First presbyterian church albert lea mn
Deep discussion into Mormon Doctrinal facts, theories, oddities, and peculiarities
2017.08.24 18:38 PedanticGod Deep discussion into Mormon Doctrinal facts, theories, oddities, and peculiarities
A place to share odd Mormon things, doctrines, experiences. The odder the better. Evidence of the doctrine required, no speculation mingled with scripture allowed here
2023.06.10 04:39 How_The_Turntables22 Considering Catholicism coming from a Protestant (Predominantly Baptist) family.
Hello all. I am M19 and this past year since attending a Christian university have really begun to take my faith seriously for the first time and have seen so much spiritual growth in myself. The more I learn, study, and research the more I find myself being drawn to Catholicism. For context, I was raised in a Southern Baptist church with wonderful Christlike parents who always put Christ first in everything growing up. With that said, lately I’ve begun to feel like contemporary Protestant churches and services lack a sort of reverence and holiness that Jesus deserves. I almost feel like it’s sort of lazy not to put a stronger emphasis on making God’s house a beautiful and reverent place. More traditional churches and services (ie. High church) have really begun to appeal to me and I’m seriously considering Catholicism. However I’ve never been to a Mass and would have no idea what to expect, but more intimidating, my entire family and all of my friends are Protestant, mostly Baptists with some Presbyterians and Methodists. So my question is how should I go about starting my path to Catholicism and what if I face pushback from my family and friends? Thanks.
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2023.06.10 01:25 ResolutionSame6629 The Motor City is home to Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church, an abandoned church that’s sat vacant for the last 17 years. It first opened its doors in 1911 and was built to accommodate the city’s growing population. The church’s gorgeous Gothic architecture turned heads for decades until its closu
2023.06.09 22:56 bigM337 My spouse wants a list of the issues that make my belief in the truth claims impossible
So I wrote this. Recycled ideas, but eventually all of this will be cited. It's basically my own CES Letter. The formatting is weird because this is coming over from Notion.
I had to write this out to start my own deconstruction anyway, but giving it to my spouse will be interesting. Read it if you want. Critique it if you want. I just had to get this out into the universe.
Disavowed teachings and behavior of former prophets and leaders.
- The concept that the Church can lie to you
- Rather than being told the entire truth about Joseph Smith’s death, we are told that he is innocent of any crime and that he went to deliver himself up. The truth of the matter is, Joseph Smith was in jail for destroying the property of William Law, who was creating a newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor. He ordered the printing press be destroyed and violated the first amendment, as well as destroying another’s property. The newspaper exposed polygamy and many of the other immoralities of the Church. On the surface, this lie doesn’t seem egregious, but D&C 135 section mentions that Joseph was a martyr for the religion, and I was always taught this. However, he didn’t deliver himself up to be killed and it wasn’t because he was a “mormon”; it was because he broke the law and had angered a mob. All of this was a direct result of him practicing polygamy and yielding so much power.
- The method of translating the Book of Mormon was largely misrepresented to me as a youth, missionary, and young adult. I was always taught, whether through art or articles, that Joseph used the Gold Plates to translate the Book of Mormon.
- However, upon widespread discovery of further quotes and scrutiny, in 2014 the Church admitted that the translation was done through a rock and a hat. This is justified by quoting the Book of Mormon where it talks about bringing forth a stone to shine forth in the darkness. (Alma 37:23-24). The methods of translation accounts differ from each other. Martin Harris saying they were done by sitting across the table. Oliver Cowdery saying it was done by the urim and thummim or two stones and spectacles. To be clear, I am okay with some ambiguity surrounding the translation, or it being by the power of God. What I’m not okay with is the church deceiving how it was done until the internet era forced them to release the Gospel Topic Essays on this subject.
