Friday, October 20, 2017

It wasn't a Room full of Stairs

It was a world full of doors. They have 'em. Not the swinging door kind, nor the glass doors that slide open neither. Interconnected buildings with actual doors on them, little doormen in front to check your ID.

I actually wandered around a place like that once, and the man's name was Door. I couldn't make up stuff this good, his name was actually Door. Still wondered after his mother, but once I traced those roots back it all made sense. The Brits, they liked puns, and naming their kid Domhnal- a word that meant Door, well that was a real pip of one.

There's another one in Minneapolis too- I suppose naming your city "city" will get you a couple doors. They were the inspiration for our space stations, but I'm getting ahead of myself- that hasn't happened yet, and I learned a long time ago not to get into too much detail about something that hasn't happened yet. You might jog someone's gun arm.

Landscape, landscape... funny thing to think when we're talking about doors. But you can't take things too literally, especially when you're dealing with art- and life is an art.

Where was I? Oh right, at the Door. I'd found one in NYC before and like I said...

You know, when you get to be older your mind wanders. You start talking to Old Billy there, in your head. But he got capped back in that damn war that wouldn't end, and while you don't let go, he ain't exactly answering back. Death is a bitch. But I love her. Sing her songs all the time. My cher.

I guess the problem is that I don't know which way the story goes from here. They have this running joke about the gifted kids who push on the door marked pull. It's because we're all dreamers and it's getting hard to find peace in this human wilderness.

I've got another run in a couple days- just jobs, building bridges- seems like every second of every day lately. Guess I should grab a couple energy drinks, some stim sticks, a couple gel packets. I found an interesting fact, a long time ago. They Holy Roman legions won every time because they could fight for longer than twenty minutes. No joke, your average troops exhausts themself within five to ten and from their it's short bursts of survival.

Look at that I walked in with a point, and wound up with a real actual blog entry. I guess since I'm addressing everyone so directly maybe I'll just take a second to get a message out.

Baby, I love you. Our old dog Blue found something and we're going to check it out. We're bringing Tom. If you don't hear from me, mind the kids, ok?


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Beauty and the Werewolf

I'm in book love with fairy tale reboots. Maybe it's the holidays. Maybe it's the visual storytelling I'm doing to tie all of my media together. Maybe it's the fact that reboots are all of the best things that nostalgia and templated creativity can bring. Whatever the reason, they currently rule my world.

Which brings me to Bella (insert all of the Twilight jokes here), and her romp with a werewolf. Rather than being a slave to the system, Lackey portrays Bella as a strong, assertive woman with a nuisance of a stepmother, with psychotic leanings. Americans love taking two tropes and rubbing them together, the Brits apparently decided to give it a go, combining Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella.

While they throw in the usual American digs (they're a friendly peoples), the story is light and fun, and gets some of it's light humor contrasting itself against the dreary been-done Cinderella fairy tale. Typical of a Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, Beauty and the Werewolf is a good time.

Curious? Buy it Here.

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Some people Think they are Colors

My life is hard. Mind you I'm a psychic, so that's pretty much a given. I've spent seven entries explaining the ins and outs of why I refuse to explain psychic culture to you. It's a process. I ran into one of the older ways of explaining- which neatly dovetails with America's cultural system (btw, we're already a global village, so if you could stop arguing with us, that'd be greeeat).

We (I was unaware of this, but I hit pro level at 3 and people realized that at 10) apparently label our people by colors. But only to Normals. And to the slow ones.Feel free to extrapolate. But only if you're psychic- or intelligence, we get along with intelligence.

Reds are our talkers, they go out and create cloud cover (there are a few good gamer reds). Blues are fixers, they work the comms systems, either socially or via a computer. Yellows (I call 'em yellas, but I'm a black) are our sociable, happy people. That one was so confusing I just labelled them Neutral Neutral and called it a day. I never got that alignment as a kid so I, personally, found it deeply satisfying. Greens are our earthy homemakers and hedge witches. Browns are self-esteem, they tend to be the heart of a family. Oranges are infrastructure, and warning, they'll put up blocks, verbally and in the infrastructure, but they also lay down framework (remember we're talking culture and intelligence here). Purples are weird. That's either church or nobility. Mostly they're European. They stand and be seen a lot. Like pillars.

If you think you're a color, you're not. In fact you basically just announced you're not psychic and you're definitely psychotic. You, a human being, cannot be a color. Its... My mind boggles. The whole system is a short hand for when psychics need to work fast (that's frueqently) especially with other cultures (that's often). If you're claiming that your actions are because you are a color you're basically a criminal, or a severe social detriment. The only time a psychic will tell you what color they are is when you are trying to tell them to do something MAGIC (insert childish, high pitched, whiny, voice). They're explaining that you're stupid, you don't know what you're talking about, and if you DID know what you were talking about, you'd be talking to the wrong type of psychic.

