough to scare Americans awake at night, thoughts migrated to Outer Space. And two new monster prototypes vied for the title of Other.







Pop sociologists are now struggling with the outer space derivation of the Alien-Alien, Predator-Alien (not to mention the inundation of zombie hordes and space-based aliens rising out of the Pacific) What do they represent in our mass subconscious:


  • A longing for an outside nemesis that all humanity worldwide can unite in fighting, or;

  • Are they stand-ins for each countries' definition of the ‘Other’?










Delightful


Creatures & Monsters


From the Collective Subconscious of deviantART













There was the



Predator



alien.








There was the Giger-designed



Alien



alien.















Questions


For the Reader









Do you prefer your scary movies to feature individual bad guys like vampires, or mass assault forces like zombie outbreaks?



Which horror film storyline do you believe has the most truth to it. What makes possession so much more believable than say ghostly hauntings going bump in the night?



Is it the monster or the story that holds you pinned to the edge of your seat?





Do the psychological underpinnings of why we respond to certain subconscious primal fears as well as to new fears just beneath the surface of our consciousness interest you? Or is a scary movie just a scary movie?



What was the first monster movie that really terrified you?









Every culture around the world created gods and other mythical beings by mixing and matching fanged and taloned animal parts—e.g., enormous eagle heads on lions’ bodies—human beings have always seemed to need to believe there are powerful and usually quite vengeful supernatural beings lurking just beyond the candlelight.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos   
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Reading
So impersonal until I knew the author.
His words struck me like a cord of music.
Awe inspiring.
Do I believe him now? Yes.

Feeling
To believe these that are inside me.
To not hold back the hopeless romantic that I am due to fear of getting hurt again.
To open my vulnerability to my best friend who has only just discovered my existence.
For him, I will try.

Touching
His heart.
His soul.
His mind.
His body.

Freedom
Is to be there for him because I know he needs it just as much as me.
Is not letting him take the brunt of the abuse, even if he thinks it will help.
Is tenderly kissing him no matter how my friends feel.
Is the goal both of us are striving for.

He is finally mine, and I am not letting that go.
  • Mood: Wow!
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Goodbye baggage. I don't need you.
Be smushed and crushed and demolished in some other place.
My heart is not for you. My soul is not for you.
I don't need your clutter anymore.
Goodbye baggage.
You do not deserve my tears. My emotions shall not be focused on you anymore.
I will grow from this. For every destruction allows for new life to grow.
The seeds of hope have been planted. Soon they will sprout with new thoughts.
New words. Softer thoughts. Kindness towards myself and other.
Peace will ingrain itself into my psyche that I will have no choice but to be calm.
Emotions will be pure. Happiness will flow without being forced.
If I want to smile, I will. If I don't, I won't. These are my life rules now.
Goodbye baggage. I wish you the best of your destructive life.
Breathe.
Calm.
Breathe.
Love.
Breathe.
Open.
Breathe.
Stand.
Breathe.
Step.
Breathe.
Step.
Breathe.
Move forward.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Just need a Little Bit of Everything
  • Reading: My words
  • Watching: My screen
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By Kasandra A. Poindexter
For Ben Pruitt

Sleepy actions can be just as open and truthful as those of a drunken man.

Much more healthy for the body, for sure.

Last night ~ priceless.

He asked me what I thought of his sweet nothings - worried I was bothered by his giant romantic streak - NEVER!

Muttering, half asleep, that I of course adored his words sweeter than honey; I asked for more, something I never asked for when awake.

I asked for his love for me.

I can only imagine what he felt at my curled up figure saying that cuddled against his warm body.

As we began. Tangled the next morning he brought up the whispers in the night.

Both terrified of rejection, our youth, and the devotion required for those words...