- The implementation of polygamy. a. Left ambiguous for a reason. How Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, Heber C. Kimball and many other high ranking church members took many wives including teenage wives. The church’s essay on this topic refers to Helen Mar Kimball, a 14 year old, as “several months before her 15th birthday.” In fact, they even say that Helen said it was for “eternity alone” but that is an out of context poem from Helen’s journal. There is no proof of sexual relations, but there are proof in many other relatoinships, including Fanny Alger, Joseph’s first “wife” that Oliver Cowdery called a filthy affair. He was excommunicated partly due to that statement. b. Joseph Smith wrote a letter to 19-year old Nancy Rigdon propositioning her to marry him after she denied his appeal in 1842. This letter is quoted in General Conference many times over the years, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence, and will be the end thereof if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.” He then goes on to tell her that we cannot obey the commandments if we don’t know them and what seems wrong, can actually be right in certain circumstances. He quotes the times God has contradicted Himself in the scriptures. This letter is gross. Note that it comes right before the plural marriage revelation D&C 132. c. Joseph claimed that an angel with a drawn sword made him marry Zina Huntington Jacobs, despite her engagement to Henry Jacobs. He sent Henry on missions. She did stay faithful and was eventually sealed to Brigham Young, who also subsequently sent Henry Jacobs on missions. d. This doesn’t even take into account the actions of preceeding prophets who were married to dozens of women, sealed to hundreds, and many of them were underage. Wilford Woodruff for instance sealed himself to a 6 year old girl who had passed away, inexplicably. Maybe he didn’t know? Maybe he did? Who knows.
- D&C 132- Joseph Smith was sealed to over 20 wives before being sealed to Emma. He denied being polygamous publicly multiple times and the relief society (of which, Emma was president) wrote a letter condemning polygamy, while one of the presidency members was sealed to Joseph.
- Law of Sarah was violated before it was ever implemented
- Joseph performing a second marriage to the Whitney sisters after Emma approved it.
- Women must be virgins, while Joseph was married to other married women (at least 2).
- Abraham was not commanded by God to practice plural marriage, he was asked by Sarah to marry Hagoth because Sarah was barren.
- Additionally, Jacob condemns polygamy in the Book of Mormon but then God okays it in the D&C 132, both of them specifically citing the examples of Soloman and David.
- Plural marriage is the “new and everlasting covenant” implying that plural marriage in the celestial kingdom will be the new and everlasting covenant and required.
- 5. Historicity of the Book of Abraham There is an entire Gospel Topics Essay on this but the background is as follows. A guy named Michael Chandler shows up in Kirland with mummies and a bunch of scrolls. They were unearthed by Napoleon’s raiding of the Egyptian catacombs. Joseph believes that they are scrolls that contained writings of Abraham. He begins translation in 1835 and publishes it in May of 1842. The odds that these mummies, coming from a salesman who had a lot to gain, containing the written word of Abraham has always seemed really fortunate. In the Pearl of Great Price, the heading says they are penned by “the hand of Abraham” but according to scholars in and out of the church, they were written much later. “These fragments date to between the third century B.C.E. and the first century C.E., long after Abraham lived.” Not only is it not written by Abraham’s hand, it is also not anything to do with Abraham. In Joseph’s time, the Rosetta Stone had not been widely discovered. He began translating this book and now, experts know that these are standard funerary texts. The Facsimiles (pictures) have nothing to do with the sacrifice of Abraham. Everyone virtually agrees that what is on the remains of the scroll (most of which was lost in the Chicago fire but then recovered), is not what Joseph translated. This casts a large shadow of doubt on Joseph’s ability to translate. The Church is admitting that Joseph translated incorrectly. The only way to reconcile this is that Joseph used these scrolls to channel the Spirit to record what is in the Book of Abraham today. The doctrines in Abraham largely expand on the Genesis story but go deeper in doctrines about plurality of Gods and the creation of the universe and stars. Some of this goes against the Book of Mormon’s view of God. The Authenticity of the Book of Mormon
- This is arguably the largest domino that needs to stay in place. Here are a few quotes demonstrating the absolute necessity of the Book of Mormon being an authentic history of the peoples on this continent.
- “The Book of Mormon is God’s compelling witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ, the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, and the absolute truth of this Church.” - Tad R. Callister
- “The Book of Mormon is the most important religious text to be revealed from God to man ‘since the writings of the New Testament were compiled nearly two millennia ago.’ Joseph Smith declared the Book of Mormon to be “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.” It is the only book that the Lord Himself has testified to be true.” - President Nelson
- “I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times—until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies…and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit. In that sense the book is what Christ Himself was said to be: “a stone of stumbling, … a rock of offence,” a barrier in the path of one who wishes not to believe in this work.” - Jeffrey R. Holland.
- "All that we have, all that we do hinge on the truth of that account of the boy Joseph Smith. If it is true, then everything that we have in this Church is true and is more precious and worth more than anything else on earth. If it is false, we are engaged in the greatest fraud that was ever perpetrated on earth.” - Gordon B Hinckley
- So with all that being said, this is my biggest stumbling block. I will begin with my own issues with the book that happened long before I was ever introduced to anything outside of approved Church material.