Just thought I'd let you know. Because, since psychics are now an open secret, and people have their eyes, they seem to think they understand the in between, psychic culture, and intelligence (I'm talking military intelligence). Just as a PSA, you sound like suicidal idiots. Don't do it. There is no camo, there are no secret words, that will suddenly make you look or sound like a psychic. Psychics know you are not. WE'RE PSYCHIC.

I'm putting this out there because it seems to be a systemic problem, and I had to spend five hours at my job the other day, explaining to a twenty year old NORMAL that she doesn't get to get other people beaten and raped by feeding intelligence bad info, because she was willing to screw anything and she didn't FEEL LIKE WORKING A JOB. STDs can't work fast enough for some people.

If you think this is harsh, you should see how we explain that crap to other psychics. Raising psychic kids is really fun. They spark up in vitro. My son tried to stay in for 10 months, because he had a bet with some elephants. Emotional communication is definitely pre-verbal.

The point being, stay out of our culture. I work a job, and I work for my country. I've never lived in a more aggravating era. Ironically, the struggle is real. I take solace in the Bible. You laugh. So do I.



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Monday, October 16, 2017

Grond: The Raven High Series

Days you want something different, something to pull you along, but engage you as well. Days you want to feel like you're outside looking in, and when you walk back out of that book you're inside looking out again. That's when you go for a foreign novel or film.

They won't be perfectly translated, anyone who's chosen subtitles over voice overs in a movie will know that, and love it. The turns of phrase that aren't quite natural are the flora and fauna of a foreign culture, peeking shyly through the human wilderness. You roll them around in your head wondering, why is it that this author, this writer, feels that a project is not a part of you, so it gets an adverb, yet this shirt is and so it gets an adjective. Your eyes catch it because it's technically incorrect. Your mind catches it because it's a brightly wrapped present that you want to play with like a child would.

Grond is sci-fi, and I don't normally play there. But the premise is fascinating, an evolved race of people, small in population, that can work with the meta-net to produce products the world desperately needs. Water purifying sand, that has to be assembled on a molecular level before its pressed and shipped. Conductors that require four different types of atoms to channel properly.

Who are these people, what is the net? And why are they kept secret. It's the best science fiction I've read since Snow Crash, and the occasional turn of phrase that rings foreign only makes it better. I get to play in two different worlds, a mirror maze that shows me a sci-fi world with only my own reflection in between to occlude certain points.


Curious? Buy it Here.

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Christine Feehan : Dark Guardian

The were a race of Vampires, benevolent but violent, their men carrying a Carpathian curse. The world, to them, was black and white- until the day they fell in love. One woman, sometimes another Carpathian, sometimes a human woman, could let them see color. The result was more than love, it was magic.

She was a police officer, a tiny little thing who'd trained in hand to hand to make it in the force. She'd worked hard on her career and didn't appreciate any outside help. A protector. Until the day he fell in love and she became a target. Lucian was struck with a problem, he could only keep her safe if she was near, but in the end she'd become like him- doomed and blessed to an eternal life as the most dangerous of beings.

He couldn't make the decision for her, but he had to. So he moved her to safety, and danger, in his secluded mansion, far away from her acquaintances, her partner, who was growing increasingly suspicious. But you don't survive for three thousand years without learning your way around the system that is society. He wouldn't let her fall... only she could choose...

Curious? Buy it Here.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

You're Kidding Me

I'd love to entitle it something else. Something more magickal and significantly less... specific. But, you see, I heard back from Domhnal. And you know what, don't mind me, I was just doing some very serious psychic PR.

Now don't get me wrong, the boy is wretchedly good looking, and, to make no bones about it- he's a whore. It's legal in England. If I were to order up arm candy I couldn't have mixed up a better batch of tasty, and I can cook. Under ordinary circumstances I'd be perfectly happy to hear from an old friend who had such lovely... skill sets.

But I was still pregnant, the kids had decided on seven months along, Aria was waiting for New Years just to make my niece mad, and without Domhnal exactly where I'd described him- On My Arm- they were going to be born through the In Between. I burst into metaphorical tears every time I thought of it, although the kids all assured me that the babies were perfectly happy having their parents and the Otherworld was just delighted at the prospect of something new. I'd even just found the Army's old dog Blue and started to straighten out a damn Wrinkle in Time and there he was. Like a Bad Penny.

You know, when I was little we had house phones. We didn't carry them around when we went running every which way but West. We certainly didn't go haring off into the Deep Dark Wood (it might help to know that the Brits used to be called rabbits, before Watership Down came along and ruined the whole thing) and then pop off a text message like we hadn't been away for a month or so. I blame those thrice bedamned Gail girls. Turning the whole world this way and that trying to get out from under their Aunties. If there's a marriage left in the world after their spinster Aunts get done with our men and their nieces get done with the Mother I'll faint dead away.

