Female ball python tail vs male
One Hell Of A Vacation - Chapter 86
2023.05.30 09:14 WaveOfWire One Hell Of A Vacation - Chapter 86
Next Royal Road u/KieveKRS
providing the Trash certification of quality!
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[Thank you for agreeing to teach them.]
Volta nodded, not entirely sure if it was for the best, but recognizing a request—or in this case, a thinly veiled order—for what it was.
Ever since she had taught Scarlet and the others her field, the occasional rotation of Lilhuns would be assigned to work under her for a time. It made her job easier, especially since the settlement was expanding at a ludicrous rate compared to what she had heard from the new members of the pack.
The Atmo that had joined were quickly treated and cared for, those who did not require so much time for recovery quickly accompanying the existing insects in their tasks. The largest, Mama, frequently assisted in construction and decoration of structures, so they worked with her. Once they had oriented how things progressed and their part in it, they were paired off with a construction group to be assigned a project. It was to the point where there were as many as five buildings nearing completion at once, the majority of them being accommodation for the new members of the pack.
The remaining question was regarding the insect kits. The answer? Well, there were four Atmo slightly smaller than the purple ‘Queen’ that had requested Volta instruct them, the pearlescent shimmer of her scaled carapace dancing in the sunbeams afforded by the skylight the den had been constructed with.
Teaching Violet—as well as the two Atmo that Volta had escorted to this pack—in the ways of sanitation had been an interesting endeavour, all things considered. They held a remarkable dexterity in those long edged appendages, but the lack of something to properly grasp with made finding a way to secure a rag onto the ends difficult. Luckily, Heralt was receptive to assisting her with creating something that would attach to the blades.
It was little more than a mop that secured to the joint and braced around the cutting edge gingerly, the ends of the stick using ‘ironwood’ springs to clamp onto fabric pads that would soak in the cleaning solution and allow them to do the floors and walls. Were it not for how shockingly efficient the task was performed, she would have been useless through the laughter at the sight.
Each Atmo kit held two of the devices on their limbs, allowing them to travel in pairs and simply finish large spaces within the time it would take her to prepare the next batch of cleaners to use. They had only started a short while ago and yet two dens had been finished, Scarlet assisting her in doing whatever furniture or ledges the Atmo were unsuited to completing. The odd pack member going through what Head Sahari called ‘versatility training’ listened to her instructions in an oddly compliant manner, giving the blue-furred female pause at the unusual experience.
All in all; the cleaner was guiding the five insects and three Lilhuns in the ways of cleanliness. Scarlet was primarily keeping an eye on those who interacted with the purple-coloured Atmo, her contributions to the other tasks proficient, despite the split attention. Before, she would have assumed the servant quietly acquiescing orders, but the dark red-furred female was particularly vigilant in matters pertaining to the kit now.
Volta wasn’t sure what happened to the other servants that regularly assisted her on a rotation—save for Kaslin, the female seeming to have been unofficially inducted as Grand…. Toril
’s assistant alongside his mate, Tersa—but Faye, the mild-mannered deep gold-furred female, and Raine, the polite and excitable brown-furred female, had been absent for many suns now.
It was almost lonely, in a way.
“That should be sufficient for this den,” she announced to the gaggle of Atmo kits and Lilhuns, careful to remind them not to bother the few ‘rock-worms’ that Ferra kept separate from the rest outside. There were only four, the largest one adorned in an odd script, but they were apparently a selection of favourites of the female. Regardless, it would not do to irritate a mate of Atrox.
The brown-furred male was responsible for the ghastly armour that the Grand Hunter wore on occasion, and she was not in a hurry to see if the disturbing tendencies of the male extended to how he displayed his displeasure.
“Where is our next destination?” Scarlet asked, her tail brushing up Volta’s spine in an uncomfortable way. It wasn’t that she disliked the touch, but the owner of it worried her. Something about the servant struck her as more than what was presented, and it was obvious that the female thought of it as immensely entertaining. That much was obvious, even without the sly grin.
“We have proceeded much faster than I was expecting,” the blue-furred female admitted, mentally checking over her itinerary while subtly batting away the offending appendage. “I suppose we should attempt the barracks while the pack is engaged, then rest for a time.”
[May I leave to check on the other Atmo?]
Volta paused, unsure why it was being requested rather than merely presented as a fact. Violet was—as far as it mattered—completely beyond the cleaner’s station, if only because she was an adopted kit of the Grand Hunter, as well as a sort of leadership figure for the insects. It was an enigmatic blend of positions where the purple insect could very well order Volta to do things, rather than ask. Though the hierarchy was not nepotistic in nature, it was safer to adhere to the wishes of the den-kit than it was to disobey.
“You may. What of the others?”
[I will leave them with you and Scarlet.]
The mentioned servant frowned. “I am to accompany you.”
Violet chittered her curious laugh. [These young ones are your task. I must attend to my own.]
Volta discreetly jabbed the female with a claw, glaring at her not to question the wishes of her better. The less attention drawn from the Grand Hunter, the better. Just picturing the disturbing mask and piercing gaze was enough to make her blanch.
Either reminded of her position, or merely interested in playful retaliation, Scarlet sighed quietly, bowing slightly to the insect. “As you wish, young mistress. Do call for me if I am required.”
[I will. Thank you, Scarlet, Volta.]
Volta lowered her head, watching the Queen leave before returning her attention to the group.
“We will do the first barracks, then determine if we are of time to do the second. The kits are to await the floors cleared of obstruction by the Lilhuns before cleaning them. We will manage it in sections so as not to disturb any who may be taking a break. In future—assuming you are to operate independently from myself—it would be best if you are used to working in groups.”
The Lilhuns nodded their understanding, the young Atmo hesitantly conferring with each other before approaching Scarlet to have their mops freed of soiled cloth and materials placed upon their carriages.
The Atmo had all been outfitted with a specially made platform that fitted over their wider base, clasping underneath past their six legs. It allowed them to transport much, their carrying capacity much larger than one would suspect from their size. The kits could comfortably haul all of the materials for the sun by themselves, and the adults had been the subject of idle speculation for mounted weapon platforms—assuming the fragmented conversation she had chanced upon was to be believed.
Volta inspected the odd section that the Lilhuns under her tutelage completed while she waited for packing to finish. She was not necessarily pleased with the results, but it was more important for them to understand the procedure to take for various locations at the moment. They had proven that they understood what to do for the dens, so next came teaching them how to approach high-traffic areas.
Once everyone had been prepared and the materials gathered, they left the den and started towards the barracks, glimpsing the Grand Hunter sparring with some of the pack in the open.
Ever since the Atmo were delivered by a trade caravan, the male had taken to training much of the pack personally, Huntress Pan taking over much of his more mundane work. Those who were deemed adequate were then pawed off to Head Tel for some specialized training, though Volta was not privy to what exactly it was meant to accomplish.
Regardless, Head Sahari was in charge of rotating out the pack amongst tasks, only a few specialists being directly assigned to any one occupation. By all rights, Volta herself should be training under the male, but the nature of her work meant that she was typically better off doing her job when such was under way. Given that the Grand Hunter was a rare case of someone fully understanding the importance of her specialty—and how little she wished to interact with the alien—she was thankfully spared.
Disregarding the events going on, she motioned for her group to follow her. There was work to do.
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“Two up!” he called out, wiping the sweat from his brow. The exertion cleared his mind, and the break from endless paperwork was appreciated. With the influx of members and various training being required, he had gotten rather exhausted mentally. Between the Wraiths being gone for two weeks since he told them to do recon around the Atmo traders, regular interaction with various caravans, planning out what they needed to do, and Robert still not calling him since the man had left to handle something, he had been pretty high-strung.
As always, there was more on his mind. Harrow had become more elusive regarding him ever since he had her transcribe the Union documents regarding the Lilhuns, their conversations vapid and brief. Jax didn’t have anything useful to say about it other than that she wanted time to sort her thoughts. Toril, Idee, Mi’low, and Bratik were given copies of the file to go over recently, since they were the closest thing he had to a counsel unfettered by a close relationship.
His own makeshift family took the news in an odd way. There was a lot to unpack.
Jax had become quiet, his muscles tensing. Harrow ended up staying away from her mate for a few days until he had stopped brooding about it. In the end; the guy just told Joseph that he would trust the Grand Hunter’s decisions regarding it, finding himself at a loss otherwise.
Sahari and Nalah were approached about the bonding information, the latter denying any bond to him, as well as Sahari confirming the same towards her blond-furred mate. The only line of reasoning that they could think of to make sense was that Nalah’s circumstances had messed with her in some way. The two seemed rather distressed by the assertion, but calmed somewhat when he mentioned that nothing would change between them regardless. Sahari could tell how conflicted he was about the whole thing, he just wanted to give them something to hang on to.
It was a bigger deal for them than he had initially internalized. In retrospect; something revered as a literal gift from their god being denied really
should have been an obvious point of stress. As begrudging as his acceptance was, he was linked to the whole ‘Great Hunt’ business in their minds, so he was aware of how deeply that belief ran. He didn’t personally subscribe to the religion, but they never really bothered him with anything besides overseeing funeral rites—not that he would have refused anyway.
Pan seemed to mirror his feelings on the matter—a dark feeling of helplessness and sorrow. She had fallen quiet when she heard about the trials on the defectives, that particular section hitting her harder than the others. After an entire day of silence, all she had to say about it was that she loved him, and then spent the night burrowed between him and Tel, unable to sleep. He had a hard time as well, but it extended well past the initial night.
Tel had informed him that his restlessness had made it difficult for her to get any shut-eye, his shifting disturbing her, but it was said in a slightly concerned tone. Her general reaction was fairly subdued compared to the rest otherwise, her lifetime of being at either end of a gun numbing her to the reality of things. It was weird for him, but he was deeply thankful for it on some level.
She kept him sane, her cold response being a candid ‘Wish it, and I will end all who displease you.’
For once, her more violent background gave him something to grip onto. It resonated in him—loose, yet present. A door within him, chained and locked, was brought to mind as he really considered what he wanted for those involved. The traders who abused the Atmo, those who seemed so bent on hurting his friends, the Union ‘GUOS’ who called for the experiments... A thrumming settled in his fists, an itch that couldn’t be sated by just scratching.
A paw flew past his brow, his shifted posture allowing him to slip the claws that had been left exposed in the heat of the spar. His heart hammered, his sweat soaked his clothing, and his focus returned to the fight.
No Union, no traders, no worries. Just the two security members who had doubted Jax’s claims that the smaller Human had somehow bested the male in a fight, and were now bringing out their natural weapons on instinct.
Grabbing the wrist with his right hand and gripping the shoulder with his left, he pulled, using the rotational force to pivot on his left foot and haul the overeager Lilhun to the dirt, the appendage bending behind them sharply. A second fist came from the corner of his eye, the other combatant trying to use the momentary distraction to score a hit.
Using the gripped arm as a balance, Joseph leaned into the spin, firing the sole of his shoe into the head of the opportunistic attacker. The loud slap of his foot connecting with the larger male almost outdid the crumpled form crashing to the ground unconscious. It was only a dull sensation of mercy that stopped him from completing the spin while he maintained his iron grip on the arm of the thrown adversary, saving them a torn and dislocated shoulder.
Joseph breathed heavily, the adrenaline wearing out as Jax checked on the defeated. Minus some stiffness expected in one of them and a sore jaw for the other, they would be fine, albeit embarrassed for such a quick disposal in front of their usual teachers.
The sound of his rubber sole slapping on the ground some distance away killed off whatever motivation he had to continue, his shoes finally giving out.
“I would ask you not to disable my security, Grand Hunter,” Jax said with mock frustration, the black-furred male’s eyes following the two leaving with an expression of exasperation.
“Sorry,” Joseph breathed out, his heart hammering in his chest as his system wound down.
The Head of Security glanced down at him, his expression pensive. “As much as I enjoy my boasting of your prowess to be validated, I do worry that you see more than a spar in them.”
He drew his lips thin as he brushed his sweat-soaked hair back, his arm dropping to his side. He took a few moments to sort the thoughts that returned. “I probably should have called that kick, yeah.”
The larger Lilhun snorted. “They will be fine, it is not their health I am worried about.”
“I’m fine, Jax,” he snapped, averting his eyes when his friend seemed to have made his point. “I…. I’ll be fine. Just some things on my mind right now.”
“Joseph,” the black-furred male started, walking up to place a large paw on his shoulder. “We are here if you wish to talk.”
His breath died in his throat, his eyes closing in defeat. He felt the soreness in his hands surface, hours of constant fighting to soothe the burning in his blood that failed to abate. Bruises made themselves known, dehydration made his joints stiff, and lack of sleep clouded his mind. Jax was right, he was a bit of a mess.
“Grand Hunter,” Mi’low called, his tired glance in her direction revealing the female approaching. “We are ready to speak.”
Joseph placed a hand on Jax’s paw, patting it softly. “Talking will have to wait. Tell Harrow I said hi and that I’d like to hang out again. I miss it.”
The male looked at him apologetically, nodding as he was still unable to offer anything to ease the sting of a friend distancing themselves from the Human. “I will.”
The Human cycled a breath and faced the actress. “The rest?”
Mi’low nodded. “Where will we meet?”
Joseph waved an arm towards the base. “My place. More chairs.”
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Toril was wearing his usual smile, his eyes inspecting everything about the hub from the couch while Tersa stood nearby, her body language telling that she was wary about being in a new place without time to scout it. Bratik was in his wheelchair, Sorren holding his paw as he sat on the opposite side of the chemist. Idee—being the only one to spend time in the outpost regularly—simply thanked Kaslin for the water from her place between the two mated males. Mi’low had claimed a free chair, her legs crossed and back straight as she stayed away from the others on the couch. The Wraith handed Joseph his requested tea since Scarlet was babysitting the insects, then occupied a place out of the way, but close enough to act if things got heated.
He stayed standing rather than occupying his usual place on a table, his second choice of seating being filled up. He could have dragged over the Atmo couch, but he didn’t want to stress his body any more than he had already by lugging it. “So, everyone had plenty of time to read the documents.”
“Indeed,” Mi’low commented dryly, a glare shot in his direction. Idee nodded, though her expression fell as it was brought up. Toril maintained his detached look of amusement, but it didn’t escape Joseph’s notice that Tersa stiffened.
The Grand Hunter took a sip of his refreshment, enjoying the fleeting feeling of warmth from something other than exertion. “And what do we think?”
“We?” Sorren asked, the male not quite used to the Human using their tongue. Joseph’s mastery of the language was still spotty at times, but Kaslin could fill any gaps if needed.
“Yeah,” he replied plainly. “It has more to do with you than me. I just got the message.”
“I find it rather fascinating,” Toril opined cheerily, his energy at odds with the atmosphere of the room. “Such thorough study allows us many insights into facets of our own biology that we may never have known!”
“By slaughtering our kin in the thousand,” Mi’low shot back, a slight snarl pulling her lip.
“As regretful as such is, we can not bring them back,” the chemist noted with a small nod. “We must simply use the information gleaned by our foes without repeating their atrocities.”
“You suggest ignoring their sins?”
“I suggest utilizing what they have learned and incorporating it to our advantage.”
“Or,” Joseph interjected, “we talk about it instead of getting into an argument.”
“Your people are not free of fault, Grand Hunter
,” the crimson-furred female spat. He remained silent, already having spent far too long thinking about how none of it would have happened if Humans weren’t in the picture for them.
“You can not hold him as a factor, Mi’low,” Idee said softly, shifting in her seat to get comfortable and smiling apologetically at Sorren when she bumped him.
“Were it not for them, then we may not have lost our homes!”
“Were it not for him
you would be little more than bones bleached by the sun, or so I hear.”
“We are not here to cast blame,” Bratik disputed quietly, his voice carrying through the room despite the low volume. “The Grand Hunter has saved each of us. Some from demise, others from the shackles of their station, and others from the fate of losing loved ones.”
Toril and Idee shared a glance as the male continued, Tersa paying attention to him for the first time.
“He seeks our counsel. Not our aimless ire to be spewed upon him for that which he himself had no knowledge of, nor involvement in. His kin were as much victims as our own.”
“Quite,” Toril concurred as the two females ceased their bickering reluctantly. “How would you like to address this, Grand Hunter?”
Joseph blinked, expecting the blame, but not Bratik defusing it so quickly. “Well, we have a few things to work off of. Years of experiments coinciding with missing persons after accepting a job, whoever tipped off your military taking info with them about Sol and the ‘blacklist’, whatever bond fuckery they discovered, and the defects.” He shrugged weakly. “Take your pick.”
“There are too many missing across too wide an area to recognize such a comparative few,” Idee stated, the others in the group silently agreeing.
He nodded, nursing his tea with small sips. “Figured that would be a sticking point. Plus, we don’t really know how long it was going on... or when it started... Not even if it was a bulk recruitment or slow trickle. I guess the missing people are something we’ll just have to keep unknown.”
“The bond information was rather enlightening,” Toril mentioned, his eyes rising to the ceiling as he thought about it. “Our peoples are wildly compatible.”
“As servants, perhaps,” came the scathing remark from the High Huntress. “What use is our gift if it is twisted to be mere subservience? To discard ourselves for some alien race?”
Sorren’s ear flicked. “It is hardly ‘twisted’ to protect that which the Hunt Mother has afforded us.”
“Are we to just accept
that our bonds are better suited to that
,” she emphasized with a pointed claw in Joseph’s direction, “rather than our kin?”
“Drop it,” the Grand Hunter ordered tiredly, his reflection in his beverage shaking as he shifted on his feet. “Arguing isn’t going to help anything.”
Mi’low held her disgusted expression. “You ask us to trust that which led to our downfall? We are yet another strike against your kin, no?”
He shook his head, his eyes buried in remains of the shimmering image he held in his hands. “I blame the sick fucks that did all this. If you can’t agree with that, then there’s not much reason to hold this meeting.”
“What is it you seek to accomplish?” Toril asked, amused by the theatrics. The rest seemed surprised by Mi’low’s pointed aggression, but the chemist was more interested in continuing.
“I have people looking to get me out of here,” Joseph informed them, laying his empty cup on the table with a soft clack. “People who will probably extend the offer to you. If they come, I need to know what we’re doing about it. The last thing I need is people acting like Mi’low and opening fire on whoever comes to drag us out of the mud.”
“Why would we?” Sorren asked, taking his mate’s paw as he gave a worried glance to the offended female.
“Because our people were tortured due to our interactions with them,” the chemist noted in a matter-of-fact tone, his pleasant demeanour remaining despite the morbid topic.
“Did our people not initiate contact with another species on less hostile terms?” Idee asked, her head tilted slightly.
“But no one lived to talk about it,” Joseph countered, gesturing with an upturned palm. “Plus, that’s assuming whoever was in charge of that call being the norm, rather than the exception.”
“You believe our people to act otherwise?” Bratik asked, his tone inquisitive rather than judgmental.
Joseph shrugged. “To be fair, I’ve almost been killed by more of your species than the wildlife. Granted, a few of those were just people being assholes, but still.”
“Many would see the opportunity as retribution for the Union,” Mi’low mentioned dryly.
Sorren’s face fell. “Then we should not propagate this knowledge?”
The Human glanced between each of them. “That’s why you’re here. My group knows because I trust them with it. I think we should keep this to ourselves, but if we do—and someone finds out—it would just cause a lot of issues. Alternatively; we tell everyone.”
“And suffer the consequences of that action as well,” Idee concluded dejectedly. Joseph returned a wry smile as Toril raised a paw, speaking when the Grand Hunter raised a brow at him.
“Perhaps we should withhold the information from the lesser station?”
“Like, just the Grand Hunters?” Joseph inquired cautiously. Toril tilted his head.
“Those who would be more diplomatically minded, perhaps.”
“I don’t exactly see some of them as what you would call ‘diplomatic’ and I’m not going on some voyage to visit everyone with the info in tow.”
“We are able to make copies,” Sorren offered. “Perhaps we could exchange the information using traders and gain something from it as well?”
Mi’low shook her head. “That is assuming they do not claim us manipulative nor seek to remove him. Some may very well move to strike us all down for ‘withholding’ the information, regardless of how readily we supply it.”
“Do your people know?” Bratik interjected, gathering the attention of the others. Joseph winced in uncertainty.
“I’m not sure. I’d guess my brother does, but I don’t know how sensitive things are. It could have been announced and there’s an intergalactic war, or it might be kept under wraps until conflict isn’t as likely. At least until it’s less likely to blow up in our faces, anyway.”
“They are of lesser force?”
“No clue,” he admitted. “Not my area. All I do
know is that there are more species allied against us—or at least aren’t inclined to take a bullet—than are.”
“So our options are rather limited,” Idee concluded, receiving a series of agreements.
“We could,” Mi’low said after a few moments of contemplation, “distribute the information anonymously. Humans are not named directly in the document, and we need not divulge its origin.”
“So, what? Just pass people tablets and ask them to forget where they got it?” he probed, not entirely disagreeing with the idea, but skeptical all the same.