- The Sermon on the Mount given to the Nephites in 3 Nephi matches almost exactly to the one given in Matthew, with slight changes. He sets up a church similar to the one set up with Peter. But, the only issue is years later, Joseph Smith writes the JST and corrects different things in the Matthew version of the Sermon. But, if the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth, wouldn’t the writings have been exactly what the Savior meant?
- 2 Nephi 3 - Book of Mormon writes Joseph into the text relating a prophecy given to Joseph in Egypt, saying that a choice seer will be raised up and he will be named the Joseph after his father. 2 Nephi 3: 14-16
- There is a huge time lapse between Jarom and Omni to get us into Mosiah. 399 BC to 130 BC. The prophets basically write nothing and it seems like it’s just a transition to get to Mosiah.
- Ammon chopping off a ton of arms and all the people bring them to the king. The story of Ammon in general is crazy. The King is struck down for 3 days and his wife thinks he is dead. Then, Ammon converts this king who then goes and rescues Ammon’s brothers from another king.
- Other direct copies from the New Testament and Paul specifically found in the Book of Mormon. Moroni 7 is basically the same phrasing and concepts taught in 1 Corinthians 13. 2 Nephi 4:17 says “O wrteched man that I am” matches exactly to Romans 7:24.
- Alma the Younger’s story mirrors Paul the apostles history almost exactly. Both are destroying the church, get struck down by an Angel, go on to become amazing missionaries and even both appear before King’s and wicked people.
- The concepts taught in the Book of Mormon are basically christian. They are practicing Christianity as soon as middle of Mosiah, which is like 100BC. They are baptizing and confirming with the Holy Ghost. However, since Christ hadn’t fulfilled the law of Moses and they should’ve been practicing the Mosaic law. The book contains basically zero Mosaic and Hebrew traditions, which Lehi and his family would have been sharply familiar with. Instead, they practice Christianity before Jesus had even been born or practiced the Atonement.
- Joseph Smith almost never quotes from it. In fact, I’ve searched and searched and only found him reference it maybe once or twice. If this book is so important, shouldn’t it had been quoted from extensively. It doesn’t become a huge focus until basically the 1980s with Ezra Taft Benson started “flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon.” I’ve read Brigham Young’s entire Discourses of Brigham Young and he rarely mentions the Book of Mormon. While this proves very little, it just intensifies the idea to me that Joseph wrote it and did not consider it authentic scripture, even for himself.
- King Zedekiah Problem - The timeline of when Nephi left Jerusalem in the reign of King Zedekiah in preparation for the destruction of Jerusalem. But, King Nebuchednezzar had already invaded Judah twice by 599BC., two years prior to the Book of Mormon. He then Installed Zedekiah (formerly known as Mattaniah) as King of Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:11-18). So what does this mean?
- I will leave out the potential influences here because I do not think they are helpful nor likely to be true source material for the Book of Mormon. I think they are largely speculation and created just to create doubt without much validity or true sources. Do we know if Joseph accessed these works? Not really. But, it’s possible. There are a myriad of other problems with the Book of Mormon when examined scientifically, but that doesn’t really bother me so much. The church has an essay on DNA of Israelites not being in “Lamanite” or native american blood, despite many church leaders preaching that for years. It’s even included in the Book of Mormon title page until like 2006 or something. Additionally, Joseph Smith almost never quotes or teaches from the Book of Mormon. If it’s the most correct book of any on the earth, why is he not basing his sermons off these stories and scriptures?
- The Book of Mormon require that 3 key events from the Bible be literal events: a global flood in the times of Noah that covered the entire earth, Adam and Eve in the garden, and different languages occuring because God cursed people at the Tower of Babel.
- When I read the Book of Mormon, if I view it from a purely protestant view, it matches up doctrinally. In fact, it matches more purely with a presbyterian or methodist view of the atonement and doctrines (including the original trinitarian concepts taught in the Book before changes by Joseph Smith in 1837, eight years after the Book of Mormon was published and his first vision account that mentions God and Jesus being separate beings)
- The Charles Anthon Story is posed as a faith promoting story and prophecy fulfillment of Isaiah 29:11-12, where the learned wouldn’t be able to read a sealed book. So here’s the Church Narrative as found in JSH.