They just love Danno. The only bloody thing I hear out of Canadia is what a darling boy he is. They even voted him an evil twin for my boss, just for irony's sake- and because Americans never could resist closing out a good story. Well he'd gone off and screwed the pooch, got himself locked up in a Manse with nothing but a matched pair of russians, Russians!, to help him. If he weren't the key that was stuck in the dragon of a lock that Jack and I'd wound up on opposite sides of I'd leave him to hang.

But Frost the forest prince had got himself cursed so he was supposed to be a girl, and my little blue rose had run face first into another that he Was a girl and was supposed to be a boy, and he'd chased the wretched thing down into the In Between, which is apparently where he loved to be more than anything. He should have been Raised psychic, and I was starting to wonder what his mother had done that was so bad even her kids weren't allowed back. I'd even put a cat on it.

Ironically, given that I'm a natural witch, this wasn't a thing I could solve with stuff (except moonstones, but that was all, go figure). It was all research and stories. Unfortunately my dearly departed had left me with every key to every lock in modern English mythology, so I was about the only person who could toss together something to get Danno out of his mess, again. I just haven't decided if I'll do it just yet.

My apprentice is about to turn 22, next June in fact, and Domhnall was just 25 this past November- in his luck year. I'd turn 37, the number I'd bought from Santa (way too long of a story) a long time ago to be MY lucky number next November as well. And I knew the story he was stuck in, without cracking open a book. The second the Chinese built that omega threshold, numbers came into play, and if my little blue rose passed his birthday without falling in love with a princess, he'd stick a whole country with an ass, a prince, or a monster- depending on who was telling the story. I was ready to vote them all three. And it would serve the whole lot of them right for using my books as a template to wander the In Between, and changing the signs every time they found them.

I mean, the world could use one less scoundrel... right?

Jhereg : Steven Brust

He was an Easterner, and outcast among the tall, elfin, Dragaerans. Until he caught the attention of a thief, and got introduced to the shadowy underworld of the Syndicate.

Working the back rooms and speakeasies of the Capital City of Adrinlankha wouldn't have been his career choice as a child, in fact his grandfather, an Eastern Witch, disapproved of it greatly. But starving was awful, and it was hard for Easterners to make it in the city. The Eastern ghetto didn't have any work for him and he was handy with magic, witchcraft and a heavy stick he liked to carry around.

Grandfather was right though, that sort of life sucked you in and didn't let go. He was an infant by Dragaeran standards when he committed his first assassination...

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fairy Tale Reboots: One Good Knight

A group of women has dominated the fantasy scene for almost thirty years now. Beginning with Andre Norton's search for writers for the anthology "Chicks in Mail" and culminating with the writers circles that centred around Tanya Huff and Mercedes Lackey, every fantasy trend for three decades has sprung from these writers circles. One of the best? Fairy Tale reboots.

As always Lackey dominate the scene, Fairy Godmother took the wheel and didn't let go, the entire series culminating with its best seller One Good Knight. Set in Acadia (the inspiration for Longest Journey's Arcadia?) it tells the Traditional story of a dragon, a champion and a princess. Only the princess is Andromeda, the knight is Noman and the Dragon isn't the villain.

Turning Tradition on its ear is a trope that Lackey uses directly in the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, naming the tropes and navigating them is the purview of the Fairy Godmothers and Champions and, occasionally the princesses. Fun and educational, One Good Knight is a great romp through semiotics and storytelling.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Like You've Never Heard Before

It looked like a regular classroom. The walls were painted the usual soothing bluish green. There was a chalkboard at the front with a pull down white screen hovering above it. The teacher’s desk was unfairly large and had way too many metal drawers for the amount of accessories he needed to teach class.

They were all uncomfortably folded into the ubiquitous wooden desks… the ones that kids are excited to sit at when they finally reach high school and no longer need to store glue and crayons for class but eventually reveal their design flaws in the most unpleasant of ways over the course of eight hours of physical imprisonment.

“It’s eight o’clock,” Norway said impatiently, “I guess it’s time for me to teach.”
“Nuh uh,” America replied, “We get to goof off until he gets here,”

America got up and walked to the front of the class, stealing Russia’s glasses as she went and tucked them up into her hair. She picked up a piece of red chalk and turned so that her left side was facing the class, looking suddenly more intense and military. As she raised her hand her sharp white jacket slid open and a red lacy top peeked out.

“Why does she dress like that?” Whispered Saudi Arabi to Egypt.
“She just wants attention.” Egypt replied aloofly. Germany snickered and Italy slid down in his seat sliding the tip of his tongue along his top teeth.

America started drawing and a couple of the other kids got up to join her. Scotland wandered up to the teacher’s desk and popped his left hip up, leaning slightly. England gave him a glare and, turning her purse primly, sat down in the teacher’s chair, swiveling it to watch. Canada slid down in his seat, pulling the ear flaps of his winter hat down to cover his ears. If the teacher didn’t show up soon he was going to get involved in another fight.