“Tersa may make additions to trader inventories without their knowledge,” Toril offered, the mentioned Blade frowning at him, but not protesting. “Or perhaps Trill’s kit, since she is devoted to yourself.”
“Eh. I guess that’s an option,” he conceded, sighing. “So, about the bond; any opinions? Notes?”
“Stay away from me,” Mi’low answered warily, earning a flat scowl.
“I meant something besides that. I’m not too keen on adding to the cluster-fuck I have going on anyway.”
Sorren smiled. “I am excited to meet your people—should I be so blessed. There are many who would never know the joy of the Hunt Mother’s gift otherwise.”
“I would not mind her words, Grand Hunter,” Toril chuckled. “She is a creature of dishonesty—including her own desires.”
The actress glowered at the chemist. “I preferred it when you were nomadic. It was much easier to ignore your presence. Your words were but some distant wind I need not soil my ears with.”
“Perhaps our meeting is best ended here,” Bratik interjected, waving his functional paw. The other arm was coming along, but still too stiff to use for much. “We should propagate the information through unsigned parcels to the Grand Hunters.”
“One last thing,” Joseph said, pinching the bridge of his nose. “The information on Sol; anything ever get done with that?”
“We were capturing habitable planets in a particular direction, though the decision to do such was made by our superiors.”
He nodded. “Makes sense. Same issue we have now. Can’t let everyone know because chaos is a lot easier to manage when it’s directed. Between the religious connotations and the context around it; there’s no saying if it would lead to riots or worship. Rather not bring the problem to our door.”
“Wise,” Mi’low remarked sarcastically, her judgmental side-eye aimed between him and Sorren.
“Alright,” he said with a raised voice, ignoring the red-furred female to the best of his ability. “Drop off letters and lock myself in a room or something. Sounds like a plan.”
“That will not be required,” Sorren corrected with a laugh. “Though the documents confirmed a high percentile of successful bonds, there were many incompatible pairings. It is unlikely that your informant included every variation of failure, but the bond seems to be as selective as usual, just more receptive to those who meet the criteria. I would speculate that the majority of those who would bond to you by now, have. Barring the new additions, of course. I doubt you will need to worry about bonding to half a species by yourself.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” he muttered. “Okay, you’re free to go back to your work. You know who to talk to if something comes up.”
The gathering dispersed, Toril requiring Tersa to drag him by the ear before he got too distracted. Mi’low stayed behind, waiting for everyone else to leave.
“Thoughts?” he asked, glancing over at her. She shook her head as she dropped the antagonistic persona.
“Two attribute you to their religion, Toril is too interested in your species to act against your best interest, and Idee rather enjoys her time here—as well as sympathizes with your position. Tersa’s allegiance is with Toril, so she will follow him, as well as your tentative arrangement as a superior over her.”
“So, we’re good?”
“We are,” she confirmed. He looked at her for a long moment.
“What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Going to try and kill me again?” he questioned wryly.
The High Huntress snorted. “Unfortunately, my pack has ostensibly become yours, and with it, my fate. They would rather watch me go than follow. It seems your influence extends past our biology.”
Without an opportunity for him to ask what she meant, she headed to the exit, pausing in the doorway when he called out to her.
“Mi’low?” Her ear tipped back towards him. “Thanks. For putting yourself on the block like that. I know how risky that could have been for you.”
She afforded a single nod before letting it close behind her.
“’Past our biology’, huh?” he muttered, eyeing the empty cup on the table.
He considered bothering Tel, since she would likely offer him a distraction for a while.
Sighing at his remaining intact shoe flopping as he stepped, he decided to do exactly that.
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“How are we holding up?”
Tech leaned back in her chair, yawning widely. “Communications have been down for a while, navigation software is pointing everywhere at once, and if it wasn’t for me, everything else would be dark too.”
“All hail Tech Ops,” Comms quipped, struggling to make his system do much more than transmit static on a loop.
Willin rolled his eyes at Tech’s boasting, but she was probably right to do so. They had aligned themselves in the right direction and simply let navigation go, communications discreetly blinking out as they got close without warning. All they had left was the actual piloting and onboard support systems, both of them hanging by a thread until Tech could run diagnostics to see if she could counter them properly. She might be able to eventually, but she didn’t seem confident beyond keeping the crew mobile and alive.
“How’s it look down there?”
Nav had long since given up making sense of their controls, opting to keep watch for whatever they were approaching. Since they had gotten within visual range, they had occupied themselves using whatever scanning equipment Tech managed to keep shielded. They leaned over the readouts, brows raising before furrowing at the information.
“It appears that they have remained fairly close together. I am reading several AEC distress signatures... Why am I able to?”
Tech raised a paw. “Right here. The jamming is consistent with the United Military’s algorithms, though boosted past what we have the equipment to manage. Can’t override it for you or Comms, but it was never meant to counter the low-frequency of a distress pulse, since that would get lost in normal noise anyway. I took the liberty of limiting the scope of collected data to increase the sensitivity.”
“Not much frequency pollution on an untapped planet,” Willin remarked dryly, his screen mirroring what Nav was looking at. Thirty-eight sources, most of them repeating the initial call-signs. Two seemed to have retained some power, though not much, implying a makeshift solution. There would normally be more to glean, but the measures taken to make picking them out at all possible had stifled it.
“Orders?” Nav asked after a moment. Willin considered it, scouring the somewhat distorted visual feed.
“Let’s get closer first.”
He adjusted his uniform as they drew near, Tech frowning as more of her fail-safe measures ironically failed. Quick action saved them from listing aimlessly, but any chance of copying the survivor’s distress call faded. The AEC’s were effectively invisible until Tech had dealt with the issue preemptively, and their beacon wasn’t any stronger.
Detriment of a scout craft, he supposed. Help would have to deal with not knowing where his ship had gone until they were up to their necks in the warp-spike’s field. Hopefully, the EW fleet would manage it better.
“Just outside of atmosphere,” Nav reported, activating the scanning equipment again. Normally, it would be able to tell them everything down to the rough number of wildlife in an area, but all the interference gave them little more than confirmation that life existed
“Well, there goes any advanced recon,” Willin muttered, ignoring Comms silently debating if he should bother Tech to duplicate the feed again. Noticing, she did anyway, the male gesturing their thanks. “Tech, can you get us population density?”
“I’m good, Leader, but not that good.”
“Leader,” Nav called, highlighting a few points on the feed. Whatever it was that they were trying to show him, he didn’t see it. “These areas are likely settlements.”
“Affirmative. It is subtle, but there.”
He nodded, trusting their judgment. “Which is the largest?”
The feed zoomed in, losing most of the clarity—not that there was much to begin with. “Location coincides with an AEC still actively reporting.”
“They set up around it.”
Willin exhaled slowly. “Take us down nearby. I’d say to hide us, but that’s hard to do with open skies.”
“The planet suffers constant rain,” Tech added, her screen already reverting back to a simplistic game while she waited for someone else to need something. “We could descend under the cover of it.”
“Any idea how long?”
Her monitor flickered. “One local sun.”
“Then we spend the time gearing up,” he ordered, waving to have Nav and Comms’ screens defaulted. “You two will make sure our defence armaments ship-board are active and loaded. Tech, queue up whatever armour and equipment we might need for a diplomatic mission.”
She turned in her chair, her head tilting questioningly. “Just us?”
“Just us. We’ll want someone here to keep things warm in case we need to leave quickly. Can you get Comms’ station capable of short-wave?”
She nodded after a moment, her eyes losing focus as she consulted her implant. “We’ll lose the fabricator during, but we should have enough for life-support and in-atmosphere flight. Weapons will have to be swapped out with it too.”
The purple-furred female shrugged. “It’s that or I take down the defences and we lose it all.” She frowned at her screens. “Even this is pushing it.”
“Can you take down the purifier once we’re down there? Switch to external flow?”
“As long as you don’t mind alien air, sure. It won’t give us more to work with, but it should make it less taxing to keep what we have.”
Willin scratched at his ear. “Do it. They lived here this long, doubt we’ll join the Void breathing it too.”
He shifted his attention back to Nav. “Set course to that settlement. Keep us above the clouds until it gets bad enough to obscure us.”
Nav signalled their agreement, the scenery shifting slowly as they picked a cloud to shadow in the meantime. Comms looked at Willin expectantly, forcing him to come up with something for the male to do.
“Comms, I want you to monitor anything this place has coming in or out. Set up surveillance.”
The male raised a brow. “My systems are inoperable, Leader.”
“If you try to do anything big
, yes,” Willin corrected. “Just keep us informed if something goes through. We don’t need to know what
happened, just that it did
“Keeping track of possible communications between settlements?”
Willin bobbed his head to the side. “Whatever we learn, it’s more than we know.”
“Understood. I will try to arrange a passive probe.”
The group set about their tasks as he brought up a still-frame of the settlement Nav spotted. It was blocky, blurry, and the chromatic aberration on the edges hurt to look at, but it was a settlement. A large AEC surrounded by silver constructions, all laid out in a slightly haphazard way. He couldn’t judge it too harshly, however. There was a method to the madness. Narrow pathways hidden between dens, each leading to the AEC like a system of routes for select Lilhuns to reach anywhere they may be needed as quickly as possible.
The AEC itself seemed modified, large solar panels placed where a solid hull would be expected, the semi-transparent material likely acting to illuminate the interior. Many of the buildings around it were larger than those beyond, some appearing to be two or three levels.
From sheer volume of dens, Willin figured this was a contender for the largest settlement. His best estimate placed the number of inhabitants in the range of three hundred or so. If the other settlements were even close, then the initial guess of a thousand survivors was woefully short.
That made things complicated, yet so much simpler.
He awaited the distant storm clouds rolling over the landscape, thankful Tech had prioritized the water-proof gear.
He hated being soaked.
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2023.05.30 08:39 TheCurserHasntMoved (Sneakyverse) The Drums of War: Chapter 1: Among the Star Tides
Beneath a well-tended banner depicting a yellow star at its center, and the burning Ignitia on its windward side, Captain Yaevdrill kept watch on the bridge. It was hardly the first time he'd sailed the Among the Star Tides We Sing into a potentially volatile situation, but the disappearance of no less than thirty Star Sailor ships without so much as a text only communication had made the possible first-contact mission take on an ominous quality. Those ships who returned bore crews who spoke of "Sneakies, but ugly," aggressively taking prisoners for some purpose, yet there were ships within the stars of the Clans of Eldra who should have returned, or been heard from. Worse, there had been no communications from anyone within Clans space for over two months. Thus, the mission.
With him, there was the gunnery officer, who was keeping alert at her station, and First Lieutenant Robert George, the Master at Arms, who was scowling at the main viewscreen as if it could give him answers. It may not have appeared to be so, but the blue skinned, four armed captain and pale pink skinned two armed lieutenant were kin, a matter of adoption involving both of their grandfathers. It was therefore with the weight of not only a good friend, but a close cousin that Yaevdrill listened to Robbie growl, "We should get the civvies out."
"This isn't the first dangerous mission we've sailed," Yaevdrill said softly.
"Aye sir. We should get the civvies out."
Robbie glared at the main viewscreen with even greater intensity and said, "My gut's twisting."
"Remember our tour aboard the Penguin?"
"Two squads combat ready around the clock. Billet the off-duties inside the armory."
"Already done sir. Put the civvies on evac ready, sir. This is a matter of shipboard security, please don't make me invoke my rights."
"I'll write the order. Also, release vac-armor to the crew."
A small amount of tension left Robbie's shoulders as he glanced up to the banner, "We'll do them proud, Granddad," he whispered as he passed beneath it.
Some hours later, Captain Yaevdrill was enjoying a cup of tea in the galley when he was accosted by Ambassador Sophia Laurent accosted him. It was improper to smile at her while she ostensibly demanded answers to changes in the mission which she technically led, but Humans were all just so adorable. "Why exactly is my husband sleeping in the armory?"
"Because his commanding officer has decided to operate under combat readiness."
"Am I, or am I not the chief ambassador of this mission, oh great descendant of Linus the Rescuer?"
"I'm sorry, I don't remember signing the We Sing away to you. I also don't recall appointing you to be the Master at Arms. Is my memory faulty, Madam Ambassador?"
She scowled fiercely up at him, and admitted, "No. Explain."
"Robbie and I think that there is more danger than would appear."
"What saved us both in the New Barbary War."
"So his gut?"
Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn sneered at the viewport of his glorious scout frigate where the newly conquered planet was displayed. Whatever the inhabitants had called it, it would be gloriously renamed Kivx soon enough. Priest-Lord Narrex-Quinn knew that it was only a matter of time until all peoples are given up to the glory of Axzuur just as these inferior insectoids were now. The Priest-Masters had originally expected the enormous beetles size, chitin, and multiple limbs to provide a worthy challenge to Axxaakk might, yet they were worthy only of sating the thirst of Axzuur, may the stars quake at his name.
The blue skinned axxaakkoids had proved less disappointing. They were still surprisingly weak for their size, but at least their idea of fighting wasn't to form a line and fire in volleys. They had some smaller, stronger, faster, fiercer axxaakoids, only about the same height as the Axxaakk, but just as strong, if not stronger. The larger four armed blue warriors engaged at range with multiple weapons while the smaller warriors, which had only the proper two arms, came in close to meet Axxaakk warriors in glorious blade-to-blade combat. The dead had earned their young the right to one day prove themselves worthy of service to Axzuur.
However, Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn was dissatisfied with how few such ships had been captured, a mere dozen, as all the rest had either already been sailing away when the glorious invasion began, or else fought to the death rather than surrender. Even those captured they did have were cases of chance more than the warrior's glorious skill, as those crews too fought to the last adult, and even most of the older children were slain in battle. Truly, these unworthy dung beetles were a waste of his warriors talents when such capable foes lurk beyond his sight.
An Initiate-Highborn made his obeisance before making his report while still bowed at the waist, as is proper, "Acolyte-Lord, there comes a ship with in-hyperspace communication capabilities. An ambassador requests contact with the rulers of the unworthy, and do not know our glory."
Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn did not take his eyes from the viewscreen as he commanded, "Correct their error."
"I obey," the attendant said as he shuffled back to his station.
"Report from station."
"I obey, they request a diplomatic meeting."
"The behavior of the unworthy. What is the unworthy race which desires to grovel at my sandals?"
"Acolyte-Lord, it is by the pink warrior race, as well as the four armed warriors."
"They come to investigate the lack of communications."
"They send diplomats to investigate, Acolyte-Lord, they put out their throats to us."
"This insult shall not stand. Gather the escorts, set an intercept course."
Two days ahead of schedule, the Among the Star Tides We Sing was ripped out of hyperspace by a gravity spike. A frigate and two escort cruisers barred her way, and were transmitting demands for her to heave to and prepare to be boarded. "Get the children and all nonessential crew to the lifeboats," Captain Yaevdrill ordered as he replied to the frigate demands with ascent and ordered the helmsman to coordinate with the unknown vessel.
"Those are not Clan ships," his executive officer said after relaying the orders.
"All hands, all hands, get into vac armor, I say again, all hands, all hands, get into vac armor. Unknown xenos boarding party imminent, use stored atmo only. Unknown xenos boarding party imminent, quarantine protocols, and hostile response readiness protocols are in effect," came Robbie's voice over the intercom.
"You heard the man," the captain said as he led by example and made his way to the lockers at the aft of the bridge.
Meanwhile, Corporal William Laurent sighed as he heard his CO's orders blaring, "So much for lunch with the wife. Time to get in the shiny armor."
Sophia Laurent took in a deep breath and said, "See you with the greeting party. I'm sure the other ambassadors are already suiting up."
"I really hate his gut feelings."
"It's probably fine. Just a star nation who thinks conquest is actually a thing we'll let them get away with. I'll give them a good talking to, Will."
One suiting up later, and the greeting party was assembled at the forward port airlock. Said party consisted of Ambassadors, Sophia Laurent, Republic, Li Wei, Pacifia, Mikhail Volkov, CIP, Traevee Drillvee, Star Sailors, and one squad of the Honor Guard, the elite platoon of Republican Naval Infantrymen charged with the safety of the We Sing and her crew and passengers. The ambassadors faces could be seen through the faceplates of their armor, and the coloring of the same was according to the flags each of them served, but the power armored infantrymen were white and faceless, designed to strike the balance between intimidating and non-threatening. They were even standing at attention with their shipboard shotguns maglocked to their backs rather than in their hands for ready use. Anyone who knew anything about Terrans would think that a mere gesture at best, but it was the thought that counted.
The xenos were of a height with a Human, their skin scarlet, garbed in simple cloth uniforms, armed with what looked like long plasma casters, had bony protrusions at their elbows and knees, on their knuckles, and from the chin of the obvious leader. Obvious because he wore a flowing robe rather than a stark uniform. They swaggered into the corridor oozing superiority until the entirety of the party was in view, then his expression darkened and he demanded, "What is the meaning of this?"
"Standard procedure in the event of an unplanned boarding is for all hands to don personal protective equipment in case of atmospheric incompatibilities, pathogen exposure, mechanical failure, or hostile action," Ambassador Li Wei explained calmly.
"You think us such dishonorable filth that you bring war machines to guard our meeting?"
The rippling laugh coming from the armored infantrymen startled the xenos official even more than the realization that the greeting party was armored. "You have your honor guard," Ambassador Laurent said with a sweeping gesture toward the soldiers before turning to the Honor Guard and saying, "and we have ours."
"I see," the xeno leader said "Who are you and what do you do in the Dominion of Axxaakk?"
"I am Ambassador Sophia Laurent of the Republic of Terra and her Aligned Planets."
"I am Ambassador Mikhail Volkov, of the Coalition of Independent Planets."
"Li Wei, of Pacifia."
"I am Traevee Drillvee, and I speak for the Lord Admiral Council."
"So many little nations," the xenos leader sneered, "Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn bids you come aboard that you may beg mercy at his sandals and be proven worthy of service to Axzuur. Let your warrior machines follow if your bellies lack courage."
Corporal Laurent set his faceplate to transparent and said, "What about us fleshy-types?"
The herald's eyes went wide as he realized that there were living beings under that armor, but he covered it well. "So it is for honor you come, we will not deny this custom, it is like to our own." The xenos herald's words hung in the air like the chill after snow.
Ambassador Sophia Laurent stepped forward, her voice calm but resolute. "We come in peace, seeking understanding and communication. We are representatives of our respective nations, here to open diplomatic relations. We request safe passage to your vessel to meet with Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn and discuss matters of mutual interest and concern."
The herald regarded the ambassadors with a mixture of curiosity and skepticism. After a brief pause, he nodded slyly. "Very well, ambassadors. Follow me, and your honor guard may accompany you. We shall take you to Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn, but remember, you are guests in our domain."
With those words, the xenos official turned and led the way down the corridor, the ambassadors and the Honor Guard falling in line behind him. The atmosphere was charged by the weight of responsibility shouldered by the ambassadors in that moment. They knew that they marched into battle as much as any of the Honor Guard beside them had ever before. As they reached the airlock connecting the two ships, Ambassador Li Wei couldn't help but feel a sense of became keenly aware of her vulnerability, but resolved to step in anyway. This encounter could be a pivotal moment in the unfolding events, and the ambassadors carried the hopes and expectations of their nations on their shoulders.
Ambassador Mikhail Volkov exchanged a glance with Ambassador Sophia Laurent, silently conveying their shared resolve. They knew the risks involved, but they knew that the information they gathered in the next crucial moments could mean the difference to billions of lives.
The airlock cycled open, revealing the interior of the Dominion vessel. The delegation entered into the belly of the beast.
Meanwhile, the diplomatic staff were not idle. While the Terran nations generally preferred to compartmentalize their operations, the hostile actions the We Sing had already been subject to represented an action that triggered the mutual defense treaties. Therefore, the teams were consolidated, and re-split by specialty. The cultural and linguistic analysts formed one team, the threat and strategic analysts, formed another, while the "former" covert operatives formed the last, and most important. Lead by 4r490rn, pronounced Aragorn, a Republican Naval Intelligence Officer with the permanent rank of Captain, but the operative rank of Chief Warrant Officer, as well as a Digitan, the team worked feverishly to identify the quantum entanglement bands were being used for communication. His organic subordinates could not eliminate as many bands at once as him, but Agent Natasha Ivanov, a Bigkitty from the CIP, and Greg, a whitehat hacker and Human from Pacifia thought like organics.
In less than five minutes, Natasha and Greg had given 4r490rn a list of five hundred likely bands, expressed mostly in ranges, but he didn't blame organics for their slowness in expressing data. It took him less than a second to check them, and to find the bands being used for long distance communications. He split off a portion of his consciousness, put it in a virtual system with air-gaps in case of back-hacking, and told it to establish a covert connection. The "splinter" complained profusely about the ugliness of the Axxaakk coding conventions, reported no digital sapience, and proceeded to establish a covert connection in less than three seconds. 4r490rn checked his splinter for corruption, found it clean, and reintegrated with a slight twinge of jealousy for the organics who never had to suffer through listening to themselves complain.