- Once i take off my believing member hat and look at this story objectively, it looks to me like complete and total BS. I am honestly insulted that this was taught and passed off to me as some amazing prophecy of Isaiah that was passed on to me.
- Brigham Young
- Adam-God theory was taught in the temple and considered straight doctrine by the “prophet” Brigham Young.
- Blood Atonement was also taught in the early Utah days
- Brigham taught that no man can receive the highest exaltation without taking on extra wives.
- Brigham young definitely was in approval (either before or after) of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, which is the slaughtering of innocent immigrants heading west. They luckily spared the smallest children and raised them Mormon. He scapegoated John D Lee who suffered the death penalty, despite being rewarded with “wives” by Brigham Young prior to that. Hmmmm
- Blacks and the Priesthood
- So so so many quotes could go under here talking about how black people would never receive priesthood or temple covenants. The list could go on. I don’t need to repeat them all but in the Gospel Topics Essays, the Church disavows all racist teachings from the past.
- Book of Mormon and Abraham still talk about the curse of dark skin. The Lamanites are cursed but then will become “white and delightsome” as they repent (according to Spencer W. Kimball)
- How many prophets were completely wrong on this topic? Even after the Civil Rights movement which was going on 15 years earlier. The Church always seeems to be a step behind.
- Again, I could write a book on how much early leaders emphasized the heavenly requirement for a man to have multiple wives.
- Wilford Woodruff was sealed to like a 200 something wives on his birthday, including a six year old who had passed away. This can be found on FamilySearch
- The leaders of the Church didn’t stop practicing polygamy until around 1910, which is 20 years after the Manifesto, forced upon them by the US Government. This policy change wasn’t inspiration — to was a matter of the Mormons keeping their stuff or not.
- Age of the Earth — Joseph Smith says that the earth has a temporal existence of 7,000 years before it will receive it’s eternal glory. This was a common thought back then and ties back into the Old Testament timeline. I was taught this in Seminary. Going back to Adam and Seth, then to Abraham and to modern day. It all lines up so that the Second Coming will be happening soon.
- Adam + Eve — This one is very hard for me to get past because the proof is indisputable: human life did not begin 6,000 years ago by two human beings. There was physical death long before it was introduced by the partaking of the forbidden fruit. It is fact. To deny it would be like denying that the Earth is round or orbits the Sun. So is this an allegory? Well Joseph Smith down to current general authorities have taught that this is LITERAL. The temple clearly emphasizes this. This is something BIG to get wrong. Considering Joseph Smith taught that it happened in the garden of Eden which was in Missouri.
- Noah’s Ark — This has to be literal as it is in the Book of Mormon as a fact. It’s also been “revealed” to have been a literal, global flood that covered the earth and cleansed the earth of all inhabitants. We also have doctrine in our church that says modern day revelation has confirmed this fact. But, this “story” is largely based on the Babylonian tale “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” It was recorded before the Hebrew Bible recorded the tale of Noah. The stories are earily similar and there are so many throughout other cultures of a great flood. Maybe that makes it more likely? Or maybe it was just a prevailing thought in that time period. Either way, scientific evidence knows that Noah’s Ark never happened because a huge flood never happened. And ask yourself, how in the world would they get all the animals on a boat? Is this really realistic?
- Tower of Babel — This is the genesis of the Jaredites. The Lord was confounding the language of the people, so the Brother of Jared goes and asks that they are spared. Eventually they are led to the Americas (which has a host of other problems). But, this story has to be literal because that’s exactly what’s happening in the Jaredite civilization to lead them to cross the ocean. But language evolved over tens of thousands of years and had nothing to do with a tower in around 2500 BC.
- Evolution — This fact goes along with Adam and Eve. Modern day prophets have disavowed this fact. In fact, Joseph Fielding Smit said “If evolution is true, the church is false” in Doctrines of Salvation, which was written while he was the prophet.
- Sexual Assault Cover Ups - This one is pretty self explanatory. There are hundreds of occasions and the most recent ones in the news are pretty disgusting. The fact that the Church didn’t report, and had systems in place to protect itself rather than the victims, makes me sick.