The Irish twins got up and sat on either side of the desk, the red headed girl bumping the Scot backwards and the boy taking the left side of the desk. Norway cleared her throat, the muscles in her face tightening ever so slightly.

America poked the Irish twin with a piece of green chalk and she threw it at Norway. Russia almost smiled, which meant trouble. Canada started contemplating if it wanted to call the whole thing a snow day and if the horse could actually get him home.

“Um, just so you know…” Finland began, staring at the red devil that was slowly emerging on the blackboard. Denmark kicked him and held out his hand. With a sigh Finland handed over his lunch money. It was now or later.

The door rattled and Spain got up smoothing his hair and wandering to the front of the class to block line of sight. Italy adjusted his belt buckle and kept texting under the desk. Russia looked down, and then up at him and he paused. Poland started humming softly to herself as American added red curliques to the edges of her Devilish version of Satan. She picked up the black chalk. Italy snapped a pic and started texting faster, before Instagraming it, Facebooking, and Twittering it.

France, do you think that we should maybe erase that?” Sweden said softly.
“I would,” replied France, “But then I’d have to get up out of my desk.” He took a sip of his coffee, latte of course.

Mexico smiled at Sweden and she smiled softly back. He leaned over and handed Japan a wrist rocket. Japan, being Japan, smiled severely, loading it with a black pencil and shooting it at the back of America’s head. China glared at him censuriously and slid him a red one under the desk.

It was a perfect shot and America screamed. Spain abandoned ship and darted back to his desk, no way was he covering for that kind of drama queen. The Irish twins laughed sliding down under the teachers desk to play cat’s cradle. England stood up and pulled the pencil loose, taking more than a few strands of hair with it.

“Really?” England asked America, “Do you WANT to get us in trouble?”
“No!” America exclaimed, “How about YOU get shot for once and then you can talk down to me.” England laughed and sat back down, producing a teacup poodle from her tiny purse and petting it. Italy laughed and sent out another text, this one to America’s big brother. Fourteen phones went off. Finland slid all the way down in his seat and Russia got up, pushing his desk away. Greece flipped her hair, and Russia paused.

The door opened and a group of upper classmen walked in. There were enough desks, but America hadn’t heard anything about merging the classes today. She drew a Hitler mustache on the Devil just to get a rise out of Germany, and his big brother turned on her, putting himself between her, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Sweden smiled softly and Denmark slipped him a five.

Italy’s older brother flipped him an SD card and Italy popped it into his phone, bursting out into a loud belly laugh. America’s big brothers split up, one placing himself between her and Scotland and leaning over the desk, the Irish twins stopped laughing but kept playing cat’s cradle. England admired the sharp lines of his navy pants.

Her biggest brother snapped his green dress shirt cuffs down smartly and walked up to Russia, standing toe to toe. Russia didn’t flinch, but then, he never did.

Her middle brother walked over to Japan, leaning over the desk and pulling the dark brim of his hat down slightly. Japan’s older brother slid in behind him, unnoticed in solid black (by everyone but France, of course) and gave the middle brother a massive wedgie. White hat gritted his teeth but kept staring down at Japan as China serenely rearranged the pencils on her desk.

Every phone in the room went off and Italy laughed again. Annoyed, Switzerland tossed a chaser onto the ground, enjoying the chaos as it blew around the room, shooting sparks everywhere.

“I need to answer!” America screamed, running a hand through her blonde hair and shaking her iPhone5. Switzerland leaned back giving her a ‘bring it’ smile.  Both of the Italy brothers shrugged and answered anyways, sliding their thumb up their forehead and through their hair.

“It’s South America,” Italy told his older brother.
“What does she want?” Older Italy asked, holding his hand loosely over the mouthpiece of his phone.
India is bugging her.”
“Yeah, India? Hold for another second ok?” Older Italy said, winking at Italy.
“What are they offering?” Older Italy asked. He glanced at the door to the classroom but America waved him off, gesturing to the chalkboard. The teacher wasn’t going to care that they were on the phone once he saw That. She stared at the caller ID and sighed. Another bill collector. She simpered at Switzerland and clicked ignore, flicking her eyes quickly at Saudi Arabia, who rolled his. Her brothers turned slightly and Saudi answered his phone.

“Yes? Really? Of course, we’d love to. Of course.” Saudi clicked the phone off and all three of America’s big brothers phone’s chirped. They flinched.

The door opened and Spain, Sweden, Finland, Scotland and Canada’s older brothers ran for their desks. England got up and linked arms with America, step gliding towards their seats. Both Italy’s adjusted their belt buckles and fixed their hair. Norway’s big brother was, of course, already seated and nobody saw Japan’s sit down. America’s big brothers stayed standing, adjusting their position so that their backs were to no one.

A very small woman entered, early forties, gold eyes, auburn hair, slim but athletic.