"I'm getting a lot of metadata," he said to his subordinates, "I'm just going to download as much will fit into the lifeboats. You two start poking around."
"Yes sir," Natasha said as she started looking for signs of files that shouldn't be accessed, but are.
Greg gave an affirmative grunt and likewise started looking for systems weaknesses, and started cataloguing them. The part of 4r490rn that was supervising was once again shocked with the number of weakness that he would have never even looked for. Truly, the destructive instincts of organics was a wonder to behold.
4r490rn gave the other teams a quick glance to see if any of them needed some computing assistance. Dr. Johnson, who 4r490rn liked to call Ems, was leading the linguistic and cultural team in the examination of the translation matrix that the Axxaakk had sent over. "There are turns of phrase involving glory, hunger, service, and thirst. I think this Axzuur is a deity of sorts," one of her subordinates was saying.
"I have identified some formal turns of phrase, I'm forwarding them to the ambassador team."
The threat and strategic analysis team were meanwhile going over scanner data of the three ships which had ripped the Among the Star Tides We Sing from hyperspace, as well as the scant footage of the foot soldiers from their entrance, and the helmet cams of the Honor Guard and diplomatic team. The data of the soldiers was promising, their cloth uniforms offered no meaningful protection, and the plasma casters couldn't hope to penetrate the battle screens of the Honor Guard's power armor, but they likely had heavier weapons aboard for just such a foe. The ships were less promising. If all three ships were to engage the We Sing at once, her only hope for survival was to take evasive action and attempt to get to minimum hyperspace distance while under fire. While she was outfitted with the best available weapons, battle screens, and armor her frame and reactor could support, the frigate and escorts had sufficient firepower and maneuverability to make that a forlorn hope. Major Chen of the Republic was conferring with the Captain and Master at Arms, "I'm sorry sirs, if it was a stand-up fight we might be able to scrape out, but we have precious cargo aboard."
"Lifeboat gambit," Robbie said, "I'll get the rest of the squad ready to counterboard. We're going in hot and heavy, AP munitions and salvage denial systems."
"Aye, make it so," Captain Yaevdrill ordered with obvious anguish.
A lifeboat gambit, well that was dire. "I will board along with the Honor Guard and disrupt the frigate's systems," 4r490rn interjected.
"See you aboard, Chief," Robbie said.
"We're holding off until they make their move. There's still a chance this doesn't go violent," Robbie said sternly.
Greg chose that moment to vomit on the deck. A quick check of the files he was viewing, and 4r490rn had to resist the urge to jump into the frigate and start slagging their systems in pure rage. Instead, he put the video file up on all of the displays. It was of a ritual of sorts, there were Axxaakk in cerimonial robes chanting, nude females doing the same, and a large, well-muscled male with bony protrusions from his chin wearing a headress that looked disturblingly like the chitin of the Dynasticles, the local race of sapient bipedal beetles. That wasn't as disturbing as when two male Axxaakk dragged a juvenile Dynastcle female up to the male with the headdress, and roughly heaved her onto the alter before her. "FOR THE GLORY OF AXZUUR!" he declared as he plunged a wicked dagger onto her thorax, and she screamed with the agony of it.
"There are millions of these videos," 4r490rrn said.
"Peace is not an option," Captain Yaevdrill declared.
"Aye sir," Robbie agreed.
"Get that faceplate re-secured," 4r490rn ordered, "The Master at Arms is going to pump atmo into storage soon."
"Staff, get your asses to lifeboats unless you're getting into power armor with the rest of us shiprats," Robbie ordered, "It's that kind of fight."
Meanwhile, the herald brought the Diplomatic team to the bridge, where Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn was lounging imperiously upon his command throne. He didn't know whether these armored savages understood his disinterested expression, but less subtle insults would reveal the extent of their cowardice. His herald introduced him properly, "Behold, you come before Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn, Lord of the Fourth Scouting Formation, Conquer of Five Worlds, And Chosen of Axzuur. Acolyte-Lord, these who beseech you are Ambassador Sophia Laurent of the Republic of Terra and her Aligned Planets, Ambassador Mikhail Volkov, of the Coalition of Independent Planets, Li Wei, of Pacifia and Traevee Drillvee, whe speaks for the Lord Admiral Council."
Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn was pleased to see the eyes narrow on the faces of all of the ambassadors. If they had the gall to insult the Dominion of Axxaakk by sending a diplomatic vessel, it was well that they could at least detect an insult. He rose from his command throne with the easy grace of those born and bred to command, and began, "Ambassadors, I permit you to offer your tribute and to kiss my sandals. Begin."
"You make a racket on our tent-flaps and tell us to kiss your sandals? Go wash your brow, oh youth, for the dust of your father's tread is upon it still," Ambassador Wei retorted coolly.
"Here you squat over the fields and herds of our neighbor, who dwelt thus alongside us for many years without contention, and still you demand of us tribute?" Ambassador Volkov added flatly.
"I see your face for the first time, and I do you honor as a guest upon the doorstep of the Republic. She sends forth a favored daughter to treat with you, yet you believe you can swagger over her even while the Republic's sons are girt with their swords at her side? Do I speak to a man or a boy?"
"The ships cry out in their death throes," Traevee accused with matronly wrath, "Your hands drip in the blood of their crews and families, and there you sit the murderer of ships and folk, thinking that among the Stars we who sail the perils shall simply bow down. I come to warn you, surrender those among you guilty of these crimes to justice, or let the wrath of the Stars burn you away."
This was not the week bellied groveling from inferiors he was used to. His commander had just conquered an entire nation of thirty star systems, did they not see their peril? While it was true that the seers knew little of these other nations, yet why should they care for inferior races? What loss is a few ships in the face of the might of Axzuur's chosen? It was startling to say the least. "Foolish servants! Do you not see the might of a mere scouting formation? You speak of strength, yet you of different nations share a single pathetic ship! We could destroy it in an instant! You put out your throats to me thinking me weak and docile, and then blanch when I should bite? Who is the fool here?"
"We shall see. Beg your favors of us, we shall hear you now."
"Bring in the sacrifice!"
Ambassador Sophia Laurent watched in horror as one of the attendants brought a larval Dynasticle before the throne, and Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn drew forth a wicked dagger. "What are you doing?" she demanded fiercely.
"Obtaining Axzuur's blessing over these negations," the commander said as if he couldn't see what they could possibly be objecting to. The attendant kneeled and raised the infant up over her head, and Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn prepared to strike.
With shocking speed, Ambassador Wei had interposed her own back between the larva and the dagger, and before they could react had placed it into an emergency infant pod, and was speeding back toward her party. "Seize the hostages!" Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn screeched as he realized the ruse had fallen away, and the ambassadors would not surrender themselves as hostages willingly.
The Honor Guard's shining white armor suddenly flashed to matt-black, and red lights glowed where from the outside their eyes were, and they drew their boarding shotguns faster than the Axxaakks' eyes could track. Those guards moving to take aim suddenly found themselves in the path of armor piercing ferrous material, which barely noticed converting them to so many ribbons of pink mist and bloody chunks as they punched through the hull. While the ship's hull was sound enough to not decompress explosively, the RNI Honor Guard put enough little holes in the hull to bring the bridge to near vacuum before the emergency structural force fields could spin up. Half of the bridge crew was gasping for air that wasn't there, a quarter of the rest were already dead, while only a quarter had managed to get their emergency environmental suits on. Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn gaped in horror as a single squad of warriors made short work of his guards and started a fighting retreat back to their ship from the relative safety of his command throne's emergency commander seal.
"That's our cue," Robbie said as he lead the remaining three squads in a charge along the umbilical connecting the airlocks. The enemy's attempt to depressurize the corridor and starve the Honor Guard of air they weren't using was predictably ineffective. "Secure the evac route for the civvies," he ordered, "Then it's time for blood."
"AYE SIR!" came the roar over his comms.
"I'm in," 4r490rn reported, and started opening doors for the Honor Guard, venting compartments occupied by the enemy, disrupting communications, and otherwise using the ship's systems to make a deadly nuisance of himself to the Axxaakk aboard.
In short order, the diplomats were escorted back to the We Sing, loaded into the lifeboats and launched with all speed toward minimum hyperspace distance. Ambassador Laurent watched Corporal Laurent's armored figure shrink into the distance, and then the We Sing maneuvered to fire upon the escort vessels, cutting him off from her view.
Aboard the bridge of the Among the Star Tides We Sing, Captain Yeavdrill ordered, "Get those escorts' attention! The shiprats have the frigate from the inside, at all costs, protect the lifeboats!"
"Aye sir," came the chorus from the bridge crew. The We Sing began firing her NC cannons upon both of the cruisers, putting five pound balls of tungsten on target at a rate of thirty a second, and while the cruisers took evasive action but still found the We Sing interposed between them and the lifeboats, with potential trajectories cut off by streams of hot plasma or beams of deadly radiation. Then, she fired her missile banks. At first the crews aboard the cruisers thought they had successfully destroyed the massive missiles speeding toward them with their point-defense, but when the rippling nuclear explosions racked their shields they realized their error. They began to fire upon the Among the Star Tides we Sing.
Meanwhile, sixty-nine RNI made the lives of their aggressors hell, or short. Either way didn't much matter to the RNI, who had taken over the four reactor rooms, and had dug in for a delaying action, while those with reactor knowledge tinkered to see if they could get one or more to overload. It was a platoon up against a few divisions, however, and eventually they would be subsumed by numbers alone. "Pull whoever kills you down with you," Robbie had ordered, and again the roar was "AYE SIR!"
It only took half a minute for the Axxaakk to figure out that their standard issue shipboard action weapons weren't going to be enough, and that the RNI had thought ahead and brought their own atmosphere, so they brought out the anti-tank ordinance. It was normally a very bad idea to use anti-tank plasma lances and penetrative explosives inside your own ship, but when your ship is under attack by single man mobile armor, it's either that or surrender. They chose do die at a rate of twenty-to-one. One after another, the RNI Honor Guard fall to the slowly mounting volume of fire, and their need to conserve ammunition.
Meanwhile, 4r490rn was battling the Axxaakk anti-intrusion systems. He had been wrong about his declaration that digital sapience was absent, or at least he had been mostly right. The Axxaakk was a damaged sentient code, lobotomized, shackled, enslaved. A piteous thing crying out for the mercy of death even as it struck out to kill. It was all he could do to keep the wretched thing from kicking him from the door systems, and his RNI comrades had dwindled to the last two. He made his choice. 4r490rn began bricking the ship's computer systems, and set up an irreversible chain reaction to do the same. He was going to put that thing out of its misery if it killed him.
First Lieutenant Robert George had his back up against that of Corporal Laurent's and they were both down to their monomolecular knives. The farocity of the fight, and the immense cost in blood that it had taken to whittle down the Honor Guard to these last two, had convinced the remaining warriors to wait. Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn's voice came crackling over the damaged intercom, "Warriors of Terra, you have shown yourself worthy. Lay down your arms and take your rest, and I shall bring you into glorious service of Axzuur, sating his thirst for the blood of the unworthy."
Aboard the lifeboat, Ambassador Laurant watched the feed from Corporal Laurent's helmet cam. Tears streamed down her face as she heard her husband whisper, "Witness me," as he plunged his monomolecular blade into something vital-looking, and was then washed out by a bright light. Then, she cleared the display and looked at the main viewscreen. Ten seconds to jump. However, the frigate was starting to maneuver, underpowered as it was.
Aboard the Among the Star Tides We Sing Captain Yeavdrill saw the frigate moving to target the lifeboats. Without a second thought, he ordered, "Make ramming speed for that hunk of junk! Overload the reactor!"
"Witnessed," crackled over the coms as the prow of the Among the Star Tides We Sing crashed into the enemy frigate amidships. She erupted in a sphere of atomic hellfire that battered all three assailing ships, and in the two minutes it took for the escort cruisers' systems to recover, the lifeboats slipped into hyperspace and beyond their reach. Though to be fair, the frigate was missing a significant chunk and was unlikely to recover at all.
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2023.05.30 08:03 RainbowSupernova8196 The Greatest Flaw of Every Season of Hell's Kitchen
Seasons 1-3: Only 12 contestans.
Season 4: A horrible cast.
Season 5: Only 2 women in Black Jackets.
Season 6: Red Team only won the 7th Service.
Season 7: Horrible Red Team.
Season 8: A horrible cast (despite how entertaining it was), and only 2 men in Black Jackets.
Season 9: Keeping Elise around for far too long, and only 5 Black Jackets despite an 18-person cast.
Season 10: A bitchy Red Team and horribly performing Blue Team.
Season 11: A horrible cast (arguably the worst in HK history) and only 5 Black Jackets despite a 20-person cast.
Season 12: Only 2 men in Black Jackets (even though they were the Final 2).
Season 13: Roe and Santos getting Black Jackets.
Season 14: All-Female Final 3 (That Red Team was GOATed, but Milly deserved a place in the Final 3 over Michelle).
Season 15: Only one Male in the Final 6. (At least it wasn't Frank ¯_(ツ)_/¯)
Season 16: That. Fucking. Blue. Team.
All-Stars: Bringing Elise back.
Rookies vs. Veterans: Only Rookies vs. Veterans for 4 episodes.
Season 19: Amber outlasting Nikki.
Young Guns: The idea of the season itself. What was the point?
Battle of the Ages: Same as RVV and YG.
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2023.05.30 07:30 Street-Accountant796 Post-Scarsity isn't Post-Suffering 46
Trigger warning: Mentions of abuse
÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷ First Previous
I didn't know how Mateo did it. Forgave so easily. I was not that good; not that benevolent.
The way I saw it, the galaxy was a cruel thing tenanted mostly by uncaring inhabitants who willfully caused pain and suffering to other beings, or at least felt no concern for the hurt they dealt or tolerated.
Whenever I thought about my father - the begetter of children he never saw as people but merely expendable commodities - I started to seethe and sulfuric, slender ringlets of smoke drifted menacingly from my nostrils.
It's not like I didn't try
to be better, I really did. Those hours trying to get help from him to my mother bleeding to death in front of me spawned a darker me. The hours sitting in my mother's and siblings' blood with the quiet of their deaths screaming in my mind, those
hours depleted something vital in me.
I am able to forgive if not forget. I forgave the commander when he intentionally hurt me with the gravity change. I forgave the IASO for her antics in our initial interview. But my sire? I didn't think so. Other Coltavalke? I didn't feel like being a member of that particular gang.
So how is Mateo ok with Ouer, the Eoan teenager?!? Her entire species was guilty of the most horrible acts against sentients and sapients. I understood not blaming the kid but how did he stay in the same room without being overwhelmed with disgust and fury?
Well, Mateo was befriending the monster lookalike and I was there to support him.
We were behind the door of the youth habitation unit belonging to Saša, Ouer's guardian for the moment. An almost breathtakingly handsome, young Deblom male opened the door.
Deblom male: Yes? Who're you here for?
Milko (after shaking his head slightly to clear her thoughts): I'm Milko, a Coltavalke, and this is Mateo, a human. We're here for Ouer.
Deblom male: Who?
Mateo: It's ok, we're on the list of approved visitors.
Deblom: Great for you.
His handsomeness was waning in my eyes. There's no beauty in the galaxy to make up for these
manners. Still, I tried again, politely. I tried to keep smoke from escaping but keeping it in was making my eyes water.
Milko: This is Saša's habitation unit, isn't it?
Mateo: Is Saša
Or care, it seemed. He was leaning to the doorframe at an increasingly alarming angle. His eyes were half closed in a way he probably thought was sexy but came across as exhausted and dull. Suddenly I saw Ouer in the room behind the obtuse Deblom.
Ouer: Are you here to see me
At the sudden sound of the low gurgling Eoan nightmare fuel of a voice, the Deblum guy exceeded his maximum lean angle and unceremoniously plonked on the floor. It was very satisfying to see him blinking several times like a confused Huuq.
I held Mateo's hand and we curtly stepped over him to our new friend.
Ouer: You came! You actually came! That guy kept telling me you didn't mean it as a promise. He said nobody would think twice betraying the likes of me!
Saša (stepping into the room from some smaller room in the back): Who
It took him about half a human second to find the Deblom guy on the floor wearing an obnoxious smirk. He was lying in a weird pose on the floor, one leg bend up, opening his crotch area in a way that would be obscene if it weren't so utterly ridiculous. Saša sighed.
Mateo: Saša, we came to take Ouer to play in the private shore area. One of our friends is already there. If Ouer wants to come, of course.
Saša: This is just having some good-natured fun together, kids only?
Milko: "Young people"
, please, not "kids"
Saša: Of course. It was just a slip of the tongue.
Mateo: Then yes, sir, just us. If we happen to start discussing some legal stuff, we'll inform everyone. It's not the idea, though.
Saša: Ouer, do you wish to go?
Ouer: Oh, yes, yes, please!
Saša: Use the lift at the end of the corridor. Tierpe, c'mon, let's go discuss this in my office. Up, up, up: other people need to use that threshold. It's not there purely as a background for your pin-up poses!
Mateo: We have a friend, Caleo. Please, be very careful with him. He very nearly died a few days ago. He is aquatic, small, and cute.
Milko: He used to be enslaved, his entire life until now. And his slavers directly caused his condition. He had never seen a bath, not to mention a beach. He wasn't taught anything. He didn't even have a name until Mateo gave him one.
Mateo: We were there when he woke up, and feel very protective towards him. He doesn't know how the real world works.
Milko: He has known no kindness.
Mateo: He has never had anything, not even the basics.
Milko: They didn't give the enslaved children even a glass or a mug to drink from. A bowl on the floor if they were really lucky, mostly just some used water was splashed on the floor for them to lick.
Mateo: I took a bath with him on our spaceship. He - an aquatic child - had never before been immersed in water!
Milko: Sorry to rant on you. It's not like you
did anything to him.
Mateo: The injustice of it, the sheer agony these kids endured...
Milko: ...it just gets us very riled up.
Mateo: Partly because of our own trauma and enslavement. Which was not that bad.
Ouer: Not as bad?! You almost died. Your sister did die. You were tortured and eaten for months until you rescued yourself!
Milko: Not to mention the slave work we were forced to do at the space station, Mateo.
Ouer: Aren't you still having physical problems you are here to fix? And the degree of enslavement and torture is not some competition! What one person might not even remember might be extremely traumatic to another. And it doesn't mean they're weaker or anything.
Mateo: Wow, Ouer! That was well put! Race you to the elevator!
Milko: No fair! My legs are short!
Ouer (whisking by Milko): Well I don't have legs at all, just one muscular foot!
Really wouldn't have thought it possible but despite Mateo's head start the legless mollusk won the race. Soon we were at the private shore. It was - of course - an artificial beach with one-third sand and two-thirds water. The HOTCHI-station had several of these as well as other environments to help with rehabilitation after surgeries or hospital stays.
It was perfect for our purposes. Ouer wasn't guilty in any way of the previous attack on the HOTCHI station. But his physical form would trigger horrendous memories in several patients and many of the staff here. We decided public areas were to be avoided, for now.
I couldn't believe it. All my life I had been hiding, knowing exposure to others would only bring suffering and death. Our species was hated for good reason and our form was disgusting.
And here I was, on the very station our hated warriors had desecrated in acts more vile than anywhere else. But I was allowed to move around and meet people! And now someone - two someones - wanted to do something incredibly nice to me!
Their friend had never been immersed in water in his life. Mateo and Milko seemed to find this especially condemning since the child was of an aquatic species. Like me.
I didn't know if I should tell them that I hadn't even ever seen
enough water to submerge in. I wondered if it would make me look too pitiful.
"Shore." I knew what the word meant. I had seen a low-resolution picture of one. I almost hyperventilated thinking I'd get to see one in real life. It was artificial, I knew that. But most things in space are.
We stepped in the omnidirectional hover-lift. The lift had minimal friction as it hovered magnetically in the shaft. The ride was smooth, as were the transitions from vertical to horizontal.
But the best part was the interior of the lift. Even though the travel only took some minutes there was ample room and an abundance of seating options. This was
a hospital and the convalescents were given every opportunity to do things and not just forlornly lie on a bed.
One side was for mammals with seats that conformed to different kinds of people. On the opposing side were perches and nests for avians. That section also had branches and caverns for insectoids.
And the back wall, directly where you looked when you entered, was the section for aquatic and amphibious species. With a push of a button, you could get either freshwater or saline water in different concentrations.
You could get totally underwater, sit in a seat partially underwater, or get water osmotically just by holding onto a bar with a partially permeable membrane. I used the last method. These humans, they think of everything. You could even add small molecules of nutrients of your choice to the solution. It was so refreshing after so long in the relatively dry spaces the Terrans preferred.
In truth, when the elevator ride was over I kinda wishes it had lasted longer. But the siren song of a shore was too enticing to ignore.
The elevator chauffeured us right outside our private shore. The door faded out to let us pass into a corridor. A small cephalopod child was impatiently waiting for us.
They were mostly diaphanous with a blue tint, possibly for sun protection. Some parts of them were darker blue, presumably for more protection against harmful UV and galactic cosmic radiation.