We love.
  • Mood: Love
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I ____ you.
You have (a) nice ______.
You make me _______.
You should _______.
Someday I will ______.
You + me = ________.
If I saw you now I'd __________.
I want to ________ you.
I would build a _______ just for you.
If I could sing you any song it would be _________.
We could __________ under the stars.
Love,_______________(P.S. ______________.)
Oh and I am __________ (going/not going) to post this in my journal and see what you write about me.
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I have an idea for Halloween. Of course. My parents don't want me drawing on myself or wearing kaiju eye contacts.
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Yep, it's been awhile. But I really don't want to post any more art at the moment, not until it's good enough to be posted. It might be awhile.


and I have some new characters. All some form of CP.

Dark Abyss- formerly Victoria Ashley, a repetitive amnesiac who snapped after her best friend Sherry Abernathy was killed by Ethan the Hunter.
Ethan the Hunter- Ethan Hunt went insane after a plane crash and started to hunt down and kill his former friends.
Pinemyn- Pretty much just a female SlenderMan. 'PineWoman' just sounded like a stupid superhero name, and Pinemen makes zero sense, so I'll just call her Pinemyn.
Nasrin Blackwood- Another plane crash survivor, she was the pilot of a commercial airliner. She crashed on an island in the Bermuda Triangle and now fights for her survival against every CP in existence.
Helen- an orphaned girl who now stalks the streets of Los Angeles armed with a meat cleaver.
there are other useless characters who died, so they're not as important.
  • Mood: Joy
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Regarding the debate of whether comic artists should continue selling unauthorized prints/sketches of characters they don't own, I think Bissette and his legal advisor are 100% correct.  So from now on, I won't be doing any sketches or commissions at shows of any character that I don't own.  Am I rolling over in fear of Marvel?  Maybe, but as it states below, they're in their legal right to come after me if there's ever a dispute.  I love to complain about the Big Two, but I can't (in good conscience) get upset at them if I'm breaking the rules myself.  Being DC exclusive, maybe I can get a waiver that allows me to sketch DC characters, so I'll keep you updated.

From Steve Bissette's FB page:

ALERT, ALL COMICS CREATORS: With permission, I'm quoting key points my dear friend and own legal advisor/contract consultant (since 1992) Jean-Marc Lofficier raised on his posts to a Yahoo forum discussing Ty Templeton's cartoon concerning the Gary Friedrich v Marvel judgment. Jean-Marc succinctly notes WHY this judgment has changed EVERYTHING for anyone who has worked for Marvel, or what this judgment changes (probably irrevocably) about the landscape for all concerned:

"...with all due respect to Ty, he's talking (drawing?) out of his ass.

So to clarify again, here is what I thought is important to remember here:

1) This is the first time Marvel is using convention sales of copyrighted Marvel characters as a "weapon". They are of course perfectly entitled to do so, legally speaking. But it does mean that, from now on, all of you here who draw sketches of Marvel characters for money at conventions or sell sketchbooks containing pictures of Marvel characters are on notice that you might be sued (usually for triple the amount you made) should Marvel decide to go after you.

My legal advice to you guys is simple: STOP and destroy all sketchbooks for sale with copyrighted materials in it. I'm serious. You've just been put on notice by this case.

[Note: In a followup comment to a question on the matter of selling sketches/sketchbooks at conventions featuring Marvel characters, Jean-Marc added:]

If Disney and/or Marvel have a policy to deal with that sort of business, I would encourage anyone planning to sell sketches, etc. to contact them and obtain a waiver or a permission of some kind under that program.

Ivan is incorrect about one thing: Disney, if not Marvel, does have a full office staffed with para legals of young lawyers whose only job is to look for copyright/tm infringements and send C&D (cease & desist) letters. I have seen them. They don't do it for the money or to be a pain the the ass, they do it based on the legal theory that if you don't actively protect your (c)/tm, you run the risk of it being used against you as an affirmative defense in an infringement case.

Based on the GHOST RIDER case, it is, in my opinion, only a matter of time until Disney, now aware of the issue, sends one of their young attorneys with a stash of blank C&D letters at conventions and start handing them out to everyone selling Marvel sketches without authorization.

Receiving that letter will oblige you to hire a lawyer and even if Disney lets you off the hook (which they probably will), you might be out of a couple of grands by the time the process is over -- or you run the risk of being stuck with a $15K bill if you fight them.