“Sit the fuck down,” She told the America brothers and they looked at each other. Older Italy laughed and Navy Pants face palmed, walking to his seat. The other two followed, White Hat making a grab for Japan’s wrist rocket. He got it. The teacher walked up to him and took his hat, walking to the front of the room and dropping it in a metal drawer and locking it. Green Shirt snickered and handed White Hat China’s black pencil.

He shot it at the Teacher, who flipped the wide sleeve out and back, catching it in the folds.

“Whoa,” Green Shirt said, intelligently.
“Marry me,” Formerly White Hat said.

She walked over to Italy and pointed the black pencil at them severely, they both handed her their phones.

“Hi, who’s interrupting my class? Oh, India? Yes, I understand that you’re very important, please hold.” She switched to Italy’s phone.
“Did you know you’re interrupting my class? Oh really? ALL of South America? Ok, no? Most of it? Ok here.” She duct taped the two phones together, yin yang style and dropped it in a desk drawer, locking that as well.

Scotland took her moment of distraction to slide off the metal desk and head back to his seat.

Teacher dusted her hands off and glanced at the chalkboard, then scanned the room. America played with her hair, twirling it around one finger, while England paid close attention to her teacup poodle.

“So I can see that today we’re learning about Satan,” Teacher said abruptly.

“What?!?” Italy said loudly, moving to stand.

“Sit the fuck down.” Teacher told him coldly, “Nobody cares what religion you are.”

“So Satan has a lot of roles in modern literature, and some in the sacred texts. Some claim that he possessed the snake that spoke to Eve and talked her into taking a bite out of the apple which granted her the knowledge of good and evil. Anyone know what good and evil are?”

“Karma,” came a muffled answer from the drawer.

“Ok, so we’ve got karma, anyone else besides India, who is now officially in a fight with South America?”

“Evil is fighting your urges and being less than you should be, Good is either the reward we give to others for helping us or the ability to conquer- depending on if you’re a jock or a nerd,” Germany offered, running neatly trimmed fingernails along his buzzed blond hair.

“Actually,” Older Italy interrupted , “Good is a blend of choosing the right goal, the way to do it and having the strength to carry it out against the odds. Evil is weakness and sin and can’t be used to do good.”

“Interesting, so we have a social response and a moral one, as well as one that is dependent on a belief system. Anyone else?” Teacher asked, adjusting her blue stone headband as it was sliding slightly to the left. She pushed its hook back into her wrap around braid and scanned the classroom.

“Well, we all know what Sweden thinks,” Norway said coldly. She had been so still that Teacher almost missed her.
“She thinks that saving and healing the Earth is good and that peace is good and war and pollution are evil.”

“That’s lovely,” Teacher told Norway sweetly, eyeing the sharp lines of her tailored clothing and perfect, low ponytail, “But what do you think?”

“Good is being a part of society and serving your purpose for it, evil is intruding on others and being a burden upon them,” Norway stared straight at Teacher as she spoke, the long line of her swanlike neck straightening slightly as she exuded pride.

“Whoa,” said America sarcastically, stretching, “that’s two whole social responses now.”

America?” Teacher asked her sweetly, “Good and Evil?”

“Hard work is good,” America answered, crossing her arms and ignoring the snorts from Ireland and England, “so is protecting people, and evil is basically sin.”

Italy smiled at her and she grinned back, tilting her head and running her hand along her neck and up through her hair. Sweden sighed and glanced around, finally meeting eyes with Canada and smiling. Teacher walked back to the desk and bumped it with her hip, causing a book to crash to the ground. They all jumped and America’s brothers glared at her. Norway’s older brother somehow moved forward three seats before she turned around and Teacher fixed him with a flat stare.

“So we have a couple of theories on Good and Evil, does anyone have any idea why this knowledge would be an Evil thing- assuming of course Satan possessed the snake and talked Eve into having the same sort of conversation that I’m having with you now?”

America wiggled her eyebrows at Teacher, flicking her eyes back and forth between the drawing and her. Teacher stared straight back, giving her the I’m not a lesbian and if I were I wouldn’t be interested look.

“Innocence,” Formerly White Hat answered her softly, and Teacher rapidly covered the I’m totally straight and if you were older I might look that sometimes pops up when you receive an intelligent answer.

“Elucidate,” Teacher told him severely. His phone chirped and he glanced down, tapping open the text from one of his friends who had already graduated.

“It means explain, idiot. Cya.”

“If you don’t know the difference between Good and Evil, you can’t do Evil,” he continued, unphased by the slight narrowing of Teacher’s disturbingly golden eyes.

“So you think that Evil exists inside of people, like a set of rules, and if those rules didn’t exist that neither would Evil?” Teacher asked, tilting her chair back and steepling her fingers.

“Yes, innocent people don’t really seek things which are bad for them and tend to be kind to others.”