- First Vision Accounts - In many Church media films and the way I was taught at a young age, Joseph had the first vision and then was mocked by the people of Palmyra for believing in visions. I had not idea that this was not the case. In fact, Joseph never wrote anything down until 1832. The accounts from 1832, 1835, 1838, and 1842 paint a picture of someone who was expanding, molding, and letting this vision evolve. The reasons why he went out to pray in the trees changes. First, it’s to receive a remission of his sins. He also says in that account that he’s already concluded that the church’s of his day are fallen. Then it evolves. He also says the Lord appears. Then it’s angels. Then it’s the Lord and His Father. He mentions that it had never entered his heart that they were all wrong in the Canonized JSH we have in the Pearl of Great Price. But, then he says he already knew they were wrong in earlier versions? In fact, Asa Wild and Norris Stearns have visions in 1815 and 1823 in the same area as Joseph Smith and the verbiage used is similar. Norris Stearns says, “At length, as I lay apparently upon the brink of eternal woe, seeing nothing but death before me, suddenly there came a sweet flow of the love of God to my soul, which gradually increased. At the same time, there appeared a small gleam of light in the room, above the brightness of the sun, then at his meridian, which grew brighter and brighter: As this light and love increased, my sins began to separate, and the Mountain [of sin] removed towards the east. At length, being in an ecstasy of joy, I turned to the other side of the bed, (whether in the body or out I cannot tell, God knoweth) there I saw two spirits, which I knew at the first sight. But if I had the tongue of an Angel I could not describe their glory, for they brought the joys of heaven with them. One was God, my Maker, almost in bodily shape like a man. His face was, as it were a flame of Fire, and his body, as it had been a Pillar and a Cloud. In looking steadfastly to discern features, I could see none, but a small glimpse would appear in some other place. Below him stood Jesus Christ my Redeemer, in perfect shape like a man-His face was not ablaze, but had the countenance of fire, being bright and shining. His Father’s will appeared to be his! All was condescension, peace, and love!”
Ultimately, all of these issues paint a picture, right? The character flaws and mistranslations of Joseph Smith, along with the setting in which he was raised all take away from his prophetic ability. There are more issues that I haven’t even touched on. LGBT issues, the treatment of women, the kinderhook plates, etc. There are more issues touched on in the CES Letter. But, these are things that stick in my mind when I try to imagine believing the Church is true again.
I believe Joseph Smith started writing the Book of Mormon to make money. Then, when it got close to publishing, he decided to start a religion. With the help of Sidney Rigdon, the Church grew and he introduced different aspects of "the Restoration" and eventually the power went to his head.
Being "prophet" brought him three things key for cult leaders. Money. Sex. Power. He got his living taken care of and people built him a house. He had around 40 polygamous wives and preyed on underage girls. He was dubbed king of the world by the Council of the 50 and was Mayor of Nauvoo.
How can I conclude anything other than him being a cult leader? This barely even touches on Brigham and the subsequent prophets that made huge mistakes.
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2023.06.09 14:47 Rhion-618 Just One Drop - Ch 89
Chapter 89 - The Angels Have Chose
Afternoon, Two days before Shel
It was getting near lunch and Tom checked his omni-pad. It seemed as good a time as any to take stock of the day.
…Miv’s right, I’ve been climbing the walls…
There was a text from Bherdin. The IOTC girls were doing well, and would hold up their part to play in the banquet.
…That’s nice. I’d feel guilty as hell if Vedeem weren’t dating a Princess. That kind of evens things up…
And his suit was going to be delivered tonight.
Tom sighed and shook his head. Bherdin was happy as a clam. Whatever it was, it couldn’t be worse than the Warden’s outfit. The little Shil could make you believe in reincarnation, because he definitely had the soul of Liberace. Still, it was only one evening. Surely a state dinner couldn’t be that bad. It was a crowd of scientists and assorted nobility, for goodness sake…
…It’s not the audience I’m worried about…
There was a message from Lamana Duvari. The Interior agent had been cooperative, though he could tell she wasn’t happy about this plan. She was deferring to her Princess, but Duvari favored playing for time. There was just something about sitting back and waiting that didn’t have any appeal…
…She wasn’t the one with a knife in her guts…
That wasn’t fair. Whatever else you could say about the woman, if she’d been asked to trade places, she wouldn’t have hesitated. The woman's dedication was frightening, the more so because she spent most of her day in her disguise as ‘Professor Duvari, Totally Normal Person.’
…Well except for the orchestra. Mel and Kas’lin say she's perfectly at home…
“The woman would probably lend a whole new terror to ‘Ode to Joy.’”