Again, I emphasize: this is sound business practice for Disney; NOT doing it entails risks far greater than doing it. They have gone after children's nurseries before which had Mickey painted on their walls for the same exact legal reason. And that was far more time consuming and bad PR-wise that going after some comic book guys at artist's alleys.

It is only a matter of time.

So if they have a waiver/permission program as Ivan says, join it; if not, stop.

[Back to Jean-Marc's original, full post:]

2) Although there never was any serious dispute that Marvel owned whatever share of GR Gary Friedrich was claiming (personally, I'm not a mind reader but I think Friedrich was hoping for some kind of settlement), there remains two legal issues that Ty obviously didn't grasp:

2.1) When Moebius drew his SILVER SURFER with Stan Lee, he got royalties and he was still getting them when Starwatcher split in 2000. You will note that modern-day WFH agreements spell out that the money you're getting will be the sole compensation you will ever receive and you're not entitled to anything else. It is spelled out because if it is not, courts are at liberty to interpret the contract and decide whether or not you should be gettong something extra.

The back-of-the-check contract signed by Gary did transfer ownership of GR to Marvel, and the amount of that check was the consideration for publishing rights, but nowhere did it actually state (as it does today) that it was the ONLY consideration to which Gary might be entitled in the event of a film or a TV series. The Court could have easily decided that on the absence of that clause, Gary was owed something.

2.2.) There is a famous case about singer Peggy Lee who won her suit against Disney for their reuse of her songs in LADY & THE TRAMP on video, because that medium didn't exist when she signed her original agreement with the Mouse, and contracts at that time didn't specify the now standard "and other media to be invented in the future". The Court chose to interpret that lack of specificity in favor of Peggy Lee. When Marvel sold the rights to GR to the studio which produced it, they likely sold the video, DVD and game rights. These media did not exist when Friedrich signed his back of the check contract which did not list any and all future media. Therefore, based on the Peggy Lee case, the Court could have found that Marvel didn't own those rights, and therefore couldn't resell them, or, as in the Peggy Lee case, simply that they owe the plaintiff some kind of percentage, that's all.

So it remains my contention that Marvel owes "something" to Friedrich (and Ploog as well) based not on the publishing, but purely on the disposition of the multimedia rights to GR. That the Judge decided otherwise is a tough break for creators, and unjust.

3) Which brings me to my next point, which is that documentary standards are being unfairly applied throughout the judicial system, and somehow mistakes always seem to favor the corporations, not the small guy. The enforceability of a contract depends on accurate documentation which must be produced in Court. If you have a mortgage, but the bank cannot produce your properly signed promissory note, then the court has the possibility of nullifying your mortgage. It's happened in a few rare cases, but more often than not, people have been thrown out of their homes despite banks being unable to produce a properly signed note.

In this case, has any of you seen the back of the check signed by Friedrich?
Was that check properly endorsed? Was there anything crossed out? Why should mistakes in documentation automatically benefit the corporations, and the little guy should be held to standards of evidence that the companies themselves don't respect? Why did the Judge assume that the paperwork was in order & automatically benefited Marvel? What I'm saying is, if people can lose their homes despite proper paperwork, well, then, Marvel could lose GR despite its paperwork. It's up to the Court.

So whether or not you feel any sympathy for Gary and his cause, this is another loss for the Little Guy which, in the greater scheme of things, impacts all of us."

SPREAD THE WORD. SPREAD THIS LINK.

And QUIT doing, creating, selling ANY sketches or sketchbooks or prints featuring Marvel/Disney characters, IMMEDIATELY. And let fans know WHY you are no longer doing them, and/or CANNOT do them ever again.
  • Listening to: Charlie Rose
  • Reading: Trotsky
  • Watching: Top Gear UK
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There are lots of tips, chestnuts, and other pieces of advice that I've heard over the years--tidbits of wisdom passed on from one generation to the next, from professional to professor to prospective student.  Some of them are drawing tips, some of them are tricks to dealing with publishers, and some are general guidelines on how to survive in comics. Most of them are useful and true and will stand the test of time, but a few of them  have become hackneyed platitudes and have gone unquestioned for too long. Here are 5 that I'm questioning...