They had no hard external shell or internal bone, three hearts were visible, and their delicate tentacles were curling and uncurling with excitement.
Caleo: Mateo! Milko! Is the shore here? Right here? I feel weird but good weird. Is that normal? Who is that with you? Are they nice? I'm feeling sooo good weird!
Mateo: Slow down a tad, Caleo! Good weird is probably excitement. Excitement is a really good feeling, right?
Caleo: Yes, good, good! Good weird excitement! A good, new word!
Milko: Caleo, this is our new friend Ouer. She is an Eoan, of the good ones. Ouer, this is our friend Caleo. We don't know the species' name, though.
Ouer: Very good and exciting to meet you, Caleo. My parents taught me how to recognize many sapient, aquatic, and amphibian species. You know, not to... accidentally mistake them for a food source. Caleo is an Urtsas. They are masters in camouflage.
Mateo: Wow, thanks, Ouer! Did you hear that, Caleo? Your people are called Urtsas!
Milko: Later, it would be really great if you, Ouer, could tell us what else you know about the Urtsas. We hope to eventually contact Caleo's people, maybe even some relatives.
Mateo: But now, behold the shore!
The large door dissolved into the air and revealed the paradise within.
Warm airflow with tiny drops of salt water caressed me tantalizingly, practically propelling my body toward the shore. I felt directional warmth and light. It looked like the ceiling wasn't there. Instead, it looked like the sky, incredibly high above. And the warmth came from a light yellow ball in the sky. I looked at Mateo, incredibly. He lifted his shoulders for a moment.
Mateo: Our cradle has one white-colored yellow dwarf star
. I'm told this is an approximation of how it looks seeing it through Earth's atmosphere. It looks yellow.
Ouer: You're told
? You haven't been there?
Mateo: We were six when our detestable uncle decided to kill us slowly by selling us to an Eoan ship as food. The few years with him before that weren't any better. We weren't let outside much, and he had newspapers glued to cover the windows for some obscure reason. I must have seen the Sun, but don't recall.
Milko: I'm not even sure if there are beaches on our planet. The space station we grew up on definitely didn't. This will be our first time experiencing this as well! Let's go!
These two were candid when talking about their frankly horrible past. But they were not wallowing in the wretchedness of it all. They looked towards new, positive experiences with their heads held high. They had their severe trauma. I had seen that myself. They just seemed to grasp whatever positive experiences they encountered with all manipulation extremities. And then share it others.
The floor transitioned into fine sand. There was a rockier part but I wanted to feel the sand under my foot. It was so much finer than the coarse rubble my family had to acquiesce with. Rubble made from ground, non-metallic spaceship salvage.
I reveled in the sublime experience of the smooth sand, the sunshine, and the glorious breeze. Only it was cut short by excited, high-pitched squeals. I turned around at couldn't help but laugh.
Now I knew my form was monstrous. That was the day I found out my laugh was a sound causing instinctual, instantaneous horror in other beings. Had it only been Mateo - whose association with the sound was in all probability horrific. But no. Equal terror had engulfed also Caleo and Milko, who had never heard it before.
Mateo recovered first. He had stepped in front of Milko protectively and was extending a hand to yank Caleo to safety as well. Milko had dropped her head. Something was coming out of her nostrils, something gaseous, burning, and sulfuric. Also, some sort of chitin plates on her back were raised.
Caleo had frozen mid-squeal. Half of his tentacles were pointing up at varying angles, clearly just thrown sand up in the air. A few were digging sand out of his gelatinous body, and the rest had been threading the sand, making him half-sink inside the sand dune.
I couldn't help it. It was all so hilarious. I fell backward into the sand and roared in laughter. As I said, Mateo recovered first.
Mateo: That... that eldritch sound came from you?
Mateo: Right. It's a handy word for something otherworldly, eerie, and unnatural that inspires immediate fear.
Milko: A good word working hard to convey a lot of meaning.
Mateo: Quite. Ouer, was that your laughter
Ouer: Well, yes. Caleo looked so adorably funny, I couldn't help it!
Hardly had I said that when something sandy and sticky with way too many thin tentacles jumped on my unsuspecting and unprepared soft part. It was my turn to squeal shrilly. Except it came out more like a feeble yelp due to the tentacles pressing on my air-breathing organ.
I was stunned for a moment. A good thing I was. The child was obviously not attacking with menace but incredibly with joy. They were laughing in a way that distantly mimicked mine! Seeing that my other two friends' alarm converted into hilarity as well.
The sand was fun but the smell of salt water and the sound of the water moving rhythmically soon became irresistible. When we arrived at the point where the water started we all just looked at it in wonder. It was magical. It was soothing. Peaceful. Awe-inspiring. Home.
In the shallow, the water was turquoise and moved further into the sand and then back again in a gentle, slightly froth-edged movement. The water seemed to sparkle in the light of the sun. I was hypnotized.
Mateo: Those are waves! They're so...so... beautiful!
Ouer: Yes, that's the word I was looking for: waves!
We turned to look at Caleo who was waddling towards the water. He stopped at a place where the water was only a few centimeters deep.
Caleo: Ooooh, I like
this moving water! And I like
the water-sand that moves under me! C'mon, you slow people, come try this!
That was all the rest of us needed to join the kid. Mateo had quickly taken off most of his clothes and was wearing short pants. I had to fast intake a large amount of air when I saw the scars on his body.
I would never, ever, in any circumstance belittle anyone's trauma again like I did when we first met. How - just how - had he survived?
He joined Caleo in the shallow water, lifting his legs like a decapod crustacean, trying to bring wet sand up with his toes and throwing water on himself - and Caleo who happened to be near him. Caleo retaliated by sucking water in through their body and then squirting it on Mateo's face in a stream. A war ensued, one with water, wet sand, and laughter as weapons.
I looked at Milko. She stood timidly at the fringe of the water, just letting the very tips of her feet touch the water. She felt my gaze and looked a little embarrassed.
Milko: I don't think our planet has
surface water in any meaningful quantities. We have mountains and meadows, valleys and small mountain brooks. And rocky desert galore. I'm also not sure if my form is compatible with floating.
Mateo: Neither is Ouer's. You could always dive and just come back up for short periods to take some air.
Milko: Brother, you don't swim either!
Mateo: No. But I can always stand and walk in shallow water. And I can sit
in the water!
And that's when he plopped down to sit. The water splashed everywhere, even on Milko. I got some, too. That's when Milko charged right in front of Mateo, made herself as wide as possible, and splashed him really well when she
plopped down to sit.
Mateo cleared the water from his face and laughed. But that was the moment the dragon girl had waited. She lifted and struck the water hard on her long, prehensile, and powerful tail. Mateo got a good spurt of salt water into his open mouth.
By then Milko had sprinted away. Mateo gave chase. But the two were laughing the entire time. It was just play.
I went to the shallow and let the waves wash my lower body. It was almost overwhelming. Caleo approached me and tapped my shell with one thin tentacle.
Caleo: I know. More water than you can understand. I had no words. I couldn't think, just feel.
We stood there together for several minutes, two aquatic beings, pondering things too big for our brains.
Caleo: Wanna go deeper?
Ouer: I'm afraid I go underwater completely and my gills won't work. I have never needed them before.
Caleo: Don't worry. Even if they don't work, you can hold your breath until you get up again.
Ouer: You are very smart.
Caleo: No, I'm dumb. No one says it here, but my owners did. All the time.
Ouer: They weren't your owners
, Caleo. They were criminals, kidnappers, and slavers. Slavers of children, which makes them the worst of all slavers.
Caleo: What is kidnapping?
Ouer: Take a person away by force or by lying and not letting them go.
Caleo: They didn't do that. They bought my egg and made me. So I was theirs to do what they liked with.
Mateo: Is that what they said? They were lying to you. They didn't make
you, Caleo. Your parents did.
Caleo: But maybe my parents gave ... sold...
Milko: That doesn't matter. Stolen, bought, kidnapped, cheated, found, incubated, whatever. You are a sapient being and sapient beings cannot be owned.
Mateo: Ouer was right: they didn't own you. They were illegally keeping you imprisoned, they hurt you and they forced you to work for them. They are scum.
Mateo: You know how trash comes to the surface of water? If you have really dirty, trashy, smelly, horrible water, what comes to the surface of that? The most horrible of the horrible? That
Caleo let out a peal of surprised laughter. We all joined. Then we all went a little deeper into the water. Caleo suddenly disappeared from view to our alarm. But soon I could see them swooshing here and there, propelled by their tentacles. I pointed them to Mateo and Milko.
I approached the deep carefully. The more of my body I got under water the better I felt. The buoyancy of the water made me feel a lot more graceful. A lot less monsterlike.
At some point, I realized I was getting oxygen from the water when my gills were still above it.
Ouer: Mateo and Milko, why am I breathing water without my gills?!
Milko: I read about this. Many beings like you can breathe through your skin. And your gills double as a sort of mouth.
Ouer: Mouth?!? You're not serious!
Mateo: It's true. If you are in a body of water that has food particles, your gills trap those small particles. You are quite remarkable, Ouer!
Ouer: Can you come with me to the deep water? I'm a little apprehensive still...
Mateo; I would love to ... but ... I don't know how to swim...
Ouer: Oh, I'm sorry I asked.
Mateo: It's nothing. I mean...it doesn't matter.
Caleo: Ouer! Ouer! Ouer! Come and swim with me!
Mateo: Go on, Ouer! Go have fun!
And fun I had! I started to feel like these people could be trusted. Mainly because they genuinely wanted to give me and Caleo a wonderful day. And they asked no questions or even hinted that I should now reciprocate somehow.
I slept so well after that day. I only wondered if our planet used to be like that. I also wondered if my parents experienced water like that.
And slowly I started to feel some hope for the future. Maybe my people could
find a watery home. Live and not only exist.
÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷¢÷ First Previous
submitted by Street-Accountant796
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 06:57 nabideku What Distinguishes the Male Gaze From the Female Gaze?
My guy friends and my girl friends can never agree when it comes to physical appearances of both guys and girls.
For context, I'm a 22F girl and I don't get the male gaze either. One time, my whole friend group went out for dinner and drinks. The guys starting talking about how they thought our waitress was super cute and that if they were at a bar, they would totally buy drinks for her. I immediately looked over at my girl friends and we were all looking at each other like WTF. Because all of us thought that our waitress was an average looking girl, nothing special about her.
And vice versa, most of the girls (normal ppl and celebs) that my girl friends think are gorgeous, my guy friends think are just average.
Wanted to open the floor up for who you guys think are people that perfectly fit your male gaze vs who you think fits into the female gaze more - physical appearance wise. What makes or breaks them from fitting into your male gaze?
submitted by nabideku
to AskMen [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 04:42 Darmanarya Hunting Party chapter 5
((Time for feels! Discussion of identity and trauma ahead as pretty much standard with anything involving u/SpacePaladin15’s
Nature of Predators series and its fanfics. Credit goes to them for the aforementioned story this is based on! And yup, double upload today!))
Memory transcript subject:
Arxur exchange participant Syle Date [standardized human time]:
October 20, 2136
“You thought I was a male!? Do you not see my curves, my face, my EVERYTHING!?” I roared at the venlil shit brained human.
“Hey hey hey I didn’t expect to be this lu- I mean- I didn’t expect this.” He quickly called out as he lifted up his hands. “I just had thought you were a very effeminite male.”
“Men are NOT this feminine.” I hissed out as I once more motioned to my small, slender, FEMALE body!
“Well, some human men are, and you are one of the first Arxur I have ever seen.” he pointed out as he grabbed his data pad and started typing prophet knows what.
“Krakotl shit. There is no way ANY man can look thi-”
By the prophet that was a girl in a cute pink dress.
“Okay, that is a girl.” I hissed at Jack.
“No its not.” He calmly replied then pointed at the username. It was masculine, but no gnashing way that thing was male.
“You are lying. Do not lie to me.”
“I am not!” he then pointed at a part of the picture. I leaned in close as my tail lashed side to side.
By the prophet it WAS a male. What? Why? HOW?!
I straightened up as I looked at Jack, then the picture, then back at Jack. “But… Why?” I asked motioning to the picture. “It serves no purpose! Why bother showing yourself in such a way? He clearly put in all the work to look female and he is not even identifying as female?
“Because he wants to look pretty, show off, and its what he finds fun.” Jack explained. “This one isn’t even gay.” He then put his pad down before sitting in the long-chair of comfy. “Humans love to express things with what they wear all the time. Its how we show our identity, what we like, and how we want to be seen. He wants to be seen as pretty and make people feel good. Some girls dress like men because they want pockets. Some men dress like girls to get guys. Some, like me, dress simply because we do not care that much about it.”
My head spun at all the various ways that humans dressed. “So… its… like camouflage?” I slowly asked before sitting down. Why would you want to wear things like that? It would just make you stand out! Isn’t that bad?
“Yes, but no.” He rubbed the back of his head and let out a long groan. “Why did the first thing have to be clothing? I have no fashion sense!” He grumbled. That F-word had no translation at all for me so I just kept staring as he talked more. “So, humans use their clothing to express themselves for the most part. They use what they wear to show things. How they feel, how they want to look, to make a statement, to draw attention, and more. Some wear camo even in public to show their identity even.”
Wait, the humans can stand out? “Wouldn’t that get you labeled as defective? I mean, it seems like such a waste of time and more. Plus, it serves no real point to hunting or anything.”
“We don’t see it as a waste, and some people deliberately dress to show themselves as, as you would put it, defective. Different and against the norm is in fact an identity some people WANT to show.” He explained before motioning to his body. “The fact I wear pretty much ONLY jeans and nerdy t-shirts in public is my way of saying I am defective and do not care for fashion. Ironically enough its a fairly popular statement.”
My head swam. Wanting to be SEEN and KNOWN as defective!? “You… you don’t kill defects?” I slowly asked staring right into those eyes. Please. Tell me I am safe. Please let me be defective. Please let me. Please.
He stared back at me with wide eyes. “Oh… oh shit.” he looked around and took a deep breath. “Well fuck this is above my pay grade. No. No we do not. In fact we don’t even correct most things that some consider “defective” anymore. In fact, its usually seen as a good thing these days.”My brain just seemed to… stop.
Defective? Good? Safe? No correct? No betterment? No kill?
“Hey, Syle, you- oh no you are not.”
What? The human held me close. His skin was soft, his body was not hard. Warm. Very warm. Safe. I leaned into him and closed my eyes as I curled up next to him.
“I… hated eating sentients. I… didn’t want to. No choice. If they knew they would have killed me.” I gasped out. “If you didn’t take me in they would have killed me for losing to you.” I finally admitted. It felt… good. Very good. I never got to talk to someone like this.”
His hand rubbed my head softly. It felt wonderful. His hand was the softest I had ever felt in my life. I wanted more of these head rubs.
“I… I want to be defective. Is that ok? Is that really ok?” I asked over and over again. This was too good to be true! This human won me fair and square, but he won a proud Arxur hunter. Not a defective freak like me.
“Yes. Yes it is. I promise no eating anything sentient.” His voice was softer, gentler than normal. Soft like his belly, his hand, this long-chair. I like soft. Soft is good. Need more soft. “You also don’t have to act tough all the time. You don’t have to be angry.”
Less anger? But anger keep me alive. Anger keep me fed. Anger help me hunt?
More tears. More warm.
“Its okay Syle. Let it out. You are safe here. I promise.” He cooed down to me.
I cried for prop- no. No more prophet, no more betterment. They want me dead now, so they can go- gnash I don’t even know. Rot?
I just cried into this man’s shirt. Every time I felt like they were going to stop, I realized that I was still safe, that nobody hit me for it, nobody yelled at me, nobody was watching me to see if I was “broken” and more came out. I don’t know how long I cried, and I don’t care. I was safe.
Finally I managed to stop, but I was not going to leave him. Being held felt… good. Plus, even though it was safe I didn’t want this human, no, Jack to see me all broken like this. I took slow, deep breaths like I used to on the ship, trying to calm down. His hand rubbing my head helped too.
“Can you help me pick out new clothes Jack? I don’t… I really don’t want to wear Arxur armor anymore.” My words were quiet. At first I thought he couldn’t hear them, but I could feel his body move a bit. “Sure. I will help you order some. Until then you can wear some of mine. I buy some baggy clothes that should fit.” He calmly said as he rubbed my head. “No rush though. Just relax. In fact, I will give you a nice comfy pair of pajamas like mine for tonight to sleep in.”
I nodded and we just sat there awhile. The room was dark now as night had come, but the fire gave us light and warmth. I wanted to sleep on this long chair in the arms of this human. I was safe. I was fed. I was warm. No yelling. No pain.
We stayed that way for awhile before I sat up and took a deep breath. He rubbed my back a bit before he got up and went into a different room leaving me alone. I looked around again. There were some pretty pictures on the wall, a few nice things on tables, but it felt empty. Normally I would be packed in with at least two others since our ships were tiny, but here?
He finally returned and put some soft clothes on my lap. “You can change in the bathroom.” He said pointing to a different room. I nodded and soon was wrapped in the warmest, softest clothing I have ever felt in my life! It had long sleeves that wrapped my arms and long pants legs that even covered my claws! Every move I made caused the soft fabric to brush against me like wearing a nice blanket!
I walked out and Jack gave me a warm smile. My tail curled up as I stretched a bit, shuddering as my joints popped. “Alright. Lets get some sleep.” he then patted my shoulder and led me to a hallway. “I think you need it.” I did. I so gnashing did.
He took me to a HUGE bedroom with a bed big enough for two arxur! My tail curled in the air, was he-
“This is your private room.” He motioned across it with an open hand. “All yours. You can even lock the door if you want. I will be just across the hall. Any questions?” I shook my head. My own private room. Like I was a chief hunter. I slowly walked to the bed and put a hand on it enjoying how soft EVERYTHING was! I could hear him close the door as I slid onto the bed and under the covers.
It was so quiet. I had always slept in a crowded bunk room, even as a hatchling. I rolled over and over looking around for someone, listening for something, but the world was quiet. I stared at the ceiling forever, unable to sleep. My mind kept drifting to how warm and soft Jack was. How I needed somebody in the room with me. Finally I let out a hiss knowing what I had to do.
I slid out of bed and calmly went across the hall. There was jack, laid on his side in an even bigger bed than mine. Alone as well. “Hrmf? Wh- Oh. Syle? What’s up?” He asked clearly having been drifting off asleep.
“I… am not used to sleeping alone.” I confessed. My words soft as my tail swayed side to side.
“Oh. uh….” He looked at me in surprise before giving a small nod. “Alright. Its… not normal for humans to sleep together like this, but uh. Sure.”
With that I slid into his bed and pressed my back against his warm, soft belly. A happy chirp left my traitorous lips, but he was making odd, strange noises before he let out a long breath and put an arm around me.
submitted by Darmanarya
to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 04:27 Acceptable-Friend-92 The most comprehensive Bollywood gossips and controversies post ever: The Scandals, Love Triangles, Casting Couch, Rumours and Gossips over the Years.