At least she’d followed through, and, gods love her, so had Kzintshki. She’d explained her ability to evade most sensors, but the last three nights she’d slipped out on campus to ‘try something new.’ She’d texted every time, and according to Duvari, the Deathsheads in the bunker missed her every time.
…Whatever she’s doing, it could make all the difference…
The women in the bunker… Like Ce’lani. Things shouldn’t go wrong, but how many times had he said that? Something wasn’t right. The feeling he was missing something loomed over him…
“Fuck it… Time to call Ce’lani.”
He’d promised, and Miv would be gone for hours. Besides, it might make him feel better…
_ _ _
Deep in the Ops room out in the bunker, Sgt Diani perked up from her station. “Captain, you’re not gonna believe this. He’s calling her now.”
“You’re putting me on.” Captain Be’ona felt her eyes grow wide. “The woman can’t string two sentences together when she wakes up.”
“Ummm we’re recording this, aren’t we?” Yala asked from the ground team console.
“She threatened to sodomize me with a lasrifle over breakfast…” Be’ona steepled her fingers and smiled guilelessly. “Oh, Deeps, we are. Document that sucker!”
_ _ _
Miv’eire was a stunning woman. Tall, even for a Shil’vati, she was statuesque, yet elegant. She had poise, and it showed. Sholea was equally striking, though lithe, slim, and feisty.
At 6’2, Tom never thought he’d end up as the short one in the family, but somehow neither woman made him feel that way, and were feminine in the way Shil’vati women usually were. Both women behaved just like Human women, with all their cares and concerns - except when they didn’t. When they didn’t, they really didn’t.
It could be disconcerting to have your attitudes reflected back when you least expected it, but that was their ‘normal.’
Shil’vati men? Well, given the social pressures put on them, they behaved like Human women. Though he’d only met a few before leaving Earth, it was a rule of thumb that worked reasonably well. It applied fairly well to the men working as cooks and waiters at Human Food, and he’d been comfortable with adapting in a way. When in Rome… and the men had made an effort to help him adapt. After all, he was on Shil - the odd man out, in the most literal sense.
That said, there were young men like Aku and Vedeem who seemed to face their worlds in understandable ways. Then again, he’d also come to know Jama. While age had slowed him down, words like ‘notorious’ and ‘brazen’ tended to find their way into his thoughts. There were even a few men about like Bherdin, where worlds like ‘florid’ tended to flounder, unequal to the task… But all of them were at home with their lives. This was their normal, and he was the outsider looking in.
Staring at his omni-pad, he punched in the number, but held off dialing. What did he know about Ce’lani? They’d shared a morning together, and Miv and Lea approved… Once, that would have been difficult to accept. Now?
…it still took getting used to.
There was also the fact that she was military. Not just a Marine, but a Deathshead Commando, and while the difference was lost on him, it mattered. You couldn’t avoid meeting Shil’vati Marines.
Young, dumb, and full of… expectations… young troops were the same everywhere. They universally tended to piss off the locals.
Taken as a whole, it reminded Tom of his time on Okinawa. The governor of the island had been aggressively against the American bases there, and rightly supported policies to stop sexual violence against local women. The most dangerous animals on the island were, after all, several thousand unaccompanied Marines… though it was also rumored his daughter had been caught with a young Airman in the back of a Chevy.
The guy had to be smuggled off the island one night with extreme prejudice.
All of that came home to roost with the Shil’vati occupation. What had gone around had come around, in the form of young, inexperienced, and hopeful girls turned loose on the ‘sex planet.’ They had gone over just as well as anyone should have expected. If anything, Humanity ought to have known better than the Shil, but it was still a shock to the system.
Once the red zones calmed enough to allow the settlement programs to kick in, families had arrived on Earth. Shil’vati, Rakiri, Helkam… by fits and starts, each had started to appear, along with the other more exotic races in the Imperium. For a while, it had turned into a hobby like train spotting, but somehow people found their niches and things got on. The galaxy came calling, and it turned out that people were just people.
The Marines were the problem. Not as individuals, but as young troops out of their depth in a situation they weren’t right for. Not that the Interior was anyone’s choice, even for the Shil, but after a while people got on…
…Well, most did. God, I’m going to miss Cat…
He banished the weight of old memories and focused.