1. READERS WILL ONLY LOOK AT A PANEL FOR 5 SECONDS, SO DON'T SWEAT IT TOO MUCH.

I understand the intention of this bit of wisdom, and I mostly agree with it: drawing great interiors is important, but at the same time, you don't want to get bogged down with small details that most readers won't even notice.

But here's my concern with this: if you treat every panel like it's disposable, then you're less likely to make an impact with readers.

Think of it this way: even if readers ONLY look at a panel for 5 seconds, and your book sells 20,000 copies, then that tiny panel you were fretting over will be looked at for 100,000 seconds, which is around 28 hours of total viewing time. So, if you have the time and energy, try not to phone it in.

If the art is good enough then people will look longer than 5 seconds; readers will appreciate your extra effort even if they don't see every detail. And if you get REALLY good--if your art is thoughtful, layered, and compelling enough to withstand a second, third or forth viewing without falling apart-- then other artists will study you, which means they might be looking over your panels for hours.

2. TO BE A PRO, YOU NEED TO BE AT LEAST 2 OF THESE 3 THINGS: TALENTED, NICE, OR ON TIME.

I wish this was true. In fact, I wish that a professional artist had to be ALL 3 of these things in order to succeed--but they don't.

If you're talented enough, then you don't need to be timely or nice. Proof? We all know that some creators are always late. And on Twitter, we often see these same creators acting unsavory. So why do they have careers? It's because they're talented and sell well--publishers see them as an asset are willing to put up with difficult/late creators if the sales are high.

Keep in mind I'm not giving anyone full license blow deadlines and act like a jerk. If you can be all 3 of these things, you're better off. I've always liked this bit of wisdom, but I'd like to adjust it:

For me, success is...
70% talent
10% being nice/easy to work with
10% being on time
10% blind luck.

The numbers are all subjective, of course.

3. IF YOUR PAGES ARE GOOD, THEN EDITORS/PUBLISHERS WILL NOTICE.

You can be the best artist on the planet, and some editors/publishers might not see it. They tend to respond more to sales figures, internet hype, and buzz by the office water cooler. It's frustrating, but understandable. At least to me.

Try to keep in mind that most editors aren't trained as artists, they're trained as administrators and coordinators. They worry about shipping books out, not about facial expressions, mood lighting and fish-eye lensing--that's your job. Most editors are swamped with more work than they can handle, and they work for publishers who have hundreds of creators to keep track of. Getting dozens of books out on time is a difficult task, and while most everyone at these companies makes a genuine effort to put out a good, consistent product, sometimes things fall through the cracks. Plot lines don't come together, books ship late, and sometimes valuable talent gets overlooked.

So if you think you're talented, and you're frustrated that editors aren't noticing, don't take it personally. Hang in there, keep plugging away, and if you're truly talented, eventually someone will notice.

And if you meet a talented editor who DOES have an eye for art--someone like my friend Mark Doyle who edits me on The Wake--stick with him.

4. DRAW EVERY DAY.

Yes--practice, practice, practice. But once in a while, take a break and PURPOSELY let your drawing skills erode. When you relearn them, you'll come back a bit stronger.

This job is demanding, and if you're not careful you can end up in a sweaty, nervous, nail-bitten mess as you struggle to hit your deadlines. When you're in this state, you're probably putting out B level work. You start making mistakes you don't see while developing other bad artistic habits. Your style becomes stale and incestuous (when was the last time you actually LOOKED at a photo ref of a tricep?). And when you're in this state, you're usually not growing as an artist because your main goal is output--things are going out, nothing is going in.

Taking a break from drawing and letting your skills erode seems counter productive, but it's a good way to ditch bad habits and re-approach your style in new ways. It's like when master chess players set up matches with amateur players--they end up learning more about chess when the game gets shaken up.

5. DON'T GOSSIP.

It's naive to think you can avoid gossip, so I say embrace it in a healthy way. Gossip is a commodity, and it should be traded just like any other commodity.