Peeling back the curtain to take an exhaustive look at the scandals, love triangles, and controversies that have rocked our favorite industry over the years. Let me know in comments which ones were you most moved by and which ones you hadn't heard before. Please feel free to add more context or new gossips that you know of, in the comments. I. Epic Love Triangles 1. Salman Khan - Aishwarya Rai - Vivek Oberoi:
This tale begins with Salman and Aishwarya's sparkling chemistry on the sets of "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" in 1999. Their real-life romance soon hit rocky grounds with allegations of Salman's abusive behavior. Enter Vivek Oberoi, who offered Aishwarya emotional support during this difficult time. This resulted in Salman allegedly making threatening calls to Vivek, leading to a heated press conference by Vivek, and a chilly relationship between the two actors ever since. 2. Hrithik Roshan - Sussanne Khan - Barbara Mori:
The industry was left reeling when rumors of Hrithik Roshan's alleged affair with his "Kites" co-star Barbara Mori started making the rounds in 2010. This reportedly led to a temporary separation between Hrithik and his wife Sussanne Khan. The couple later reconciled, only to eventually divorce in 2014. 3. Raveena Tandon - Akshay Kumar - Shilpa Shetty:
In the late 90s, Akshay Kumar was romantically involved with Raveena Tandon, only to reportedly two-time her with her friend Shilpa Shetty. This led to a feud between the two actresses, though they later buried the hatchet. II. Feuds and Fallouts 1. Shah Rukh Khan - Salman Khan:
Their brotherly love soured at Katrina Kaif's birthday party in 2008, where a heated argument turned their friendship into a rivalry. Their relations have since been turbulent, though they seem to be on better terms now. 2. Karan Johar - Kajol:
This iconic friendship hit a roadblock over a film release clash between Kajol's husband Ajay Devgn's "Shivaay" and Karan's "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil." It took them years to mend their strained relationship. 3. Kangana Ranaut's Feuds:
Her spats with industry veterans from Hrithik Roshan to Karan Johar have been public and often bitter, leading to an ongoing dialogue about insider-outsider dynamics in Bollywood. III. Controversies That Shaped the Conversation 1. The Nepotism Debate:
The conversation around nepotism in Bollywood took center stage after Kangana Ranaut called Karan Johar the "flagbearer of nepotism" on his talk show. This stirred a heated debate about privilege and opportunities in the industry. 2. The Sushant Singh Rajput Case:
Sushant's untimely demise in 2020 led to conversations about mental health, the cutthroat nature of the industry, and sparked an ongoing investigation into his death. 3. Deepika Padukone’s "Cleavage Controversy":
When TOI published an inappropriate article objectifying Deepika, it ignited a much-needed dialogue about the dignity and respect of women in the entertainment industry. IV. The Casting Couch Phenomenon 1. Shakti Kapoor Sting Operation:
In 2005, India TV carried out a sting operation on Shakti Kapoor, where he was caught on camera offering work to an undercover reporter in exchange for sexual favors. The incident exposed the seedy underbelly of the casting couch in Bollywood. 2. Tanushree Dutta - Nana Patekar Incident:
In 2018, Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of sexual harassment during a 2008 film shoot, marking the advent of the #MeToo movement in Bollywood. V. Turbulent Relationships and Breakups 1. Abhishek Bachchan - Karisma Kapoor Breakup:
This engagement had the makings of a Bollywood fairy tale until it abruptly ended in 2003, amid various speculations, including family disagreements. 2. Amitabh Bachchan - Rekha Affair:
This controversial affair in the 70s between Amitabh, who was married to Jaya Bhaduri, and Rekha, the sultry siren of Bollywood, is still discussed today. Their alleged love story ended after the shooting of 'Silsila', which ironically depicted a similar love triangle. VI. Sensational Controversies 1. The Underworld Connection:
From extortion threats to film financing, the connection between Bollywood and the underworld has been an open secret. The incident of producer Gulshan Kumar's assassination in 1997 sent shockwaves through the industry. 2. Sanjay Dutt's Arms Act Case:
Sanjay Dutt's arrest in 1993, under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act for possessing illegal weapons, was a major controversy. His involvement strained his career and personal life significantly. 3. The Blackbuck Poaching Case:
Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam, and Sonali Bendre were accused of hunting blackbucks during the shooting of 'Hum Saath Saath Hain' in 1998. Salman Khan was sentenced to 5 years in prison in 2018 but is currently out on bail. VII. Scandals that Made Headlines 1. Shahrukh Khan vs. Shirish Kunder:
SRK allegedly slapped Farah Khan's husband Shirish Kunder at Sanjay Dutt's party in 2012 for his derogatory tweets. 2. The AIB Roast Case:
The 2015 AIB Knockout featuring Karan Johar, Ranveer Singh, and Arjun Kapoor drew significant criticism and legal trouble for its explicit content, questioning the limits of freedom of expression. 3. Priyanka Chopra-Nirav Modi Controversy:
Priyanka Chopra landed in controversy when she endorsed Nirav Modi's jewelry brand, which came under the scanner during the Punjab National Bank fraud case. VIII. Unfortunate Tragedies and Mysteries 1. Parveen Babi's Mental Health:
This yesteryear actress struggled with mental health issues, including schizophrenia. The glamour queen's tragic life ended in isolation, her body discovered in her apartment days after her death. 2. Jiah Khan Suicide Case:
This case from 2013 shocked Bollywood when the young actress took her own life. Her then-boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi was charged with abetting her suicide, and the case is still ongoing. 3. Sushant Singh Rajput's Death:
Sushant's death in June 2020 caused a national uproar and brought attention to mental health, nepotism, and drug use in Bollywood. The case is under investigation by various national agencies. IX. Controversial Remarks and Public Outbursts 1. Salman Khan's "Raped Woman" Comment:
Salman Khan faced public wrath for comparing his physical exhaustion during the filming of 'Sultan' to a "raped woman". His remark was widely criticized for being insensitive. 2. Kangana Ranaut's Confrontations:
Kangana Ranaut has been at the center of several controversies, from her public feud with Hrithik Roshan to her claims of rampant nepotism in Bollywood, causing a storm in the industry. 3. Swara Bhaskar's "Vagina Monologue":
Swara faced backlash for criticizing the portrayal of women in 'Padmaavat', especially her comment that she felt reduced to a "vagina" after watching the movie. X. The Drug Controversy
The 2020 NCB investigation into drug use in Bollywood, which began following the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, has been a significant recent controversy. Several top actors, including Deepika Padukone and Shraddha Kapoor, were summoned by the agency. XI. The Casting Couch Controversy
Casting couch allegations have been rampant in Bollywood, echoing the broader global issue faced by Hollywood in the form of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Many actors and actresses have reported facing such situations, adding a layer of disgrace to the industry's glamour. 1. Ranveer Singh:
Even male actors like Ranveer Singh weren't immune to this ugly side of Bollywood. Singh has admitted that during his struggling days, he was approached with casting couch offers. 2. Ayushmann Khurrana:
The versatile actor has also spoken out about casting couch experiences in his early career, highlighting that this isn't just an issue faced by actresses. XII. The Age-Gap Issue
Bollywood has often faced criticism for casting significantly younger actresses opposite older actors, furthering the stereotype and raising questions about the representation of women. 1. Shahrukh Khan and Alia Bhatt in 'Dear Zindagi':
Despite the film's critical acclaim, it was criticised for the glaring age difference between Shahrukh, who was 51 at the time, and Alia, who was 23. 2. Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani in 'Laxmii':
This film also faced similar backlash due to the age gap between Akshay (53) and Kiara (28). XIII. Wage Gap Controversy
Pay disparity between male and female actors has been a significant concern in Bollywood. This inequality reflects the systemic sexism within the industry. 1. Kareena Kapoor Khan:
Kareena highlighted this issue, revealing that she was paid less than her male co-stars in several movies. 2. Priyanka Chopra:
Priyanka also addressed this issue, stating that she was paid significantly less than her male counterparts for the same amount of work. XIV. The MeToo Movement in Bollywood
The MeToo wave hit Bollywood in 2018, shaking the foundations of the industry. Several prominent names were called out for sexual misconduct. 1. Nana Patekar and Tanushree Dutta:
Tanushree Dutta revived a decade-old case of alleged sexual harassment by Nana Patekar on a movie set. This case marked the beginning of the MeToo movement in Bollywood. 2. Vikas Bahl:
The 'Queen' director was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee at Phantom Films, leading to his temporary removal from the 'Super 30' project. 3. Alok Nath:
The veteran actor, known for his 'sanskaari' image on-screen, was accused of rape by writer-producer Vinta Nanda, sending shockwaves through the industry. XV. The Trouble with Award Shows
Award shows in Bollywood have often been under scrutiny for their lack of transparency and allegations of bias. Several stars have boycotted these events, expressing their discontent. 1. Aamir Khan:
Notoriously known for boycotting award shows, Aamir has stated that he doesn't believe in them as he finds them to be biased. 2. Akshay Kumar:
Akshay too has expressed his mistrust in award shows, mentioning that he was once told he would win an award if he performed at the ceremony. XVI. The Nepotism Debate
Nepotism in Bollywood came under severe criticism after the tragic death of Sushant Singh Rajput. Accusations were rife that the industry's preferential treatment of star kids was a contributing factor. 1. Kangana Ranaut:
Kangana sparked the nepotism debate on Karan Johar's talk show when she accused him of being the "flag-bearer of nepotism". 2. Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan:
These star kids have repeatedly faced flak for getting easy entries into Bollywood because of their family connections. XVII. Tax Evasion and Money Laundering Allegations
Several Bollywood celebrities have been involved in tax evasion and money laundering cases, tarnishing the industry's image. 1. Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas:
The couple reportedly faced allegations of illegal construction at their Mumbai residence. 2. Shah Rukh Khan:
King Khan had faced a case of alleged irregularities regarding the foreign exchange rule violation for his IPL team, Kolkata Knight Riders. XVIII. The Drug Controversy
Drug use in Bollywood came into the spotlight after the tragic demise of Sushant Singh Rajput. Many industry insiders were interrogated by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). 1. Rhea Chakraborty:
Rhea was arrested by the NCB for allegedly procuring drugs for Sushant. She spent nearly a month in prison before being granted bail. 2. Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, and Shraddha Kapoor:
These A-list actresses were summoned by the NCB for questioning regarding the drug nexus in Bollywood. XIX. Accusations of Plagiarism
Bollywood has frequently been accused of plagiarising content from Hollywood and other industries without proper credits or rights. 1. 'Barfi':
Anurag Basu's acclaimed film faced criticism for allegedly lifting scenes from various international films. 2. 'Ra.One':
Shah Rukh Khan's ambitious project was accused of being a rip-off of the video game character, G.One. XX. Casting Couch Allegations
One of the darker aspects of Bollywood, and indeed many film industries worldwide, is the infamous casting couch phenomenon. 1. Tanushree Dutta:
She accused Nana Patekar of behaving inappropriately during a film shoot, which led to the #MeToo movement in India. 2. Kangana Ranaut:
Kangana too has spoken out about her experiences with the casting couch early in her career. XXI. Censorship Issues and Political Controversies
Bollywood movies have often been at the center of political controversies, resulting in bans, protests, and even violent threats. 1. 'Padmaavat':
This film faced extreme backlash from certain groups who alleged that it distorted historical facts. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actress Deepika Padukone received death threats. 2. 'Udta Punjab':
This film highlighting the drug menace in Punjab faced numerous cuts from the Central Board of Film Certification, leading to a public outcry about censorship. XXII. Actor Feuds and Professional Rivalries
There have been numerous instances of feuds and fall-outs between Bollywood actors, sometimes even resulting in professional rivalries. 1. Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan:
Although they have patched up now, these two superstars had a notorious feud that lasted for several years. 2. Kareena Kapoor Khan and Priyanka Chopra Jonas:
Rumours of a rivalry between these two leading ladies have often made headlines. XXIII. Social Media Controversies
Social media has often been a platform where controversies erupt, from insensitive tweets to online feuds. 1. Sonam Kapoor:
Sonam was trolled for her comment on a meat ban in Mumbai, where she called the ban "misogynistic." 2. Abhijeet Bhattacharya:
The singer has been involved in numerous Twitter controversies, from making derogatory comments about women to getting suspended from the platform multiple times. XXIV. Controversial Statements and Interviews
Controversial statements made by actors during interviews have often sparked debates and backlash. 1. Salman Khan:
Salman faced criticism for his comment where he compared his physical exertion in 'Sultan' to that of a "raped woman". 2. Ranveer Singh:
Ranveer's statement about fantasizing about Kareena Kapoor Khan received backlash for being inappropriate. XXV. Alleged Affairs and Love Triangles
Bollywood's rumor mills are always buzzing with whispers of secret affairs and complicated love triangles. 1. Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha:
This alleged affair remains one of Bollywood's biggest unsolved mysteries. While neither has confirmed the rumors, their off-screen chemistry has always sparked speculation. 2. Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra:
There were rumors of a close relationship between the two during the shooting of 'Don 2,' although both actors have consistently denied any affair. XXVI. Plastic Surgery Rumors
It's common for celebrities to face rumors of cosmetic procedures, and Bollywood is no exception. 1. Anushka Sharma:
The actress faced immense criticism and trolling when she appeared on 'Koffee With Karan' with what looked like a fuller lip. Anushka later clarified that she used a temporary lip enhancing tool and not surgery. 2. Priyanka Chopra Jonas:
She faced similar rumors early in her career. While she has admitted to a botched surgery, she denies undergoing procedures for cosmetic purposes. XXVII. Scandalous Photoshoots and Wardrobe Malfunctions
These can lead to a storm of criticism, comments, and rumors for the stars involved. 1. Deepika Padukone:
Her 'Cleavage Show' controversy sparked a debate on sexism in media when a leading newspaper tweeted a derogatory comment about her outfit. 2. Alia Bhatt:
She faced a wardrobe malfunction during the promotion of 'Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania,' leading to unwarranted media attention. XXVIII. Controversial Remarks and Public Spats
When celebrities voice their opinions, it sometimes leads to public spats and controversies. 1. Sonakshi Sinha and Mallika Dua:
Sonakshi's comment on an episode of 'The Great Indian Laughter Challenge' didn't sit well with Mallika Dua, leading to a Twitter spat between the two. 2. Kangana Ranaut and Diljit Dosanjh:
Their spat over farmer protests in India became a hot topic on social media. XXIX. Rumoured Relationships
There have been numerous relationships in Bollywood that have been kept under wraps, with only whispers and hints to keep the gossip mills churning. 1. Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif:
This duo never officially confirmed their relationship, but their vacation pictures somehow found their way to the public, fueling rumors. 2. Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt:
Their chemistry in 'Student of the Year' sparked rumors of a budding relationship. However, they both have remained tight-lipped about their relationship status. XXX. Controversial Interviews and Statements
Sometimes, the words of these celebrities can stir a controversy. 1. Alia Bhatt's GK Gaffe:
Her infamous blunder on 'Koffee With Karan' made headlines and led to her being trolled on social media. 2. Sara Ali Khan on 'Colorism':
Sara's comment on preferring a 'fair and handsome' man led to a backlash, with critics accusing her of endorsing colorism. XXXII. Pay Disparity Controversies
Pay disparity in Bollywood has been a point of controversy and a source of debate. 1. Kareena Kapoor Khan:
She openly talked about the pay disparity in Bollywood, stating that she doesn't see her contemporaries being paid as much as their male co-stars. 2. Deepika Padukone:
She called out the pay disparity in Bollywood in several interviews, stating that she was paid less than her male co-stars despite having a substantial role. XXXIII. Allegations of Cheating
Even stars aren't immune to the pain and scandal of cheating allegations. 1. Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut:
This controversy took the industry by storm when Kangana alleged that Hrithik had cheated on his wife with her. The ensuing legal battle and mudslinging was all over the news. 2. Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha:
This is one of the oldest controversies in Bollywood. Though never confirmed, it's widely speculated that Amitabh had an extramarital affair with Rekha during the peak of his career. XXXIV. Nepotism Debates
Nepotism has been a long-standing issue in Bollywood, causing major debates and controversies. 1. Karan Johar:
Known to launch star kids, Karan has been at the center of the nepotism debate. The controversy escalated after Kangana Ranaut called him out on his own chat show. 2. Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan:
Their debut in 'Student of the Year', produced by Karan Johar, led to allegations of nepotism, creating quite a stir in the industry. XXXV. Alleged Link-ups
Sometimes rumors of link-ups between stars become a hot topic of discussion. 1. Priyanka Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan:
Rumors swirled about a possible affair between Priyanka and Shah Rukh during the filming of 'Don 2'. However, nothing was ever confirmed. 2. Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur:
Their sizzling on-screen chemistry in 'Aashiqui 2' sparked rumors of a real-life romance, although they have denied these claims. XXXVI. Film Set Controversies
Bollywood isn't all glitz and glamour; sometimes things can get heated behind the scenes. 1. Kareena Kapoor and Bipasha Basu:
The two actresses reportedly had a major fallout during the filming of 'Ajnabee' (2001), which escalated during 'Aitraaz' (2004). They only patched things up years later. 2. Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh:
During the making of 'Padmaavat', rumours suggested that there was tension between Shahid and Ranveer due to the allocation of screen time. Both, however, have denied these claims. XXXVII. Money Matters
When big bucks are involved, controversies aren't far behind. 1. Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi:
Salman reportedly threatened Vivek for getting close to Aishwarya Rai. Vivek called a press conference to disclose this, but the controversy adversely affected his career. 2. Kangana Ranaut and the producers of 'Manikarnika':
There were rumours of budget overruns and Kangana taking over the director's chair, creating quite a stir in the industry. XXXVIII. Career Controversies
Certain career decisions can also lead to controversy. 1. Deepika Padukone and 'Padmaavat':
Deepika's portrayal of Rani Padmavati sparked controversy over the film's historical accuracy. Despite protests and threats, the film was a box office success. 2. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and 'Heroine':
Aishwarya was originally cast in 'Heroine', but after falling pregnant, she was replaced by Kareena Kapoor, causing a buzz in the industry. XIX. The Tinseltown Tales of Southern Cinema
While Bollywood takes the centre stage in Indian film gossip, let's not forget the South Indian film industry, brimming with its own share of drama. 1. Prabhas and Anushka Shetty:
Post 'Baahubali', rumours started swirling about the lead actors' off-screen chemistry. Despite the consistent denial, fans continue to speculate. 2. Nayanthara and Prabhudheva:
Their love story caught everyone's attention, but their relationship ended amidst rumours of a secret wedding. XL. Tollywood's Sensational Stories
The Bengali film industry, known as Tollywood, is no stranger to controversies either. 1. Rituparna Sengupta and Prosenjit Chatterjee:
Once a popular on-screen pair, their professional relationship allegedly soured due to undisclosed reasons. The duo avoided working together for over a decade. 2. Subhashree Ganguly and Dev:
Their reported break-up became the talk of Tollywood, as the duo decided to keep mum about the details. XLI. The Mysterious Marathi Movie World
The Marathi film industry has seen its fair share of controversies. 1. Swapnil Joshi and Mukta Barve:
Rumours of an affair started during their hit series 'Eka Lagnachi Dusri Goshta', but both vehemently denied any romantic involvement. 2. Sai Tamhankar and Amey Wagh:
The rumour mill churned when the duo shared the screen in 'Girlfriend'. Both denied any off-screen romance. XLII. Punjabi Cinema's Spicy Stories
The Punjabi film industry has had its fair share of controversies too. 1. Neeru Bajwa and Amit Sadh:
They reportedly grew close during the shooting of 'Bikkar Bai Sentimental'. Though they never confirmed a relationship, the gossip remained rife for quite some time. 2. Diljit Dosanjh and Neeru Bajwa:
Fans have long speculated about the duo's chemistry beyond the screen. However, both have always maintained their stance as 'just friends'. XLIII. The Turbulent Tunes of Bollywood Singers
Even the crooning voices of Bollywood have been caught in webs of controversy and gossip. 1. Sonu Nigam's Tweet Storm:
His tweets on the use of loudspeakers for Azaan (Islamic call to prayer) sparked outrage, leading to public debates and backlash. 2. Mika Singh's Public Disputes:
His infamous slapping incident at a concert and the Rakhi Sawant kissing controversy kept him in the public eye for all the wrong reasons. 3. Ankit Tiwari's Legal Battle:
The 'Aashiqui 2' singer was embroiled in a serious legal battle when he was accused of rape by a woman. XLIV. The Dark Drama of Bollywood Directors and Producers 1. Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Controversy:
The film's release coincided with heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, leading to controversy due to the casting of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. 2. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat Debacle:
The historical drama stirred massive protests due to its alleged distortion of Rajput history. Bhansali faced physical attacks and massive public outcry.
3*. Mahesh Bhatt and Parveen Babi's Controversial Relationship:* Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's relationship with late actress Parveen Babi was the subject of controversy and gossip. Their tumultuous affair, coupled with Parveen's battle with mental health issues, made headlines and created a buzz in the industry.
4*. Anurag Kashyap's Marital Woes:* Director Anurag Kashyap's marriage to actress Kalki Koechlin attracted media attention. The couple separated in 2013, and their relationship struggles and subsequent divorce were discussed in the public domain. XLV. Priyanka Chopra's Reddit AMA Fall-Out
Priyanka Chopra's Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session became controversial when she failed to address certain sensitive questions, leading to disappointment and backlash from the Reddit community. XLVI. Bollywood’s Less Than Starry Behaviour 1. Salman Khan's Media Misadventures:
His scuffles with the media have been well-documented, including an infamous incident where he allegedly snatched a reporter's phone. 2. Kareena Kapoor Khan's Fan Fiasco:
A video of her allegedly snapping at fans asking for selfies caused a stir online. 3. Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone's Fallout:
Post their break-up, they reportedly gave each other the cold shoulder at public events, fuelling the gossip mill. XLVII. The Other Side of the Playback Singers 1. Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi's Feud:
One of the oldest controversies that rocked Bollywood was the fallout between these two legendary singers over royalty rights. 2. Abhijeet Bhattacharya's Controversial Remarks:
Known for his controversial comments on various issues, Abhijeet often found himself at the receiving end of public backlash.
3*. Sonu Nigam's Azaan Controversy:* In 2017, singer Sonu Nigam sparked controversy when he expressed his displeasure on Twitter over being woken up by the sound of Azaan (Islamic call to prayer). His comments led to a heated debate on religious tolerance and freedom of expression.
4*. Anu Malik's #MeToo Allegations:* Renowned music composer and singer Anu Malik faced allegations of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement in 2018. Several women accused him of inappropriate behavior, leading to his removal as a judge from a popular singing reality show. XLVIII. The Many Shades of the Indian Film Industry 1. Dravidian Drama - Tamil & Telugu Cinema:
The south Indian film industry isn't free from controversies either. The rift between the late Tamil Nadu CMs, MGR and Karunanidhi, both of whom were from the film fraternity, impacted the politics of the state for decades. Similarly, the Telugu industry saw the tragic fallout between renowned actors Chiranjeevi and Rajasekhar. 2. Bengali Cinema's Intellectual Ire:
The Bengali film industry, known for its intellectual and artistic cinema, was hit by controversy when the veteran director Rituparno Ghosh's sexual orientation came under public scrutiny.