Ce’lani was… well, not a marine, but the thought stuck in his head. Her letter had been hopeful, not young or inexperienced. The music she’d sent along had been thoughtful, expressing her longing, desire, and optimism in a way that touched the heart… presuming she’d understood the words.
Either that or she’d gotten lucky.
Still, taken as a whole, words like ‘daunting’ tried to edge their way into his thoughts. Personally, she was polite, deferential to Miv and Lea, and had already put herself on the line for him more than once. Physically, though… the woman screamed ‘military.’
Ce’lani Tonis was a beautiful woman with a defined chin and piercing gold eyes, though it was difficult not to think of her body first. Once someone threw you over their shoulder and took off at a dead run, it made a lasting impression. Athletic, in the way that you’d say Arnold Schwarzenegger was ‘well defined,’ everything about the woman said ‘focused,’ - though that seemed normal for Shil’vati women.
For better or worse, Ce’lani had focused on him, and Miv and Lea approved. That was how things stood… and he needed to call the uber-girl and make a date.
“Just when I thought it would stop feeling strange…” Tom shook his head and hit the icon to dial.
The omni-pad rang a few times, and Tom was about to give it a miss when the call connected. While he didn’t enable the feature often, she must have had video on…
The uber-girl lay mashed into her pillow, eyes screwed shut as she started to gently snore.
“Ummm... Hi. Ce’lani?” Somehow, her camera lay at an odd angle, barely keeping her in the frame and Tom turned his to match. “Ummm, hello? It’s Tom?”
“Tom…? Tom’zzz cute…” Ce’lani rolled back and snorted once. Part of him considered hanging up, but he lingered in bemused fascination as she carried on talking in her sleep. “All those wommm chazzing... I beat their asses… an… ’e’s cute…”
The polite thing to do would be to hang up and call back later. It wasn’t as if he was going to get anything sorted… Still, it seemed rude not to say something. Besides, if this was recording on her end the least he could do was leave a useful message. “So… would you like to go out for something to eat?”
“Nmm... nice restaurant… does wrestling…” Ce’lani rolled over, her arm flailing at the omni-pad, knocking it askew. “Builds creidszz…”
“Ah…” If she slept during the day, maybe she worked nights. “This seems to be a bad time, so maybe dinner?”
The omni-pad offered a view of the ceiling. “Dinnerz good for wrestling pages…”
“Ok, I’ll set something up.” There was no way not to make this awkward, but if there wasn’t a recording, the worst he could do was call back. “Sweet dreams.”
Shaking his head, he broke the call.
…Alright, maybe not so daunting then… A date won’t be so bad. At least we’ll have something funny to talk about, if it’s humorous from a Shil’vati perspective…
“From a Shil’vati perspective…” The thought stuck in his head, and he punched in a text to Lamana Duvari. ‘Need to meet you this afternoon. Bring cadets. Important.’
Kzintshki did things the Pesrin way. The Shil did things the Shil way… and he’d been approaching this whole banquet from a Human perspective…
And maybe that was all wrong.
_ _ _
As Pathfinder of the Natahss’ja Warband, Sunchaser had known Marakhett since she was a mere kit named M’rast. Admittedly, she was only forty-three Pesh-years older - or five, going by the local calendar - but the years were enough. When she’d started training as a Pathfinder under old Starwise, her mentor instructed her to pay attention to the young kits as well as the adults. They’d be her peers one day and as the future warriors and band mothers of the Woodspirits, knowing them was important. So it was that she remembered Marakhett being born and watched her grow from a kit.
Starwise had lived up to his name. She’d not only learned to deal with other Warbands and the art of contract law, she’d also come to appreciate her family more intimately than most. She knew their strengths and weaknesses. She’d come to appreciate their character as a whole.
She’d been the odd woman out - the social one, though that wasn’t so unusual for Pesrin. Everything back home on Pesh depended on who you knew, who you were related to, who you had or hadn’t eaten… Social ties were everything. The only remarkable thing was that she managed to remain social, coming from a family of dour, uncommunicative, introverted… Well, they were family.
At least if they found it hard to laugh at themselves, she was there to do it for them.
In that respect. Marakhett was everything a bandmother of the Natahss’ja should be. Not without a certain dark and severe sense of humor, but still…
“You’re pulling my asiak.” Sunchaser crossed her arms, her asiak swishing uncertainly.
“I have never pulled your asiak, though if you want amputation…?”