I know "gossip" is a dirty word. And yes, gossip can often lead to useless, Jersey Shore style hen-pecking. But there's a lot of good information in gossip, and I don't see the shame in filtering it in a fair, balanced, and mature manner to help you make better decisions. Gossip can create friendships, solidify loyalty, help you avoid swindlers, spread helpful memes, weed out unsavory trends and raise awareness about issues that need fixing.

The "women in comics" issue is a perfect example of gossip being well utilized. The information came along with a lot of mud slinging, of course, but at the end of the day we've all had our awareness raised, and it's a good thing.

The trick is to utilize useful gossip while discarding TMZ style gossip. There's an art to it, and getting good at it requires practice. If you can ignore it--fine. But it might be worth listening in every now and then.
To many people in comics, I only arrived a few years ago with Joe the Barbarian. Then came Hellblazer (completed in 2008 before I began working on Joe), American Vampire: SOTF, and finally Punk Rock Jesus. Once in a while someone will mention Off Road (an OGN I did with Oni back in 2004), but for the most part it seems like I've been published only these last few years when in fact I've been published professionally for a decade now.

This isn't a plea to have everyone go back through my previous work--in fact, I'm glad that a lot of the books I've done over the years aren't on readers' radars. I'm proud of it all, but the books above are a nice, tight group of titles to be associated with. They're all in a similar brand, they're all recent, they all have good creators/publishers associated with them, and the artwork is mostly consistent. Go back further than that, and you'll see artwork that looks nothing like the stuff I'm doing these days. (Although Off Road still holds up to some degree.)

I realized I hit the 10-year-mark only a few days ago, and I wanted to write something about the past 10 years, so here's my list of Top 5 Mistakes

5. Not getting paid

I won't mention the company (I have in the past, and it's not worth more drama)--at this point it would only give them undeserved attention. But when I was still in college, I did 3 issues over a summer and never got paid. I had a contract, but it was written in such an amateur way by the publisher that there was nothing I could do legally. 3 months were wasted when I could have gotten a job at Home Depot to pay my college bills, but I learned a valuable lesson about trusting publishers. I haven't been burned since, and that's because I've become a viper when it comes to paperwork and negotiations. I can be unpleasant and overly suspicious, I'm sure, but it's the only way I know how to protect myself.

I'm not sure how I would have avoided this at the time. Now I'm better at noticing shifty behavior from people and knowing whom to avoid. Back then, I was too young to see it. Oh well, lesson learned.

4. Learning valuable things about art, then ignoring them

At SCAD Savannah (the impressive Atlanta campus didn't exist yet), I'd sometimes have time to do a page in a week, and I would use the time to explore a lot of different techniques, tools, and ways of mark-making. During the latter half of school, I began getting work with Dark Horse on Star Wars Tales, and then on a book called Crush (once I'd graduated). It was the first time I'd been forced to work at a page-per-day, so I stripped away the stuff I'd learned (in and out of class) for a more streamlined look. Instead of using brush, quill and ink, I used Microns and French curves. The art was slick and had lots of movement, but it lacked depth. It was plastic, lazy and unimaginative. For two years I was coasting on cruise control and not challenging myself. The art served the story and nothing more--there was never a panel to drool over. Never anything to hang on a wall. There are guys who have found many ways to effectively use Micron, but I'm not one of them.

It wasn't until I started inking Zach Howard on some unpublished Vertigo pages (this was 2004) when I began to use the brush and quill again. Microns and Rapidographs were taking too long and I couldn't make the tools embrace how dynamic Zach's art was, so I forced myself to pick up the older tools. It was clunky at first, but after a few months it was like rediscovering a limb. And I've never looked back.

To this day, I'm still trying to think of a good reason why I stopped using them in the first place. My career might be 2 years advanced if I'd never done that.


3. Store signings

The one thing I've never gotten over the past ten years is get a line of people at a comic shop signing. And I'm not asking for a killer line, just any line at all.