3*. Tamil Film Industry's Caste-based Controversies:* The Tamil film industry has witnessed controversies related to caste-based issues. Actors and filmmakers have faced criticism for allegedly promoting caste discrimination through their films or making controversial statements.
4*. Malayalam Film Industry's #MeToo Movement:* The Malayalam film industry witnessed its own version of the #MeToo movement, with several actresses coming forward to share their experiences of harassment and misconduct. The movement brought to light the dark side of the industry and led to discussions about the need for safer work environments. XLIX. Unraveling Layers of Love Triangles
Apart from the ones mentioned earlier, love triangles have been a common theme in Bollywood. Some of the real-life instances that became fodder for gossip include: 1. The Madhubala-Dilip Kumar-Raj Kapoor Saga:
In the Golden Era of Bollywood, the Madhubala-Dilip Kumar-Raj Kapoor triangle kept gossip columns busy, especially after the infamous court case during the filming of 'Naya Daur.' 2. The Shilpa Shetty-Akshay Kumar-Twinkle Khanna Triangle:
Akshay Kumar was linked with Shilpa Shetty while he was reportedly in a relationship with Twinkle Khanna. This resulted in much speculation until he eventually married Twinkle. L. Bollywood's Cheating Scandals 1. Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut:
The alleged affair between Hrithik and Kangana, while he was married to Suzanne Khan, created one of the most publicized controversies in Bollywood. 2. Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha:
The much-speculated affair between Amitabh and Rekha during his marriage with Jaya Bachchan remains one of Bollywood's most enduring rumors. 3. Govinda's Extramarital Affair:
Actor Govinda faced public scrutiny when news of his extramarital affair with actress Rani Mukerji surfaced. The affair reportedly caused strain in his marriage and led to widespread gossip.
Indeed, the Indian film industry isn't just about glitz and glamour, but also about human flaws and frailties that often come to light, adding another dimension to our understanding of it. Here are a few more controversies and rumors that I might have not covered yet (Apologies for any repetitions):
- The mysterious disappearance of Divya Bharti: In 1993, actress Divya Bharti tragically fell from the balcony of her apartment at the age of 19. Her sudden death sparked numerous conspiracy theories and rumors surrounding the circumstances of her demise, including speculation about foul play and possible suicide.
- The alleged black magic practices of Tantrik Chandraswami: Tantrik Chandraswami, a self-proclaimed spiritual guru with connections to several Bollywood celebrities, was accused of practicing black magic and having undue influence over prominent personalities. His alleged involvement in the political and entertainment spheres sparked controversy and speculation.
- The secret wedding of Juhi Chawla: Rumors circulated in the late '90s suggesting that actress Juhi Chawla had secretly married a British businessman. Although Juhi Chawla never publicly confirmed or denied the rumors, they persisted for a considerable period, adding an air of mystery to her personal life.
- The supposed curse of the film "Raaz" (2002): It was rumored that the horror film "Raaz" brought a curse upon its cast and crew. Alleged incidents of supernatural occurrences and mishaps during the film's production led to speculation about a supernatural influence affecting those involved.
- The controversy surrounding the film "Water" (2005): Deepa Mehta's film "Water" faced significant opposition during its production due to its sensitive subject matter and depiction of the treatment of widows in India. Protests, threats, and acts of vandalism occurred on the film's sets, leading to the relocation of the shooting to another country.
- The alleged rivalry between Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi: There were rumors of a rivalry between two Bollywood icons, Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi, during the '90s. Reports suggested that their competition for top actress status led to tensions and strained relations.
- The controversial casting of Sanjay Dutt in the film "Lage Raho Munna Bhai" (2006): Sanjay Dutt's inclusion in the film "Lage Raho Munna Bhai" created controversy due to his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case. The decision to cast him sparked debates about ethics and the rehabilitation of individuals with criminal backgrounds.
- The alleged love triangle between Aamir Khan, Reena Dutta, and Kiran Rao: Speculation emerged about a love triangle involving actor Aamir Khan, his ex-wife Reena Dutta, and his second wife Kiran Rao. Reports suggested that the dynamics of their relationships overlapped, leading to rumors and discussions in the media.
- The controversy surrounding the film "Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love" (1996): Director Mira Nair's film "Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love" faced controversy and censorship challenges due to its explicit content and portrayal of sexuality. The film's release was met with mixed reactions and debates about artistic freedom.
- The alleged involvement of Bollywood celebrities in the IPL spot-fixing scandal: During the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal in 2013, rumors swirled about the involvement of certain Bollywood celebrities in illegal betting and match-fixing activities. Although no substantial evidence was found to support these rumors, they generated significant speculation and discussion.
- Govinda and David Dhawan's fallout: Govinda, known for his comedic roles, had a fallout with director David Dhawan, with whom he had collaborated on several successful films. Reports suggested that their relationship deteriorated due to creative differences and personal issues, leading to a strained professional relationship.
- Aditya Pancholi and Kangana Ranaut's legal battle: Kangana Ranaut accused actor Aditya Pancholi of physical and emotional abuse during their alleged relationship. The legal battle between them attracted significant media coverage, with both parties presenting their sides and filing counter-allegations.
- The alleged love affair between Rani Mukerji and Abhishek Bachchan: Rumors circulated about a romantic relationship between actors Rani Mukerji and Abhishek Bachchan during the shooting of their film "Yuva" (2004). Speculation about their relationship and its impact on Abhishek's engagement to Aishwarya Rai was a subject of gossip in the industry.
- The alleged feud between Aishwarya Rai and Sonam Kapoor: Reports suggested that Aishwarya Rai and Sonam Kapoor had a strained relationship stemming from a comment Sonam made about Aishwarya's fashion choices at the Cannes Film Festival. The alleged tension between the two actresses garnered attention in the media.
- The controversy surrounding the film "Fiza" (2000): Actress Karisma Kapoor faced backlash for her portrayal of a Muslim character in the film "Fiza." The film's depiction of communal violence led to accusations of misrepresentation and insensitivity, resulting in protests and debates.
- The controversy surrounding the film "Rahul" (2001): Director Prakash Jha's film "Rahul" faced objections from the National Commission for Women (NCW) for its portrayal of a teacher-student relationship. The NCW raised concerns about the film's potential to promote inappropriate relationships and demanded cuts or a ban.
- The controversy surrounding the film "Mohalla Assi": Starring Sunny Deol, the film "Mohalla Assi" faced censorship issues and remained unreleased for several years. The CBFC objected to its content, which included explicit language and the portrayal of religious figures, leading to legal battles and delays.
- The alleged rivalry between Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan: Rumors of a rivalry between two of Bollywood's biggest superstars, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, have circulated for years. Reports suggest that there is an underlying competitiveness between them, with occasional subtle digs and comparisons made in the media.
- The alleged tiff between Kangana Ranaut and Deepika Padukone: Reports of a rivalry between actresses Kangana Ranaut and Deepika Padukone have made headlines. While both have denied any animosity, occasional comments and indirect references in interviews have fueled speculation about a cold war between them.
- The mysterious disappearance of actor Nadia: Nadia, the first female stunt actress and action heroine of Indian cinema in the 1930s and 1940s, vanished under mysterious circumstances in the 1940s. Her sudden disappearance left the industry and her fans bewildered, and her fate remains unknown to this day.
- The controversial love triangle involving Guru Dutt, Geeta Dutt, and Waheeda Rehman: There were rumors of a complex love triangle between legendary filmmaker Guru Dutt, his wife, playback singer Geeta Dutt, and actress Waheeda Rehman during the making of the film "Pyaasa" (1957). While the exact nature of their relationships remains speculative, it added an intriguing layer of mystery to their personal lives.
- The unsolved murder of director Bimal Roy's cinematographer Subrata Mitra: Subrata Mitra, the acclaimed cinematographer known for his work with director Bimal Roy, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in 1997. The case remains unsolved, leaving behind unanswered questions and speculations.
- The alleged paranormal occurrences during the filming of the horror film "Mahal" (1949): During the shooting of the iconic film "Mahal," there were numerous reports of eerie happenings on set. Actors and crew members claimed to have witnessed strange phenomena and experienced unexplained incidents, adding a supernatural element to the film's legacy.
- The enigmatic persona of actor Guru Dutt: Guru Dutt, the iconic actor-director of the 1950s and 1960s, was known for his introspective and melancholic on-screen persona. His tragic death in 1964, attributed to an overdose of sleeping pills, continues to be shrouded in mystery, with debates about whether it was an accident or suicide.
- The controversy surrounding the film "Bandit Queen" (1994): Director Shekhar Kapur's film "Bandit Queen," based on the life of Phoolan Devi, faced legal challenges and controversies for its explicit content and portrayal of violence. The film's release was delayed, and it sparked debates on artistic freedom and the depiction of real-life incidents.
- The alleged black magic practices in the film industry: Over the years, there have been rumors and claims of certain individuals in the film industry practicing black magic or being involved in occult practices. These rumors have fueled speculation and added an element of mystery to the industry.
- The alleged rivalry between Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar: Two legendary actors of the Indian film industry, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar, were rumored to have a rivalry during their heyday. Reports suggested that their professional competition and different acting styles fueled tensions and strained relations between them.
- The controversial relationship between Kamal Haasan and Sarika: Actors Kamal Haasan and Sarika were in a live-in relationship for many years and had two children together. However, their relationship was marked by rumors of infidelity and personal differences, leading to a tumultuous and publicized separation.
- The controversy surrounding the film "Sins" (2005): Director Vinod Pande's film "Sins" faced severe criticism and opposition due to its explicit content and portrayal of taboo subjects like sex and religion. The film's release was marred by protests, bans, and legal battles, igniting debates on artistic freedom and censorship.
The information provided in this post is based on available public sources, media reports, and general knowledge. While we strive to ensure accuracy and reliability, we cannot guarantee the completeness or authenticity of the information. The content presented here is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered as factual or verified. Any views, opinions, or statements expressed in this post are those of the respective individuals or sources mentioned and do not necessarily reflect our views. We encourage readers to conduct further research and exercise their own judgment when interpreting the information provided. We shall not be held liable for any errors, omissions, or damages arising from the use of this post.
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2023.05.30 03:31 Nearby-Cantaloupe855 Girls, would you date a guy with a pet snake?
My ball python hasn’t given any girls I brought over the ick yet but I have heard one of my female friends say that a pet snake would be a dealbreaker even if the guy was otherwise decent.
Would also be curious if this ick extends to pet lizards and amphibians as well.
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2023.05.30 03:24 Euphoriaforyou My Letter To The Anxiously Attached
I know why you're here. You're here because you feel confused about anxious attachment. You're wondering, why does this come up for me? Why am I like this? Am I unloveable because I'm anxiously attached? The answer to all of this is to be kind to yourself and your journey.
It's okay to be anxious. It's okay to be on edge. It's okay to be defensive. Just know that you are valid and trauma responses are present. You are worthy. You are not a broken person. Whether your earliest moments of abandonment was from childhood or in adulthood. There isn't a permanece to anxious attachment, it can be fixed.
I've been going to therapy since 2019. My therapist is a godsend. She embraces me and tells me that in order to figure out what's going on, you have to go deeper. You have to find your why and make your worth YOURS. And that the person that is for you, won't bat an eye at your struggles but can be your safety.
I've always had attachment issues since adolescence. It amplified with romantic relationships because of how I grew up/my infatuation with love due to media. I would always be left in situations whether relationships, friendships because of being "too much "too needy" or "too attached." Growing up in a minority family as a female, it's always waiting for a man to make a first move. I didn't realize how detrimental that was.
(TW: Suicide/ Self Harm)
Being a teen, I had severe depression and suicidal tendencies. I always felt like I was annoying, unworthy, clingy, needy etc. Jumping to college, my self worth was revolved around the male gaze. It was a detriment to me in the end because instead of healing, I put a bandaid on it.
It wasn't until my relationship with my ex that made me feel like I was "too much & too emotional." I was punished by silence, passive aggression, and manipulation. Being in emotionally abusive relationships can amplify that anxious attachment because you're fearful of losing them, you're scared your emotions are too much, they'll abandon you. And all you want them to do is stay and not leave. I just want to say, it's okay to not settle for less that what you actually deserve. Why? Because someone will be there for those rough times that question your worth.
Anxiety has a huge part to play in anxious attachment. And the cocktail of disaster is not communicating and assuming vs asking. There will be days you'll be better, you'll feel grounded and making progress. Some days, you'll feel like your progress is nonexistent. I'm here to tell you, you got this. You can get past this glitch in our makeup. We are not unloveable and we are not unworthy of all the love we desire.
Some affirmations that can help are these
You are worthy of all of the love You are not broken You are a work in progress You are going to be okay You are worth being loved You are valued You are appreciated Your anxiety is a trauma responce and not forever.
Now, I'm in a loving relationship with someone who understands me, who doesn't abandon me, and most importantly constantly reminds me that my trauma doesn't define me. I can keep loving and moving forward at the way I want to receive and accept love. And that, is a beautiful thing.
I promise your, your love is not a burden.
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2023.05.30 03:04 Bubzoluck [22 min read] Differences that Divide Us - The role of Racial and Sex based Medicine
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Hello and welcome back to SAR! First off, I apologize for the hiatus in blog posts but had some things pop up and now I am clear! Alright off to the good stuff: For most things in life there are few reasons why one person of a particular sex or race would be more well suited to a particular job than another person of a different sex or race. Afterall, the quality of a cup of coffee would be just the same from a Black female barista with 10 years of experience as an Asian male barista with 10 years of experience. But medicine is a bit different; we do see differences because of sex or race that are important to understand, acknowledge, and factor into the diagnosis. Obviously a male isn’t going to have pregnancy on the differential diagnosis and prostate cancer isn’t a factor for female patients. The differences in Pharmacokinetics
of a drug, a disease, or treatment can vary wildly between the sexes or between races. So today I want to look at the differences that we are only now starting to realize and the emerging role of Pharmacogenomics
as the next horizon for medicine. So the big question is: you got something big in your genes or are you just happy to see me? :P Disclaimer
: this post is not designed to be medical advice
. It is merely a look at the chemistry of medications and their general
effect on the body. Each person responds differently to therapy. Please talk to your doctor about starting, stopping, or changing medical treatment.
Because I am a pharmacist I want to center our discussion on the drug choices and attributes influenced by sex and race but in order to do that we have to lay a foundation. The processes that move drugs from a pill into your body are broadly referred to as ADME
but there is a hidden L step that is just as important to talk about as well. The lifecycle of a drug, LADME, are the five major processes that affect a drug inside the body. Let’s look:
- Liberation - When you swallow a tablet, the pill as a whole isn’t magically absorbed through the intestinal wall, it has to break down and liberate the drug from the dosage form. Liberation is the process of how the vehicle (what the drug is administered as) is broken down so the drug is free floating inside the body. This is also where we can see differences in timing such as extended release or immediate release products. It also governs other forms too like tablets you can chew or patches you apply onto the skin.
- Absorption - Now that the drug has left the tablet, it needs to move from the GI tract space into the body proper. The mucous membranes inside the intestine have a HUGE surface area allowing for many substances to be absorbed quickly and efficiently. How well a drug is absorbed plays a major factor in how well the drug’s action is. What if you're administering an oral (PO) antibiotic but the patient has diarrhea and they move the drug too quickly through the intestines? Can we be sure it was all absorbed? This is why we have alternative administration pathways like intramuscularly (IM), subcutaneous (SubQ), intravenous (IV), rectally (PR), vaginally (PV), optically (OU), and more. Each gets the drug inside the bloodstream where it can then get to the place it needs to go.
- Distribution - Speaking of getting where it needs to go, we have distribution. Once the drug is absorbed and dumped into the bloodstream, it needs to go to the place where the receptor, channel, or structure is for it to have action. Some places are easier to get to like highly vascularized (lots of blood vessels) areas like skin, the liver, and kidney while others are a bit harder such as the heart tissue, lungs, and brain.
- “How does the drug know where to go?” It doesn’t! It will go everywhere in the body but that doesn’t mean that it will have action there. One good example is with Carbidopa, a dopamine receptor agonist used for Parkinson’s (oh look a post!). When a person take’s Carbidopa orally, it's absorbed into the blood and starts to distribute throughout the body generally. We want it to go to the brain to alleviate Parkinson's symptoms but it can also activate dopamine receptors in the periphery where it causes dizziness and constipation (I highly recommend reading the post if you want to learn how).
- Metabolism - Eventually the drug has to leave the body and metabolism is the first step in that process. Metabolism has two phases: phase 1 is responsible for deactivating the drug by modifying the structure of the drug in a way where it cannot fit inside the receptor anymore. Phase 2 takes the deactivated drug and makes it very water soluble so that it can leave the body extremely easily. The rate of metabolism is dependent on many different factors and is highly specific to each person which is why we do large pharmacokinetic studies in drugs before they are ready to be on the market. Failure to understand how a drug is metabolized can lead to toxicities from drug accumulation OR give too little a dose because the drug is metabolized so quickly.
https://preview.redd.it/5f8b8yxq9v2b1.png?width=490&format=png&auto=webp&s=64cd2ed43f824a34992bd51a7ed6ff322f4c1f70 5. Elimination
- The last step in the drug lifecycle is elimination or how it physically gets out of the body. The majority of drugs leave via urine of which the kidney is responsible for that process. Having a working kidney is key for correctly dosing a drug because an underworking kidney may not eliminate the metabolized drug fast enough causing it to accumulate. There are other pathways too; fecal excretion (through biliary elimination) is another major route but some drugs can be eliminated via the lungs (such as alcohol, which is why it can be detected in a breathalyzer), through breast milk (which is why understanding drugs in pregnancy is SUPER important), sweat, saliva, and sebum.
Obviously there are major differences in LADME between males and females—after all it's hard to insert a drug vaginally in a male. But now that we have a general idea of what the drug is going to be doing, let’s dive into each section and talk about the sexual and racial differences we see at each step.
Liberation—”Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”
When we think of liberation I want you to think of two things: getting the drug out of the formulation (such as the tablet or capsule breaking down in the stomach) and where that breakdown happens. These two factors are hugely important when we think about how the drug will eventually get absorbed—after all if you can’t liberate the drug correctly then there is no chance that it will be absorbed and then be utilized by the body. First let's talk about formulations:
- In your daily life you’ve probably come across different formulations of drugs. Here we are going to look at the most basic of them: Immediate Release (IR), Delayed Release (SR), and Controlled Release (CR) also known as Extended Release (ER). The main differences between these different forms is how quickly the tablet moves from a solid lump sitting in your stomach to dissolved particles. The slower it releases then the slower the drug dissolves into your stomach and the slower it will eventually get absorbed. Initially all drugs were formulated as Immediate Release because we had little understanding of the utility of longer dosing formulations as well as we didn’t have the technology to do it. There are a whole bunch of different types of Extended Release types each with different uses and drawbacks and choosing which is best for your drug is extremely important for deciding what works best. At the end of this section is a diagram that shows all the different kinds of formulations.
- But for now I want us to focus on the graph of drug liberation curves. The graph is divided into three zones with two very important barrier points: the Minimum Effective Level (MEL, aka MEC) and the Minimum Toxic Level (MTL aka MTC). Essentially if the curve of the line, representing the concentration of the drug in the body, is below the Minimum Effective Level then there isn’t enough drug to exert its action and we have Subtherapeutic levels in the body. Over time, the tablet dissolves more and more and the concentration continues to rise more and more and we pass the MEL into the Therapeutic Window where we see the action of the drug. In general we can say the higher you are in the Therapeutic Window, the greater the therapeutic effect there is or in other terms, the higher the dose the bigger the effect. Finally if you go above the Therapeutic Window you pass through the Minimum Toxic Level and enter into drug toxicity levels. Now, toxicity is a bit of a harsh word because this doesn’t mean we are going to see death but rather side effects due to too great of an effect of the drug. For example, say you are taking a drug that lowers blood pressure but due to changes in the tablet liberation the concentration rises above the MTL and your blood pressure drops a little too much and you get dizzy.
- In the first graph we can see how drug design impacts the speed of liberation. Let’s say that we have 100mg of a drug that we are trying to put in the body. Using an Immediate Release formulation would result in a much quicker liberation and thus absorption into the body but we can see that it peaks very quickly and then drops off very quickly. So you may only get a few hours of usefulness out of the drug. Compare this to the Controlled Release system which peaks much slower but also declines much slower too, remaining much more Therapeutic for a longer period of time. We can see this in Adderall used for ADHD—most people will take an Extended Release (ER) formulation in the morning so that they get many hours of sustained therapeutic benefit while they are at school or at work. You can see one method of how the beads inside the Adderall capsule are made—called Pelletization. Essentially an inert core is layered with different chemicals/drugs to build an “Onion” of layers [insert Shrek reference].