“I can understand that. We have two societal based ideas of Good and Evil, one moral and one belief based. Removing the structure of society, for instance our culture and everything- like disgust- that makes for both inculture and outculture, removing a sense of responsibility and thus any repugnance that we might feel at being forced to be Good and, removing any knowledge that we have of Heaven and Hell or Chaos and Rebirth, people might tend to act in a naturally positive manner off the drop. Now let’s say they have a disagreement. How do you think that would affect their innocent state? Say one of the Irish twins wants to babysit England’s teacup poodle that she’s not supposed to have in class, but England doesn’t want her to and her twin’s friend also wants to babysit. What then?”

“Whoever is strongest would get the poodle,” Green Pants replied. Teacher started, she hadn’t realized that he was sitting in the front row. “England and America would probably bully the Irish twins, but Scotland would stand up for at least one of them and Denmark might talk her into it.”

Formerly White Hat look uncomfortable and Teacher nodded. Her example was starting to poke a few holes in his theory. She got up from her desk and picked up the poodle, setting it outside the window and tying it’s leash to the latch.

“It sounds like, from your response, and then lack thereof, that by innocence you mean naiveté.” All of America’s brothers gave her a blank look and France smirked. Sweden smiled softly again and Scotland exchanged blank looks with Ireland. Finland sighed at them and facepalmed.

The door creaked open and North Korea walked in, deliberately not looking at Teacher and taking a seat. Teacher sighed softly, nearly sitting on her hands so that she didn’t follow Finland’s lead and facepalm. America snorted and Teacher glared at her. Unintimidated she ran both hands through her hair and placed Russia’s glasses on her nose. North Korea glanced over and Teacher cleared her throat. Norway gave her a look, widening her eyes ever so slightly. They locked eyes and finally Norway laughed.

“I think the problem is that when concepts like that, which are – in their own way- Platonic forms, are brought into the real world they tend to fall apart because they are so pure. Lets consider for a moment that a belief system comes from people, and as a system has some sort of purpose of regulation and education (like Deuteronomy), and that morality is the equal and opposite, being a personal set of rules and laws.

Society based rules would indicate that good or evil come from humans as would the previous two. So they next question that I have is this- are we saying that Good and Evil are actually a part of human existence as is suggested by the eating of the apple, or would it exist without humans?”

“Some studies show that animals can do evil things,” North Korea offered.

“Ok, so it could be a product of life then?” Teacher asked, tilting her head to the right.

“I don’t see how it could be possible without life,” Sweden agreed.

“So they’re a product of behavior then. Assuming that life means movement and movement means action.”

“So was eating the apple evil then?” America asked, letting the glasses slide down slightly so that her ears stuck out a bit.

“That’s an interesting question.” Teacher asked, swiveling her chair around to contemplate the remarkably detailed chalk painting on the board. “In most versions of the Bible, the Torah, and the Quran after eating of the tree- or receiving of it directly- they then felt the need to cover themselves, either with its leaves or with fig leaves. So the shame, which is an outculture emotion that causes inhibition, appears after the act of taking the forbidden- which is knowledge.”

“So is the taking the problem? The fact that it was forbidden the problem, or the fact that they then lost their innocence the problem?”

Formerly White Hat tugged at his brown cuffs, glancing at Green Shirt who shrugged.

“The loss of innocence is why God forbid them, so the fact that they broke his law would be the problem,” Italy answered.

“That’s offers a new interpretation, aside from a belief based theory it’s also a political one. So we’re exploring that a law can make something good or evil. In the secular world that doesn’t seem possible as any governing body can make a law, even one that practices evil. This is one of the dilemmas, although possibly less a one of governance, in the Vedas where evil is seen as the problem of injustice, and God is removed from this via karma, and prophets cover in the Dharmashastras.

It is possible, in Abrahamic religions, that God forbid them in order to protect them- and also possibly the angels. In holy law we follow in order to be protected, although the fact that it is written down causes conflict in some.” Teacher waited until Italy nodded slowly, tilting his seat back. She allowed her mouth to press into a thin line and he put his desk back onto all four legs.

“So taking violates the social order, in which the Angels and God were Soathma- bearing knowledge- and the political order, whereby God may make rules, of their belief system, wherein they were innocent, and creates a personal dilemma whereby they suddenly find that they are naked and feeling exposed need to cover themselves with leaves. It may be a religious example, but it highlights, via example, what Evil may be quite well.

Things which defile society, its people, or living things- in the most expansive definition- by making them lesser, meaner, or create injustice are Evil then.”

“What, then, is Good?”

America facepalmed and one of the Irish twins put his head down on his desk. The other glanced over at him and mumbled something softly that sounded roughly like whadeverviolatesanitharmnoone. She looked around the room and smiled at Navy pants.

“The equal and opposite,” Navy pants answered quickly.

“And do you think there’s a difference between Evil and Bad?” Teacher asked.

"Yup, they're opposite" Navy pants answered, averting his eyes.