I'm sure if I did more high profile superhero stuff, it would happen. But with how well things have been going lately with Joe, Vampire, Blazer and PRJ, I would have expected to get a least some kind of showing, especially in NYC. But it never happens. The best one so far has been at Casablanca Comics in Portland, Maine. And even though it was somewhat successful, I had plenty of time to stare at stacks of books that I wasn't signing.

There's a lot to gain by doing store signings, of course. It means a lot to people who can't travel, it gives you time to spend quality time with readers, and it's often a free mini vacation to wherever the store is. But 9 times out of 10, it's usually a disappointment for me and the store owner. And I always apologize to him as I leave the store, my head lowered between my shoulders in shame.

Here's why I think I do so poorly at these things: half my readers are women who don't like going in comic shops. Lots of them brave it out, sure, but most don't because--let's face it--a lot of shops are creepy. I also think that many Vertigo readers prefer to buy the trades in books stores or order stuff online. Or they download in digital.

Whatever the reason, I've decided not to do any more store signings for a while. They're great for keeping an artist humble, but I've found them very depressing.

2. Turning down Assassin's Creed 3

I mentioned this before, but I was offered a chance to work on Assassin's Creed. I was also offered the chance to work with a lot of great writers over the past few years--one was even offering $1000 per page. But I turned them down to do Punk Rock Jesus.

I'm glad I chose to stick with PRJ--great gigs will always be there, but finding a window to do your own stuff is really hard. But every time I drive by an Assassin's Creed billboard, see a commercial or hold an action figure, I feel a tinge of regret. And now that I'm trying to put a down payment on a house in Brooklyn, part of me wishes that I'd taken a script more lucrative than PRJ.

But not really.

1. Insecurity

My thoughts on the psychology of being an artist are always evolving. I'll spare you a drawn out emo-description of what it's like inside an artist's brain, because most people on dA know exactly what I'm talking about. And that's my point--no matter how much we fight it, we can all be overly sensitive, emotional, and very insecure. That's just the price of creativity, I think.

I used to pretend that I wasn't insecure because I thought it put me above the drama and the hen-pecking I see at conventions and online. And you can see all kinds of insecurity playing out if you know what to look for. There's the "quick-to-anger" artist: getting upset so quickly is a defense mechanism to quickly isolate himself and appear alpha in a situation. There's the "emo-hipster" artist: being a comic artist isn't enough, so he decks himself out in some sort of costume complete with leather bracelets, floppy hair, and a b&w artist bio photo. Or there's the "I-don't-care" artist: he claims to not read comics and will go out of his way to act like he's not caring what people think--while constantly checking his Google alerts.

There are a bunch more, and I've inhabited many of these roles over the years. And there's nothing wrong with being any of them, but try not to kid yourself because (chances are) you've got baggage.

The types of creators I'm really drawn to these days are the ones who admit their insecurity in some way. And by no means are these creators above it; they still let bad reviews get to them, they're not above trolling the internet for mention of their name, and they usually keep a list of "I don't like this creator and here's why" on the edge of their tongue. But at the end of the day, these creators do their best to laugh, admit that they're not perfect either, calm down, and try not to take it all so seriously.

I find that doing this for a living requires constant monitoring of your state of mind. Patrolling myself for weirdness, immaturity and other artist-insecurity is part of the daily grind. Of course, focusing too much is its own form of insecurity and egocentrism, so be careful.

And when I fail at this (and it happens a lot), it's always my biggest regret.
  • Listening to: Beethoven piano sonatas
  • Reading: Attack of the Theocrats
  • Watching: Science Channel
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111 points giveaway!The winner:

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 9:59 AM
Hello, sweeties (:

Ornaments by naked-in-the-rain

Sending huggies again while doing some fashion experiments with a skirt I found in my closet :giggle:

I also joined ask.fm so if you have any questions (photography and non photography related), you can ask me here: ask.fm/nakedintherain1
...
I decided to make someone smile again by giving one lucky deviant 111 points.