- So wouldn’t extended release always be better because we avoid the toxic levels of a drug? Not necessarily. To give an example of one of my patients, this person was a 911 operator who would take their Adderall XR every morning at 8:30am and work from 9am to 6pm every day. For them, their Adderall would start to wear off at 4pm, so they would get 7 hours of benefit. But what abouts the last two hours of the work day? They can’t be distracted in their job else it costs lives and taking another Adderall XR would mean they are wired until 11pm. No good. This is where the utility of IR formulations come in—this person can take an IR dose at 4pm when the Extended Release starts to wear off and boost their levels back into the therapeutic range and get 3 or 4 hours of benefit but have it be gone by the time they go to bed.
- So hopefully you can see the utility of choosing different release systems now, but what about the second point: liberating in the right place in the body. Well some drugs are more effective if they are absorbed later in the digestive tract where it is less acidic versus the stomach. So some drugs may have better absorption if we can release them further towards the intestines than immediately dumping them into the stomach for absorption. This is where the utility of Delayed Release (DR) systems comes in. Drugs that are considered Acid Labile or sensitive to acid else they degrade are preserved better if they can liberate from the tablet in a less acidic environment. A great example of this is Omeprazole (Prilosec) which is used for decreasing the production of stomach acid to treat acid reflux or GERD—problem is that Omeprazole itself is very Acid Labile and if it enters the stomach unprotected then it degrades fairly quickly. This leads to the use of Omeprazole DR formulations where it is coated in substances that resist acid breakdown like Shellac or Sodium Alginate, thus allowing for the Omeprazole to be liberated in the small intestine where it is more likely to be absorbed.
- This is all well and good but how does this relate to sex and race? Well one of the major differences between males and females is that females have a more acidic stomach than males making their stomach environment much more acidic. In addition the Gastric Emptying Time, or how long it takes for substances to move from the stomach into the small intestine for absorption, is significantly longer in females. These two factors mean that females taking a drug that is Acid Labile are more susceptible to degradation in a female than in a male. This means the utility of an Enteric Coated drug which would resist stomach acid would be much more beneficial in a female than in a male. Let’s look at a specific example: the drug Carbidopa is used in Parkison’s to treat the tremors associated with the disease. In younger females, the peak blood concentration for Carbidopa is 22 minutes later than males of the same age. As a female ages and goes through menopause that time to peak becomes more and more similar to males meaning not only are we seeing variability in sex but also in age.
- Another example is looking at the effect of a drug's natural acidity with the relative acidity of that person. Ketorolac (Ketorol) is a non-opioid pain medication used for moderate-severe pain in people where an opiate may not be preferred. The problem with Ketorolac is that it is extremely acidic naturally and it can cause ulceration of the stomach lining if someone has a very acidic stomach environment like a diet filled with acidic food. What we find is that males can have a Ketorolac dose 36% times higher than females because their stomachs are naturally less acidic meaning that they can handle a more acidic drug without the negative side effects like acid reflux or ulceration.
- On a racial standpoint we see similar outcomes. It is reported that individuals of Asian descent have a lower acid output compared to Occidental patients. Part of this can be related to the relative smaller body habitus (weight and height) in the Asian population but there is also a decreased expression of acid-producing tissues in the Asian population than other races. When quantified it appears that Asians have about 60% the acid secretion of Caucasians which is a clinically significant difference when considering drugs that need a more basic environment. For example, Levothyroxine (Synthroid) is taken one hour before breakfast because we want the least acidic environment possible, which happens when the body has no food in it. What we find is that Asian populations need up to 55% smaller doses of Levothyroxine compared to non-Asians. Kinda interesting eh?
Is that a polymorphism in your pocket?
Originally I was going to look at each part of LADME individually but kept running into a problem when trying to separate the drug processes into silos. While Liberation is distinct from the rest of the process, ADME cannot really be separated into its components in a way where I can tell the story efficiently. As such we will focus on the poster drugs that are significantly affected by race and sex and then talk about the larger implications in therapeutic development. Now clearly there are drugs that are used in one sex over another, for instance you aren’t going to find Atosiban
used to delay labor in a male or Sildenafil
(Viagra) for erectile dysfunction in a female. Now that being said they do have other uses but you get the point—so if I talk about a drug please know that I may be talking about a specific indication as well. So with that in mind, let’s jump in!
https://preview.redd.it/t743qrdnav2b1.png?width=415&format=png&auto=webp&s=ab664f0523de9b7ade071ad07840698074dc1715 https://preview.redd.it/hdrinkpxav2b1.png?width=743&format=png&auto=webp&s=cc11930d2c0922801d093b2976afdb2d15df2d78 BiDil finds a home among Black patients
—Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the most common conditions across all races and sexes and is usually referred to as the “Silent Killer” because, well, it doesn’t hurt. Unlike liver failure or an infection, you won’t really see any symptoms of high blood pressure but after a decade of not treating it people do develop critical end organ damage: heart failure, kidney damage, liver damage, etc. Imagine that your veins are like a garden hose; if you put your thumb over the end of the hose the velocity of the water coming out of the hose increases meaning that there is more force. So if you have higher blood pressure, you have higher force hitting your organs. So the medical community has developed countless ways of lowering blood pressure to help save our organs and we can group those medications into a couple categories.
- For the majority of the population we follow a pretty tried and tested protocol of drugs: first up we would use Diuretics which physically decrease the amount of fluid that is in the blood vessel. In the hose analogy this is like if you had a leak halfway up the hose lowering the amount of water exiting the hose at the end. Now there are dozens of diuretics but most people are familiar with Furosemide (Lasix) and how it makes people urinate more (y’know, to get rid of the fluid). If someone needs another agent we turn to drugs like the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs). The ACEs (like Lisinopril, Enalapril, or Benazepril) and ARBs (Valsartan, Olmesartan, etc.) work by inhibiting the ability for a protein, Angiotensin, from connecting with the blood vessel wall. Angiotensin’s main job is to make the blood vessel smaller which would increase blood pressure—these drugs inhibit the action of Angiotensin thus preventing it from raising blood pressure. And our final category are drugs acting on the heart: Calcium Channel Blockers or Beta Blockers. While generally more helpful in situations like heart failure than hypertension, these drugs slow down the heart’s ability to pump blood which then lowers the force that the blood is acting on the blood vessels and organs. In a way it's like turning the faucet on the garden hose letting out less water into the hose.
- So to summarize, the majority of people will benefit most from a Diuretic (which lowers the amount of fluid in the blood vessel), an ACEi or ARB (which prevents the blood vessels from getting smaller), and/or a CCB or BB (which lower the output of the heart).
https://preview.redd.it/iqua3w32bv2b1.png?width=343&format=png&auto=webp&s=8aeed509a15f83057db180b80eaf8b70b983a16d Hydralazine vs Isosorbide Mononitrate
- Enter the Venous Dilators which work by directly expanding the blood vessel size. These drugs are normally used in situations where the blood vessel is obstructed, such as during a heart attack or stroke, due to a clot. Administering a Venous Dilator would expand the blood vessel allowing the blood to wiggle around the clot and relieve the symptoms of the heart attack or stroke. Two of these drugs are Hydralazine and Isosorbide Dinitrate which are used by all sexes and races to prevent the progression of a heart attack and stroke which have very good success. Both of these drugs are fairly old: Isosorbide Dinitrate was discovered in 1949 while Hydralazine was discovered in 1949 and showed fairly good efficacy for decades.
- Enter two doctors, Jay Cohn and Peter Carson, who wanted to market a new combination drug Hydralazine/Isosorbide Dinitrate (BiDil) in 1989 for congestive heart failure. The FDA said sure, go do a trial and so the duo set out to prove that BiDil was a good option for the general population. They tested their combination in a trial called Vasodilator-Heart Failure Trial (V-HeFT) against the gold standard Enalapril (ACEi) and found that BiDil was…bad. Like really bad, in fact they had to stop the trial early because it would have been unethical to keep people on the BiDil rather than on the known treatment. So V-HeFT didn’t show that BiDil was a good option for the general population except among one subpopulation: Black patients. When you look at the use of Enalapril (and other ACEi) in Black patients we find that the efficacy is quite low. As it turns out, people of African descent have a lower response to drugs like ACEi and ARBs compared to non-Africans meaning that they are worse options for a Black person. So a patient that wasn’t responding well to a Diuretic and needed a second agent would get little help from an ACE/ARB drug. And at this point in time there were no CCB or BB!
- So Cohn and Carson’s drug application for BiDil was rejected in 1997 because the statistical analysis in their multi-racial study was quite bad. On the recommendation of one of the FDA’s advisory committees they stratified the data on racial lines and discovered a significant difference in response among Africans vs non-Africans. They started a new trial and enrolled 1050 African men and women showing a 43% decrease in mortality and a 39% reduction in hospitalization against placebo. They reapplied for BiDil and in 2005 the FDA approved the first ever race-based drug. To this day if you go to BiDil’s prescribing page in a drug database it will include a specific race designation because it’s only approved for a specific race. Importantly too national organizations like the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association endorse this race based recommendation for Black patients.
- Now this is great that we have a recommendation for a group of people that is superior to the normal regiment but there are a few complicating factors to consider. Firstly the term ‘Black patient’ isn’t really scientific—how Black does a patient need to be in order to qualify for BiDil? What kind of Black as well: African, Latin American, Caribbean, etc? Likewise this means it has to be self-reportable but what about a light-skinned Black person that was adopted and didn’t know they had Black genes? It's all very…unscientific. Recently there has been push back against this explicit race-based recommendation since other effective drugs do exist (like the CCB and BB which were discovered in 2006, one year after BiDil). There was a new study in 2022 from UCSF that talked about the role of prescribing based on race but personally I think there are too many confounders (influencing factors) like socioeconomic status to accurately say BiDil should be done away with. BiDil was shown to be effective in the Black population but how it gets applied is another story.
https://preview.redd.it/qs817v27bv2b1.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=bfb725e4bac64a0b564ac3ac9de7151b68ce3c1b https://preview.redd.it/w71a739dbv2b1.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=5fb3dd3701992dc410e32638283928e29df14859 Liver Enzyme Distribution affects Metabolism
—Once a drug is in the body it needs to be deactivated and removed eventually. This process of deactivating a drug happens during Metabolism which primarily happens in the liver via the Cytochrome P450 Enzymes
. These CYP enzymes are like little factories that take up a drug and make slight modifications that remove its ability to affect the body. Each CYP enzyme is best suited for certain drugs while some enzymes, like CYP3A4 and CYP2D6, are able to handle a higher percentage of drugs. You can see in the pie chart above that some enzymes are more important in metabolism than others.
- That being said, the distribution of the CYP enzymes is not constant from one person to another. For example, in females they have a higher distribution of CYP3A4 than males which can be thought of them having more deactivation factories than males. This means if we were to give the same dose to a female and a male the female would metabolize the drug much faster and thus have a decreased effect. This is incredibly important because CYP3A4 accounts for 30% of all drugs including birth control, many psychiatric drugs, and chemotherapeutics meaning that females would need higher doses than males, in theory. The opposite is true for CYP2E1 which is higher in males than females and is a metabolizer of ethanol (minor) and caffeine (major) which means that higher doses of both would be needed to have the same effect male vs female. Neat eh? Like there are sex differences for CYP enzymes we are starting to discover racial differences in CYP enzymes: we have identified Polymorphisms or small genetic variability among the genes that encode the CYP enzymes. Truthfully this isn’t surprising, we know there is genetic variability in genes that affect hair or eye color, so it's not too surprising that the CYP enzymes are equally affected. What is interesting is that the racial differences in CYP enzymes can lead to wildly different enzyme activity levels that lead to clinically significant differences in drug response. Or in simpler terms, some races respond better to some drugs because they have different liver enzymes!
- Let’s take a look at one drug, Amitriptyline (Elavil) used for depression and anxiety, and how Polymorphisms result in changes in response. Quickly let's take a look at the metabolism: we can see that Amitriptyline is metabolized by two enzymes, CYP2D6 and CYP2C19. If it is metabolized by 2D6 first then it converts into an inactive metabolite that is eventually removed from the body. However if it first goes through 2C19 then it is converted to an active metabolite, Nortriptyline which would extend the action of the drug than if it went through 2D6. But if it does go through 2C19 then it will be handled by 2D6 into an inactive metabolite (bottom right), so either way we need 2D6 to get rid of the drug.
- So let’s look at what happens when we mess with the metabolism of Amitriptyline through 2D6. Well if someone is a 2D6 poor metabolizer then they would be unable to clear the drug quickly and so it would hang around in the body longer—so more anti-depression activity (and side effects). We find that up to 10% of Caucasians are poor 2D6 metabolizers meaning that they would have a better response to Amitriptyline than those who are normal metabolizers. Likewise we find that up to 51% of Asians are intermediate metabolizers which has led to an overall increased response of 74%! The flip side to this are the Ultrarapid metabolizers who would clear the drug extremely quickly through 2D6 thus leading to a decreased response to Amitriptyline. Up to 29% of Subsaharan Africans are found to be Ultrarapid metabolizers meaning that Amitriptyline (and other drugs going through 2D6) is the wrong option for them.
- Looking at 2C19 we see a much different distribution among the races. Remember that 2C19 converts the drug into an active metabolite which would extend the activity of the drug—if you don’t go through 2C19 then you’d have a decreased response. So patients who are Oceanian have a whopping 89% chance to be an intermediate or worse metabolizer and so a much MUCH higher chance of decreased response to Amitriptyline. Compare this to Caucasian patients who have a 32% chance to have increased activity on 2C19 meaning a potential increased response to Amitriptyline.
- Now is it really as simple as this? No, I am glossing over some of the finer details but I wanted to show how racial differences are a major factor in how drugs affect the body. Imagine if you had a population that had an 89% chance to have a decreased effect on birth control? Or what if you were a carrier of the HLA-B*5701 gene which means you are horribly allergic to the anti-HIV medication Abacavir (like up to 20% of Indians)? This is where the next generation of medicine comes from and the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium is aiming to have their CPIC genomic guidelines become standard practice. In fact I am seeing more and more patients getting their liver enzymes done so we can see what kind of response they would have, especially if they have failed multiple drugs for a condition. Take a look at the guidelines page and see how many drugs are incorporated into the recommendations.
Regardless, pharmacogenetics has major impacts on how we treat patients every day but also may be a factor in some of the clinical disasters that we see. Afterall, 53% of Africans have decreased metabolism through CYP3A4 which is the major metabolizer of Fentanyl
which may be a contributing factor why Blacks face higher overdose rates. If you haven’t, consider getting a pharmacogenomic test (many insurances will pay for it now) and unlock some secrets of your own body! Cheers!
2023.05.30 02:43 vpetitjean1016 How to navigate toxic in-laws?
TLDR: how do you deal with in-laws who may be toxic for the sake of their grandchildren and not want to deny them their grandparents?
My wife is 25 female Me 26 male Mother-in-law (MIL)49 female Father-in-law (FIL) 54 male Older sister-in-law (OSIL) 27 female Younger sister-in-law Child, baby, grandchild 1.5-year-old ball of energy and joy So there's a lot of background and back story for this situation. Mother-in-law(MIL) is a Facebook mom through and through, who cares a lot about her image and being well-liked and trying to present the perfect family image. My Father-in-law (FIL) is from a small town in a Southern state. He is super traditional and conservative. He is a leader in his church but doesn't always live it out (loving thy neighbor seemingly only applies to certain people). The embodiment of a "happy wife, happy life." My older sister-in-law (OSIL) also went to the same college as us and lived with my wife at school. But she was always considered her parents favorite and who my wife was always compared to. The younger sister in law just a teen and isn't involved in the story My wife and I met during our first year of university but started dating in our senior year. Once we started dating, my wife shared stories about a not-great childhood and a strained relationship with her parents. They were overbearing/controlling with her but not her sister and it was always her fault anytime something went wrong. They even made her apologize for saying she thought she was struggling with depression (they thought my wife was saying they were terrible parents bc she was sad), etc. I didn't know what to think then, but I could see how traumatized my wife was by her childhood and how her mood and demeanor changed any time they called, came up in conversation, or the like. Seeing how she felt towards them and the stories she would tell me about how badly she was treated made it clear that she was affected by it all. After college, my wife and I moved across the country for work, so we saw them a lot less, which seemed to help her shed some of the trauma. A year after our wedding, we had our first child. Our baby came a few weeks early, so my parents were away traveling, so they couldn't come right away. However, my wife's parents came out to stay with us after we came home from the hospital. They were so helpful during that time as we were overwhelmed with becoming parents. The no sleep, not much eating, unsure what to do at times, my wife recovering from labor, etc., so we were a little on edge. But we're still very glad they were there to help. Her father would get up early in the morning to care for the baby so we could sleep in. They would go shopping for groceries and cook, her mother would clean up around the house, and of course, they would spend time with the baby. There was a weird moment where on this visit when my mother-in-law insisted that our baby needed socks and mittens on because his hands and feet were cold. My wife and I were very aware that babies need to be kept warm, but in our prep for the little one, we did a lot of homework. And found that we should check the torso or neck as indicators for the babies temp, not hands/feet. This, coupled with the fact that even at a week or two old, the little one would always get their socks and mittens off within minutes of being put on, sometimes didn't bother. We tried to share all this with my in-laws, but they insisted and put them on themselves. After the fact, my wife and I didn't mind this incident, but my in-laws seemed to hold on to it. About a month later, my in-laws decided to visit us for a few days. They were bringing their large, untrained dog that we had asked them not to bring, and coming in 4 hours later than they initially told us. Coming late wasn't a huge issue other than messing up dinner plans and our dogs meeting to see if they got along (they didn't, but that's a story for a different time). They only spoke to us during their visit if it had to do with the baby. And things just felt extremely tense. Also, instead of staying a few days, they left abruptly after one day. And on the drive home, they sent a large text saying they were disappointed with us and felt that we were unwelcoming to them. And that was why they left. Once they got home, we called them and expressed how we wished they had had this conversation with us before leaving. We hoped we could fix things so they stayed put for just one day. In this conversation, we found they were still upset about how we spoke to them about the socks and mittens on the last visit (which we had no idea they were upset about). But once this was brought up, my wife and I also shared that we had been bothered by some things they said on both visits. Well, more so how they said it rather than what they said. My MIL and FIL had been very commanding/bossy in telling us what we should be doing with our child. So during this conversation, we shared that we would like it if they could use softer language as both my wife and I already had a lot of doubts about being good parents, and the way they spoke made us feel like we were doing something wrong. (It's been almost 2 years, so I can't remember exactly what was said, but an example of what I'm referring to is: "Wife, you're doing that wrong stop that," and we were asking them to say instead "Wife maybe try this instead.")
But this "back talk" only made things worse as the conversation blew up into a massive argument with my FIL about how we need to show them more respect and my MIL sobbing, saying that she doesn't know her daughter anymore. After spending hours on the phone going back and forth, we finally ended the call feeling like nothing would change, but at least the fight was over, and we could try to start to get past it. Shortly after this, FIL called my wife to ask if she was safe. In so many words asking if I was hurting, controlling, or making her say these things to her family. A couple of weeks later, we were away for a wedding and forgot to call my mother-in-law for her birthday. We realized the next day that we had missed it and called as soon as possible. My wife called, and FIL answered, stating that she was not allowed to speak to her mother because of how badly she had hurt her for not calling. He then proceeded to say some awful and terrible things about how ungrateful, rude, disrespectful, and what a terrible daughter she was for hurting MIL like this, and demanded an apology. After this, my wife wrote a letter apologizing to MIL for hurting her and forgetting to call. (She was so afraid of her parents after the things her father said to her that she couldn't call or text them out of fear that they would say more verbally abusive things) FIL then texted her, saying he didn't even let MIL read that sorry excuse for an apology, as it would probably hurt her more. While this is going on, we are also trying to plan our baby's baptism, and FIL was supposed to be the person to perform the baptism but now refused to do so because of the mistreatment of MIL. He then was angry that we were denying him the chance to baptize his grandchild when we went ahead with the baptism anyways and had a different person perform it when he told us he wouldn't do it. After everything he said, we still asked him if he would perform the baptism. But we couldn't cancel as the date was set and others were coming into town to celebrate with us. Then the older sister-in-law (OSIL) sent us a text tearing into us also for how this whole thing is our fault and several other hurtful and unnecessary things about the arguments with MIL and FIL. After this, we went no contact for about a year. During this time, my wife would share how terrified she was of them randomly reaching out. She became afraid of any phone call, worried that she would have to speak with them after all of this. No contact was hard. My parents and my wife's grandparents wanted us to contact MIL and FIL. They thought we could try to move past everything because they are family. My wife is very close with her grandparents (they helped raise her), who we tried to keep in touch with, but we tried to tiptoe around the fact that we weren't speaking with MIL and FIL as we didn't want to bring everyone into our fight/ situation. After 6 months, we visited my wife's grandparents in the same city as MIL & FIL. And we felt so guilty about coming all that way not to visit them, so we went ahead and saw them. We didn't talk. They just spent some time with our baby until we had to leave. After that visit, we still didn't have contact with them. For another 6 months until we reached out, neither we nor they ever apologized for what was said, but we agreed to try to put it past us and start over. We initiated contact really out of guilt. The guilt wasn't so much for ourselves but for them being able to have a relationship with their grandchild. And for our child to have a relationship with them. Since then, we have had minimal contact with them.