Teacher sighed, it was going to be a long day in Purgatory today.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Things from the In Between

Have you all been eaten, cored out like custies by the things in the In Between that you choose to ignore? Every time you take a psychic job that you're not trained for, every time you cause a crash and wake back up somewhere else, you've been down in the universal subconscious, which is thousands of years old.

Magic is as real as psychic ability, although it requires different training. Psychics are largely kinetics, like I said before, intuitives who work as intelligence, who can see the markers, but tend to view them as a language. It's why so many of us built the meta-net, an infinitely more mutable, and fixable, interaction that uses computers or gaming consoles as a buffer. Magic is a whole 'nother can of crazy.

It involves the use of objects to govern your interactions between the Nothing and the All, and everything that's accumulated from thousands of years of conscious understanding- and lack thereof. Vibrating on both sides of the veil, the plane of energy is held back by wisdom and knowledge, creating a concrete experience. Psychics tend to surf one side, witches tend to use harmonies (plank's constant) to create event waves that spool out and the replicate across the barrier.

Idiots blow a hole through the barrier and rely on other people's understanding of the symbols that make up that barrier as a safety net. I like my outer hull just fine thank you, and no you may not borrow my space suit. Like so much of science fiction predicted, there are things out there. Its why it's so hard to stare out into the black.

Enough. Enough explaining. That's the whole of our understanding, the rest is individual research, training, and running jobs. We get hurt. So do you. We just don't complain, certainly not to Normals. Your language has become so garbled, a screaming hybrid of sexuality and violence, we can't decide if you've fallen down into the Seventh Circle of Hell or if something got ahold of you the eight thousandth time you fucked up and grabbed ahold of a psychic or screwed with some witchcraft because you're a screaming moronic harpy with no sense of self-preservation.

So since we're both waiting here for whatever's next, and since I've spent days sorting out this confusion, answer me honestly. Have you been eaten by things from the In Between? Or are you just mad?

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Cake is a Lie

Where was I?

I had gotten married. Right, that was the last part of the story that I'd told. Then I wandered off into the news again. Sit Reps, stopping and giving them is bone deep. It's one of the ways we get psychic news to the Army. The real news- that's a different story, and it comes with it's own reason that I stop and report. You see I was engaged...

I knew him when he was a boy, a little out of place, a little bit shy. That's what we thought. I didn't know anything about his culture until he invited me there, my knight on a white horse as all of this came down around my ears. A fiance visa. He worked for the government. He could open a door and get me and my son out of the country, away from the CIA. It sounded so simple- then I went there and they took the skin off me, dumped what was left back into a country that didn't want me back.

I didn't know I was a psychic assassin. I mean, it was all there, but they slept us. Traditionally American psychics have incredibly strong ties with the Russians. They were part of the program, and they taught us (and used) a lot of their own techniques. It was part of the America Project, the thing that kept us getting loans that later got farmed out to corruption for more loans. Build a meta-net, shore up the in between. And build the Program. Britain had lost the keys to Japan, but we got on well with the Japs, and the Russians joined in. That's them, the mathletes. The short version being, over in Europe they knew they had psychic spies. Over here we didn't. Damn, but we're good.

So while I was there I kept right on keeping on, polite as ever, running my jobs and lining up marks like... well, like the Wolf. I found out later that everyone thought I was a Navy Seal. It still gives me the giggles. I was that precise- the Japs aren't forgiving (I can call them that, you can't). So there he was, my fiance to be, tearing into me about not knowing a damn thing, and here I was, hitting my marks above Pro level. The only way out of the System is to get good enough to be licensed. But over here we don't license. Hence the tongue lashing, how could I not know international politics? That all news was biased... the list goes on.

Well I, being me, learned. The Army pointed me towards a military co-op and off I went, IRL to get a degree in comms. Invesigative Journalism. Public Relations. Media. I don't respond to challenges, but I also don't stand for flaws. By 2015 I was the most educated person, internationally, on the face of the planet. That might be hyperbole.

One thing I knew better than, ironically, my dear sweet friend at the Kommunel, was that personal relationships make the world go round. And I had plenty in the upper class. When everything blew up and no one was willing to understand psychics and magic and mythology, the Russians agreed to take the hit for us. The said they hacked us. I'm going to pause here, because I'm getting a little misty...

We have such a strange relationship, our cultures are so different. But we're the ones who keep meeting in the middle. I have a running joke that every time we throw a War, there's the Russians, willing to help out. Then we leave and whatever country we were both in shuts the hell up. So when the Army sold me to them it wasn't a complete shock.

We've got a really old language we use, Normals find it confusing because their lives are so small. It's just to get everyone on the same page. Traditionally your government is your mom, the military is your dad. If you're good you get a grandmother - that's your contractor. That way we can talk over Normal's heads about this stuff. Stuff above top secret. Stuff that's not their business. Stuff that's getting them killed for running their mouths off. Stuff that lost us our friends, our crew, our family. so they could feel cool.