All you have to do to participate is:

:+fav: fav this journal
and
well, that's it :giggle:
_

You don't have to visit my gallery nor watch me, but if you do, thank you :heart:
_

I will pick the winner with a little help of random.org and announce it in this journal on 23rd January around 5pm (GMT+1) (:

Have fun :la:

Mia

+ random from my gallery:
Rapunzel by naked-in-the-rain
Snow Kingdom by naked-in-the-rainTen tousand fireflies by naked-in-the-rain
_

Thank you everyone for participating (:
The winner is
:iconplayboyvampire:

Congrats and enjoy your points :heart:


*naked-in-the-rain giving away 111 :points:
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Hello, lovelies (:

Since it's summer and the school is over for some people (*yay*) I guess everyone will find a little bit more time for deviantart.
That's why I decided to make some of our lovely deviants happy by giving them a premium membership and points :aww:

All you have to do:

fav this journal in order to participate and voila!

(*faving this journal is needed just so I can know who's entering the contest. Counting each comment would be a hard job
*the prize can't be transferred to someone else's account)

The prizes:

- 3 month premium membership
- 3 month premium membership



The 2 lucky winners will be chosen by random.org generator.

update* deadline:  8th July, 2012.


Don't forget to tell your friends so they can participate too :happybounce:

Good luck and xo

The Winners:

Two lucky people who random.org picked are

:iconspotlightplz:

:iconlucky88duck: and :iconpineap:

Congrats, guys!
Also, thank you all for participating. I am glad this giveaway has been very popular and many deviants entered.
See you soon in the next contest :la:
___

:iconnaked-in-the-rain:
my gallery

IMPORTANT update: I hope I'm not breaking any rules by organizing this giveaway contest. I sent a question to ask people in charge is this allowed after getting a note from one of the deviants.
This is a giveaway. I don't ask anything in return. I just wanted to be fair and give a chance to people who might have never had a premium membership to get one as a gift.

If being kind and generous will get me banned, someone please tell me.

Thank you

Save The Date

Wed Mar 26, 2014, 9:44 AM

:megaphone:  Mark your calendars for April 7th!

When the clock strikes midnight in the wee early hours of April 7th Pacific time, we’ll be launching a truly devious deal that you’ll want to be a part of.

Real-life llamas for all to ride?  The very first deviantMEET in outer space?  Free pie?  Who knows?!  Leave your guess as a comment to this journal.  We’ll pick the most creative and inventive answer each day, for the next 7 days, to win a ‘Til Hell Freezes Over Premium Membership.* Then, on April 2nd, we'll reveal the devious deal to one and all! 

*One ‘Til Hell Freezes Over Premium Membership selection and giveaway per day. No purchase necessary for ‘Til Hell Freezes Over Premium Membership.



Mark your calendars for April 7th, 2014! 
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It's Here!

Wed Apr 2, 2014, 12:00 AM

No foolin’! Free Premium Membership Day is less than a week away!

On April 7, 2014, all members of deviantART will have access to Premium Member features.

For an entire 24 hours, starting at 12 midnight and ending at 11:59 PM Los Angeles, CA, time, you’ll be able to enjoy the perks of a Premium Membership, including Multi- and Scheduled Submit, ad-free browsing, Journal Skins, and so much more! Check out what time it will occur in your own time zoneclicking here. Be sure to mark your calendars now for “Free Premium Membership Day” on April 7, 2014!

How will you take advantage of being a Premium Member for 24 hours? Will you jazz up your journal with a custom skin? Request a critique on your favorite piece? Leave your hopes and dreams in the comments below!

Congrats to the 'til Hell freezes over winners: BLITZFenix, TonberryOwnage13, emiemi345, JimmyDArtist, PseudoTumor, strongsight, and WeirdAndLovely!

* We apologize for any inconvenience, but Free Premium Membership Day does not include the ability to conduct a username change or access Way Back browsing. The ability to have Prints profits paid in checks will not be extended to those with one-day Premium Memberships on April 7, 2014. We hope you will enjoy the many other Premium Member benefits deviantART has to offer!