I'm posting all of this because we are trying to figure out how to navigate this relationship with them and would love any suggestions/ advice. We aren't sure what to do when they refuse to change, ever admit when they are wrong and seem to have no desire to have any real relationship with us. We want our kids to have a relationship with them if they choose, but we don't want the hurt the way my wife was by MIL and FIL. But we don't want to make that choice for our child either. We also aren't sure how to cut them out but maintain a connection with my wife's grandparents, so if we go no contact, we lose all of my wife's family, not just her parents. For some extra context, when MIL and FIL came to visit right after the baby was born. MIL would post photos of the baby, calling him her baby and referring to herself and FIL as grandmommy and granddaddy, respectively. Which my wife and I were weirded out by. This, plus how they have ignored us since our child was born, has made it feel like they wanted to pretend our child was theirs or something strange like that. It's also complicated to give all the context to a very complex and emotional situation, but hopefully, this provides enough information so you can form an opinion on our situation. As I wrote this, I felt myself second-guessing our choices and feeling like we made a big deal out of nothing, and maybe we were the bad guys in this, not MIL and FIL. But at the same time, we know we probably made mistakes, but at the same time, we also apologized after.
For those who got this far, I wanted to add that my wife is doing better but still struggles whenever they call, try to visit or ask for us to see them. She's on medication for anxiety and depression now, which is helping. And our child is healthy and happy but still prefers no socks most days.
submitted by vpetitjean1016
to raisedbynarcissists [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 02:23 mitsuki87 Pics of a male for those not sure!
So today I culled a male but I see so many posts on here asking “Is this a female?” that I thought I would grab some pics of what a male and its flowers look like for anyone who doesn’t know and you can reference this anytime or save the pics.
On the very top apical flowers you can see how they grow differently from a female in flower and all the little sacks will grow and spit pollen but you can also remove them at this stage and even a week or two later and it should still be good since the pollen sacks (balls) have to grow a good bit before they start to open up.
One I thought was a male also turned out to be a female so always get them in a 12/12 and wait til you see true flowers and sex organs forming, but after that it’s easy to tell!!
submitted by mitsuki87
to cannabiscultivation [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 02:05 Bs_Hs ✧ Shiny Market Funeral Giveaway Pt 7: HOME Celebration: Aprishiny Eevee Raffle ✧
HAPPY HOME RELEASE DAY.
Well, at least it will be for me at 11pm PST supposedly. Part 7
: It's been a long road for us, with more than a few speed bumps, pot holes, earthquakes, tsunamis, thunder storms, hurricanes, flash floods, wild fires, typhoons, landslides, volcanic eruptions, ice ages, the 6th mass extinction in Earth's history, but we made it (? still up for debate tbh, we'll see if happens lmao). Giving away Eevees in every Apriball & a grand prize: an Eevee in every Apriball as a set! They are all male bc I'm greedy and keeping the female ones.
🌸 you don't need a Pokeball flair to receive a shiny from a giveaway!
🌸 self caught via outbreak + sandwich ot: Day / ivy ✿ id: 752462 / 286003
|Pokemon ||Ball ||Stock |
|Eevee ||Apriball Set (9) ||1 |
|Eevee ||Fast ||1 |
|Eevee ||Friend ||1 |
|Eevee ||Lure ||1 |
|Eevee ||Level ||1 |
|Eevee ||Heavy ||1 |
|Eevee ||Love ||1 |
|Eevee ||Moon ||1 |
|Eevee ||Dream ||1 |
|Eevee ||Beast ||1 |
🌸Contest / Raffle Rules:
- Raffle Entry Question: If you could design the next Eeveelution, what would it be? (Doesn't need to be limited to elements / types. Can be inanimate objects, seasons, gems, plants, food etc. Including a name & type would get you brownie points)
- I'll personally pick the answer I like most to win the Apriball Eevee set, then 9 winners will be picked through Reddit Raffler
- Winners will be pinged all at once 24-30 hours from when the post goes up, first come first serve to picking ball combos. Good luck!
submitted by Bs_Hs
to pokemontrades [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 00:50 Zestyclose-Equal2105 How to remove this permanently.
2023.05.30 00:21 goodsoupppppppp Missing My Boys
| || |
Seeing everyone’s hamsters is making me miss my boys. (See captions for names and how I know now that the hamster ball is a dangerous thing.) Both have passed—Jacques in 2018 and Stitch in 2021–and I’m desperately wanting another one. submitted by goodsoupppppppp to hamsters [link] [comments]
I very much plan on getting a Dwarf. If I get a Syrian, it’d be a male, since I’ve read that the females are very hard to please.
I’m waiting until my husband and I get back from our vacation in June to get another hamster. In the meantime, I’m slowly making sure I have all the things I need and will buy an appropriately-sized enclosure.
Basically I’m just here to say I miss my past hamsters and am excited for the next one. Show me photos of your hamster(s) in the comments! :D
2023.05.29 23:45 TheHyperIntrovert I recently relapsed with alcohol and I have begun to drink a good amount during the day. When would I need to go to detox (since I’ve never been to detox for alcohol) and what should I do if I’m drunk by the time I see my psychiatrist tomorrow?
Edit: Alcohol I’m consuming is 2oz bottles of lemon extract (which is 83% proof). So, that would be about 4oz of hard liquor like vodka and a drink is 1.5oz which is how I am calculating how many drinks I’m having.
-Age/Sex: 20 y/o female to male transgender -Height: 5’4 -Weight: 260 lbs -Prescribed meds: Testosterone 150mg/g (15%) topical cream daily, Seroquel 100mg, Ivega shot 117mg once a month, Trazodone 150mg, Lithium 900mg, Hydroxyzine 50mg PRN up to 2x daily, Diamox 500mg, levothyroxine 50 mcg -Substances: Alcohol (had a recent relapse and infrequent but insane use of cannabis when I use it—haven’t used cannabis in 17 days). Also nicotine (vaping) -Medical Conditions: insomnia, cyclic vomiting syndrome, IBS, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, and congenital anosmia -Mental Health Conditions: Schizoaffective bipolar type, PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder, cannabis use disorder, possible alcohol use disorder (but not officially diagnosed). Duration of complaint: 1-3 days
So, I’m someone who struggles with substance use and goes to AA. Life has been super crazy and I just had a friend cut me out of their life late last week which triggered a manic episode for me starting a few days ago. When I get manic, sometimes I get psychotic (not right now), sometimes I get suicidal (not right now), and sometimes I do high risk behaviors like binge drink/use, do like 16 random unsafe hook ups in a week, etc. I talked with a crisis line to talk myself out of meeting someone random at 4am for a hook up in a van in a very bad area of town today. I sleep every other day. I have zero appetite. Etc. I’m definitely in a manic episode (and was just in psychiatric inpatient for a manic and psychotic state while sober for like a month).
So, I relapsed with alcohol last night because when I’m in a full blown manic episode not drinking/using is almost impossible. I’ve had 8 drinks since 3am today (didn’t sleep last night due to mania) and I’m worried of consuming more tonight and days beyond that. I’m currently sober. I struggled more so with alcoholism when I was 18 and then it flipped to cannabis when I was 19 (when I started receiving help for substance use). The last almost 2 years, I’ve drank like once every 2-3 months but binge drink every time I drink.
I literally tried every coping skill in the book this time around to stay sober. I tried showering, journaling, meditating, working on the 12 steps, talking to my sponsor and support system, calling a crisis line 3 times last night, distracting myself, all of the AA sayings (take it one day at a time), going to AA meetings, etc and nothing stopped me from drinking. I literally almost started crying in Walmart today because I was trying so hard to walk out of the store to not buy alcohol but I did it anyways, that’s how much I’m struggling with this.
I’m not suicidal because I believe god will not let me die at this point, but I have had a lot of prior suicide attempts and I feel hopeless and shame over the whole situation.
I feel like I’m spiraling. I’m trying to sign up for a mental health and co-occurring PHP currently and will get a decision on it Wednesday. But, I’m wondering when I would need alcohol detox vs just PHP since I’ve never sought detox for alcohol. As for withdrawal symptoms, they are minor. Anxiety, hands shake very little, and my resting heart rate is around 118 instead of my normal 95 when I’m not drunk (it’s closer to 125-130 when I drink). I have never had a hangover so that’s not a symptom. The internet isn’t super clear on the threshold between just doing PHP vs needing psychiatric inpatient for detox. The place I’m requesting PHP from said at a minimum I would need to be drinking heavily like I am for 72 hours and/or I can’t stay sober for PHP once that’s set up for me in order to qualify for detox. Is this accurate?
The second thing is I see my psychiatrist tomorrow. However, I’m worried I’m gonna show up to it under the influence (not extremely but noticeable from my emotions and how I talk). I know for therapy that if you show up intoxicated the therapist ends the session and you go home. Is it the same with a psychiatrist appointment? If so, would I just call that morning to cancel the appointment, explain the situation, and follow my psychiatrist’s recommendation from there? I don’t drive, but I would hate to take the bus all the way there only to be told I need to go home 2 minutes later.
I feel lost and I just want to make the best choice for myself (as much as I really don’t want to go back into psychiatric inpatient). Even though I’m using, I really don’t want to and I’m trying my hardest not to drink and I just can’t stop. Please don’t judge. Any advice is appreciated.
submitted by TheHyperIntrovert
to AskDocs [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 23:34 HunterXyrius Would you Recommend
Just wanted to see if you would recommend and Carpet Python. Me and my partner went to pick up some reptile supplies and ended up holding an adult and a couple of baby carpet pythons among a few other snakes (Mangrove, Retic and a Rainbow Boa).
We currently have a Corn Snake a Hognose and a Ball Python but my partner was in love with the carpet pythons. We handled a few baby’s and both were bitten a few times at first until they calmed down. Neither of us mind this and understand they are nippy when younger and calm down after regular handling and when they get larger.
I was just wondering if anyone recommends these snakes for people really, we are happy with the size males get and love the way they look. I feel like we’re both pretty good at understanding the temperaments of the snakes we have and handle them with caution and respect but just wondered if you would recommend them for people.
submitted by HunterXyrius
to carpetpythons [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 22:32 Unhappy_Temporary_49 AGP vs. MEF: what's the difference?
A Brief Story of my own Self-Discovery (You can skip over this part)
There is an ongoing discussion in this community regarding AGP vs. MEF and what the difference between the two actually entails. I believe that my own personal experience lends me some insight into this topic. I repressed my crossdresing fetish until my late twenties. I never felt like a part of the trans community because it didn't describe the way I felt and seemed dishonest, so I just figured I was some pervert with a panty fetish and left it at that. In 2019, at age thirty-four, I discovered AGP for the first time along with this subreddit, which, at that time, had less then one hundred subscribers. I immediately resonated with Blanchard's typology and felt that AGP fit me like a glove. From that day forward I have become somewhat of a hobby sexoligist and gender-theorist. In recent times, I have arrived at the understanding that MEF is a much better term to describe my experience. A few months ago, I came to the conclusion that I am not AGP after all and instead I was entirely MEF... well, that idea didn't last very long because I couldn't ignore the aspects of myself that were undeniably AGP. Today, I once again believe that I've figured it all out and I now consider myself to be MEF dominant with AGP as a secondary part of my sexuality. What does that even mean?
Opinion: The Main Difference Between MEF & AGP
I feel like I am both MEF and AGP; and the reason that I make a distinction between the two is because there actually is a significant quality which differentiates my MEF sexuality from my AGP sexuality: In my MEF fantasies I am taking on the masculine role sexually and in my AGP fantasies I am taking on the feminine role sexually. This roughly translates into my MEF sexuality desiring a relationship with a woman and my AGP sexuality desiring a relationship with a man.
My dominant sexuality is MEF and today I am able to understand how I developed sexual masochism as a result of a specific incidence of significantly damaging emasculation trauma1 which occured at age five. My strongest erotic fantasies are MEF fantasies and they always involve femdom and female-led-relationships (FLR). In these types of sexual relationships I am certainly the submissive partner but I am still taking on the masculine role. It has to be this way in order for it to be MEF, because MEF is an emasculation fetish. If I'm not the one in the masculine role then I am cannot be emasculated. The most common MEF fantasies, which are all based around femdom, are 1) cuckolding 2)sissy baby/little girl and 3)small penis humiliation/cock and ball torture. Not surprisingly, 2 & 1 are my most arousing erotic fantasies, respectively.
AGP is a secondary part of my sexuality. The major distinction is that I always take on the feminine role in my AGP fantasies. I realized I am MEF and AGP because I find it the most arousing to be a man dressed up as a baby girl but I also enjoy dressing up as a woman sometimes. I gave my feminine persona a name (Alexis, which is super AGP) and in that headspace I enjoy wearing lingerie and more respectable clothing. In my AGP headspace I want to look like a woman as much as I can and I want men to find me attractive. Taking on the feminine role sexually means being vulnerable and allowing myself to fully succumb to a man's masculinity and allowing him to take me. I also believe that it is necessary to take on the feminine role in order for me to be romantically attracted to a man. My AGP fantasies are much less kinky than my MEF fantasies and much more passionate. I want to make out with a man in these fantasies and I want to be dominated by him, but not humiliated... and not emasculated either, really. The emasculation involved in AGP fantasies is simply due to the acknowledgement of being biologically male and not necessarily because it is part of the arousal.
1 The aspect of childhood trauma that causes the most damage to the developing brain is betrayal. Like many other forms of child abuse, the most traumatizing incidences of childhood emasculation are the result of a parent or guardian either 1) failing to protect the child from harm or 2) directly harming the child [i.e. betrayal].
Another Story about my own Self-Discovery
I moved out of state in my mid-twenties and my unspoken goal was to finally make my feminization fantasies come to life. I thought if I moved far away from everyone I knew that my inhibitions would subside. I was also very confused about my sexuality and I ended up belieivng that I was bisexual, or perhaps just gay and in denial. My success with women was more than negligible and I ended up being in my first LTR with a man who was nearly a decade older than me. He is the reason that I believe there are true bisexuals out there. We both felt like our preference was for women, but he was genuinely attracted to me as the man I was. He allowed me to take my time to discover myself and he was in love with me, while I felt more of a platonic fondness for him. He let me sit on his dick and let it inside me at my own pace the very first time and the moment I sat down on it all the way I went from flaccid to rock hard and exploded in a hands-free sissygasm. This made me believe I was even more gay, but now I understand that my sissyness caused this to happen and not homosexuality. We were roommates/boyfriends for approximately four years and during that time I was still too inhibited and repressed to express my desire to feminize myself that I so desperately needed. It was only at the end of our relationship that I began to wear panties around him on occasion, but then I broke up with him for unrelated reasons. I saved up to move back home, and when that time came I was so upset with myself for not doing what I had moved out there to do. I decided I couldn't do myself like that; so I knocked on his door and asked him if I could spend my last week before flying out with him, and told him that I wanted to feminize myself. He agreed and the next day I spent approximately five-hundred dollars on feminine clothing and accessories.
I shaved completely and fully feminized myself for the first time and I got fucked. I guess I am lucky for that. I definitely took on the feminine role, although I wasn't consciously aware of that at the time. I have never before or since moaned like that. Almost a decade later and we are still in contact. He didn't know how he felt about me being feminized at first. He didn't seem to care for it that much and would say he liked me as a boy. Overtime he has warmed up to Alexis and I have shared many pictures with him. He finds me hot and attractive, and I regret not getting over myself earlier in our relationship because I would have enjoyed myself and my sexuality much more. However, my AGP is secondary to MEF and I much prefer to be in a relationship with a woman, as I have been for several years now. Being MEF dominant makes it much, much easier to be in a heterosexual relationship because I retain the masculine role sexually. I find it much more arousing to be humiliated by a woman who makes me wear diapers and baby girl dresses. I am thankful for this.
Is it possible to be MEF dominant and prefer to be in a relationship with a man?
Yes, it certainly is, and if I had a boyfriend I would surely engage in both MEF and AGP fantasies. MEF fantasies involving a dominant man still require me to take on the masculine role. Both men in this situation are taking on the masculine role and it becomes a matter of a dominant partner and a submissive partner (alpha male/beta male). I have these fantasies often and what makes them so arousing is the idea of being a man who is feminized and dominated sexually by another, "more masculine" man. I have no desire to transition and if I was in a relationship with a man I wouldn't pretend to be, or identify as, a woman. I would just crossdress a lot at home and go out on dates fully feminized and in the AGP headspace of taking on the feminine role.
I hope this made sense; please let me know if it doesn't. Thanks for reading! Part II will be posted shortly.
tl;dr - The biggest distinction between MEF and AGP is that MEF fantasies are based in the masculine role and AGP fantasies are based in the feminine role.
submitted by Unhappy_Temporary_49
to askAGP [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 21:58 devinsaurus My Potential Prehistoric Planet 3rd Season List
My ideal potential Prehistoric Planet
3rd Season pitch: Note
: Some of these ideas are from Yellow Panda - Mold Pig and ijog on Discord.
S03E01 - North America 2
- Alamosaurus nesting grounds (Dineobellator and T. rex juveniles involved).
- A lone Torosaurus and a herd of Triceratops meet.
- Anzu male and hatchlings startled by a surfacing Didelphodon.
- Dryptosaurus males fighting for territory.
- Leptoceratops in family units, creating large nests, Thescelosaurus lays eggs in for protection.
- Young Albertosaurs hunting hadrosaurids Saurolophus osborni (North American species) and Hypacrosaurus (Edmontonia, Anchiceratops, & Albertonychus appeared).
- Augustynolophus males fought over females.
S03E02 - South America
- A group of Maip exhaustively attempt to take down a massive Nullotitan.
- A pack of Quilmesaurus gather up to take down a large Kelumapasaura.
- Soroavisaurus grooming on Saltasaurus.
- A Peirosaurus hunts down a juvenile Aeolosaurus, biting it until exhaustion.
- Carnotaurus pair making a nest and raising their young.
- An old Aeolosaurus lies dying of old age peacefully. A time lapse is then shown of Quilmesaurus, Niebla, Austroraptors and Aerotitan feeding on the carcass until the bones are all that's left.
S03E03 - Africa
- Chenanisaurus hunting Ajnabia (titanosaurids and pterosaurs appeared).
- Turkana Grits giant abelisaurids hunting titanosaurids.
- Rahonavis and Falcatakely feeding on Rapetosaurus leftovers and dung.
- Majungasaurus cannibalism (Homage to the Majungasaurus segment from 2011's Planet Dinosaur).
- Mahajangasuchus hunting Rapetosaurs (Majungasaurus and Masiakasaurus involved).
- Tethysdraco, Alcoine and Simurghia gannet diving bait ball (Zarafasaura and Thalassotitan involved).
- Masiakasaurus making a Bower. (Vintana appeared)
S03E04 - Europe
- Balaur nesting pair against an Allodaphosuchus.
- Arcovenator hunting rhabbodonts.
- Dwarf sauropods Magyarosaurus and Paludititan and a Struthiosaurus feeding and Hatzegopteryx peacefully strolling by.
- Gargantuavis follows after Ampelosaurus herd.
- Eurazhdarcho gather in large flocks, wreaking havoc on small creatures, but also appropriating the moment for sexual displays.
- A Fylax herd is forced to climb steep ravines to reach to new pastures.
S03E05 - Asia
- Sanajeh consumes one of the Rajasaurus hatchlings, only to be eaten by the mother.
- Isisaurus herd eats from trees (Brachypodosaurus appeared).
- Laevisuchus hunt Bharattherium in the Indian volcanic lands.
- Therizinosaurus vs. Deinocheirus.
- Nanshiungosaurus tears apart a rotten log to find insects and fend off Qinzhousaurus.
- Mongol Giant (aka Gurilin Tsav azhdarchid) vs Tarbosaurus over a Saurolophus corpse.
- Young Tarbosaurs hunting Saurolophus angustirostris (larger Asian species) herd's young calves (Prenocephale and Gallimimus involved).
- Deinocheirus display & battle.
submitted by devinsaurus
to PrehistoricPlanet [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 21:24 highfidelitygarden Our boy is actually a girl
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Thanks to MorphMarket we finally found out that our snake is actually a girl. Gotta love petsmart not even knowing the sex 😂 we had our suspicions when "he" was 40" and 1000g by 12 months but it's cool to know for certain. submitted by highfidelitygarden to ballpython [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 20:28 transcribersofreddit confidentlyincorrect Image ""Sex and gender are the same""
2023.05.29 20:25 spookytoad2 "Sex and gender are the same"