I'll get into who your husband is some other time. Lets just say I did the Army back. I can say that, you can't.

So, the short version of all of this being, when I say I'm here waiting for orders, maybe you finally have an inkling... a thought tickle... the smallest idea of how complicated a contract is, or even a job, and how intricate is the web we use to find them. I keep writing these in an attempt to STOP the explanations. The in between is torn apart by these explanations. Just accept the stories, stop asking questions. I didn't ask for this life, it asked for me. Stop trying to influence it- we're far more dangerous than you could possibly imagine. We're not alone, we're not unprotected.

I still have a Dad. From Russia. With love.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Take a Thief

Skif was a scrappy little Valdemeran dude, hangin out in the slums and pinching good food from the tables of the rich when karma hit him. He ran into another thief, better dressed, better at the job, and -being bright- made a friend.

He quickly found out why true thieves were few and far between. It was easy enough to pick something up, but picking something out was another skill entirely, skill set in fact. Stealth, agility, subterfuge, acting. Even math, for the fencing. His days were full of intrigue, but his nights were safe and his stomach was full. Until he met a white horse.

They say that's the sign that saves you, but it signed him up for a life that was so much more dangerous, but hopefully more rewarding. He wasn't sure they'd accept him, his life had been outside the law, necessary or not as that was for his survival. Turned out the street were better trainers than the programs that the Heralds ran...

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Casting Dreams

There are twenty years of my life that I remember being happy. Or... as happy as anyone can be. My mother tried to kill me five times, and a lot of things happened that no one could explain, but I definitely remember being happy. I got along with my brother and my dad loved me. He loved me and he loved the System.

I made sure to keep it that way, whenever I could I'd order him something that would make him smile. A place in the meta-net. A nod for work he did that got his name in the credits. He started watching the Home Shopping Network incessantly, trying to figure out how I did it. He never asked though.

Christmas was awesome- jobs would come in through TV specials and over the radio and we learned to keep mom busy in the kitchen. She was fine if she was cooking. Sounds anti-feminist but, well, I'm a girl, and I was the assassin in the family. Team Black, so you don't scare the straights. My dad joked about it. When he was driving and we got home from the store he'd announce, "Cheated Death again!". Or he'd wonder that female sports players liked to play sports. It was something he had a hard time wrapping his head around being older, he said. I think, being a vet, he didn't get why anyone would want to run lines other than the blue lines.

But he was a vet, an acting drill sergeant through boot camp too, and he did run a tight ship. I don't know that he knew the jobs he put me on, or the training I wound up in. If he did, he might have lied to himself and my brother. It's a dangerous world, we pretend our kids are safe, and try to give them freedom. For twenty years it worked.

Then things got bad. It wasn't right at twenty, although that's sure when it started. 2006 was when things turned. I got hit with a jinx and blew out my knee. I went to move south and... too much was getting put under cover. I started to get messages from my family. And then I got married. Normally we retire when we get married, I mean we're female dominant so what we really do is run the kids. Not all of us are all there as psychics, like I said, we kept mom in the kitchen, as long as she was humming, she was pretty sane... sort of. But, exceptions aside, women tend to be the strong ones.

Let's just say from there it got strange. By 2011 psychic messages were hitting the TV networks, hard. The Program went through the roof- I can only assume that it was because of the national debt. I'm one of the best, so when it started hitting the fan I stayed down and kept my mouth shut. A lot of talk about the Chinese, a lot of communications from our old tutors in Japan, not all friendly. Those are the two holders of American National Debt. Some noise out of England, but all personal.

When my dearly departed sent out the message for me to go down, I got it. Unfortunately he also called for a Blitzer. To this day I'm sure he thought I was more than one person. I get bored. Although I haven't been for years now. In 2014 I got hit, hard. By then In Between was starting to cross over... it was ugly.

Most of my crew didn't make it through the gates. My family definitely didn't, I lost them back in 2014. I find myself looking up a lot, expecting to feel signals that aren't there anymore. Like looking for familiar faces and there just... aren't. Now I mostly wait for the energy to go back up, so I can bridge it with jobs and stories. My past is a burnt out husk and really there's only the future, my kids, my husband. Trainees, adopted brother.

I've walked the gypsy road since I turned twenty, looking forward, laughing at the sky- they're things I'm used to. Don't look back. I'm a precog, I'd be lying if I said I didn't see the war coming. Some of the crap my crew and I pulled off we planned back in our teens. As it got closer though... I knew when to break away and lay down military framework.

 I can't say I love the booms, I don't, my head goes too far into the meta, trying to organize things- having rank is a bitch. But getting a minute to follow a story down through the Veil, there's nothing better than that. I think that's what my dad loved doing- he always drove. I like to think he died happy. The rest I'll write in red ink. It's never going to be over for me, but I guess that's just my life. Who knew?

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