Come one, come all to Free Premium Membership Day 2014!
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Thank you! Updates and Life

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 4:06 AM
  • Mood: Triumph
  • Listening to: World in conflict OST
  • Reading: Know No Fear battle for calth
  • Watching: Avengers
  • Playing: company of heros
  • Eating: pizza
  • Drinking: blackcurrant
Well i suppose i should let you all know im alive!

To start i want to say thanks to everyone on here who has commented on my work or faved my pieces! I have come a LONG way from the scibbles i did a few years ago, and i have ventured into the wide world of art and digital art in particular. Who knew! To those that also helped me through the dark days as well... i know there have been many times were i wanted to give up but the odd comment that said 'dont worry Myric it will be ok' really did mean something :) To all my many friends on here i say

Thank you

As for Updates well i have a host! Currently working on the MOST AWESOME DIGITAL PICTURE OF MINE TO DATE. need to finish it but still it is going very well! it is actually a joint piece with my girlfriend as she is helping me with it! Thanks dear :) also more writing soon! been working on a few stories and will upload them soon too! Also more A2 coursework is going up soon too. New stuff is also being done for the Nakai and the Union in general now my dads desktop has been ressurected by me finally :D

As for life... well i cant ask for anything more. It scares me to think i am totally fufilled at the moment. I have the best girl ever by my side, my art has taken bounding leaps, college is going well, My ideas for the Union are many, and my social life and work are laid back and relaxed! seriously i am so happy :)

So for all of you out there i have this message...


EMPEROR MYRIC IS BACK IN ACTION!

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ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE!

Wed Aug 27, 2014, 5:49 AM
www.facebook.com/video.php?v=7…

THE EMPEROR OF THE UNION OF WORLDS DOES ICE BUCKET :D

  • Mood: Happy
  • Listening to: RWBY OST I May Fall
  • Reading: Battlefleet Gothic
  • Watching: Cowboy Bebop
  • Playing: Wargame Red Dragon
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Blackcurrant
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Today I am having a particularly bad day. Let me open a box of chocolates I have in my drawer. There are ten in all.

First Chocolate: Plain, no filling, nothing fancy. Nothing spectacular
Second Chocolate: Again, it is plain, with no filling. Nothing Extraordinary.
Third Chocolate: I bite into it, and a sweet, creamy filling encases my tongue. This has got to be the best out of the ones I've tasted. Very delicious, very memorable.
Fourth Chocolate: Hoping for another delicious morsel, I bite inside, then spit it out. The horrible taste still lingers, as I realize this one is coffee flavor. It would take a long time to get the traces of this out of my mouth
Fifth Chocolate: Tentatively, I put this into my mouth. For some reason, I expect to taste a delicious one, perhaps to make up for the bland and horrible ones I have had in the past. Nothing. It is a plain chocolate. No filling, no frills, no risks, no ruin. It isn't sweet or bitter. It is just a regular piece. This is the last chocolate. This is life.

It is a fallacy to think that life will bestow upon you a happy ending, if you just sit there and expect it to happen. Time doesn't stop for anyone. It doesn't provide a happy ending to your bad day, it doesn't create a downfall for your better day. In the end, you come to terms with the simplicity of past events, and it is up to you to find the beauty in that.
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A forgotten fruit, all clad in veils,
So lonely in its mystery.
Its green skin tingles, shrouded in cloth,
A favorite of none, except for me.

I pity it, an odd recluse,
Similar to none in the family.
Its shield is thin, the mask could break,
And yet the mask is all we see.

It could be beautiful, if it tried,
Yet it hides in the leaves, afraid to be.
But oh, how curious, when we remove its leaves,
And cook it, it becomes a delicacy.
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Beast Vision Vol. 04

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 9:48 PM
BeastVision is all about showcasing inspirational digital art to the community!

:icondonmalo:

VALLEY by donmalo

:iconkuldarleement:

Brofist from god by KuldarLeement

:iconbayardwu:

Waisong Never End2 by bayardwu

If you have any suggestions for artists/work to feature please feel free to send a note to the group.


Textures by subtle patterns.
Skin created with SimplySilent's CSS Generator
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