Pathfinder sighed. Naturally, it would be Kzintshki. Talk about the prodigal daughter… “So it’s a brothel? Like… really a brothel?” She pinched the bridge of her nose a moment and rallied. “Well, I suppose if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong, but Mother of Light, there’s such a thing as overcompensation!”
Marakhett stared balefully and groomed her asiak. Sunchaser took the hint.
“Alright, you’re not kidding. Scout me through this from the beginning and stop me when I’m wrong. Your daughter found a boy - a Pesrin boy - in a brothel," Sunchaser supplied helpfully. Marakhett continued grooming. The pause grew longer, but she knew how to wait. After all, Marakhett had come to her…
“You are not speaking.”
“Oh, you just noticed? Because I was hoping that was the point where you were going to stop me.”
Marakhett arched an eyebrow. “Then you must learn to live with disappointment.”
“Daily.” Sunchaser looked at her another moment. Sometimes it was good to remember you loved your family enough to eat them, and some days you wanted to eat them so you didn’t have to remember you loved them. “I see… So this ‘Parst’ is in a brothel. You think she’s getting tied to him?”
“He is the right age… and she is very much in the right season. It is possible.” Marakhett shrugged slightly. Anyone not familiar with her would have missed the gesture. From her, it was positively eloquent, but she unbent slightly. “You are just repeating what we already know. I hoped by the time I returned you’d have found out more about the Rithagian.”
“Don’t get hasty in your middle age - it’s not your style,” Sunchaser snorted. “I’m just laying the trail here. Please tell me you did some scouting? Why don’t you and the other bandmothers just break the boy out? Kzintshki can grab him by the-”
“Of course, I scouted,” Marakhett replied tartly. “That is the problem.”
“Riiiiight… Well, that’s clear as the bottom of a coal mine at midnight.” Sunchaser settled back. Being the extrovert in the family was a penance sometimes, but Marakhett gave her pause. The woman was a careful hunter, but had never been afraid to be the first to use violence. She used it as a tool. Usually as a scalpel and sometimes as a blunt object, but if she said violence wasn’t the answer, it likely wasn’t. This was going to be one of those conversations where she just had to drag the information out. “So you scouted. Are you going to tell me the problem, or just let me guess?”
“The Tide Pool is not merely a brothel. The people work there... Apparently by choice.” Marakhett paused significantly. Sunchaser appreciated the effort, as that was a lot to take in. “The men and women there… and there are more species than I have ever seen… all consider themselves employees. I spoke with four or five and the ones that don't consider themselves ‘entertainers’ for the clients are there as staff. They are all healthy, happy, and abundantly well paid.”
“Well, money can’t buy you happiness, but if that’s true, you could die trying.”
“That is humor?”
“That is an observation,” she replied a bit tartly, turning the matter over in her mind and weighing it against what she’d been able to uncover. “Look, prostitution is a filthy business everywhere we’ve been. Places like that in the Consortium are little better than slave houses, and the Alliance was worse. Men and boys beaten down into lifeless outcasts. No one looks at them as anything but toys until they’re too old or too used up, and then they just get cast aside. Sure, actual slavery is a filthy business, but it’s only illegal because otherwise no man would be safe anywhere! It’s bad enough here with the Silver Suns, but that's better than the Alliance or Consortium. At least the Imperium tries to stop it! You said this place has a lot of money rolling through - if it’s everything you’re saying, then something is going on.”
“So I surmised,” Marakhett said blithely.
Of the Woodspirit’s seven bandmothers, Marakhett was her favorite, but Sunchaser counted to eight, her patience getting thin. “Based on…?”
“The Tide Pool employs Rakiri security, but the staff were armed.” She finished grooming her asiak and let it fall free. “Discreetly, but still…”
Sunchaser parsed that over. An armed staff wouldn’t be easy to subdue. No gang would allow it… and Rakiri? Rakiri were capable fighters and should be respected, if not invited to dinner… but still. Birds flew. Fish swam. They did what they did supremely well and were both good eating. That didn’t make them interchangeable.
“Rakiri don’t make good criminals.” Sunchaser tapped a claw on a bulkhead thoughtfully “It’s just not in their nature.”
Marakhett’s fur arched and settled, displaying she was pleased with herself. “Exactly.”
“So when you say armed, do you mean ‘a little,’ ‘quite’ or ‘very?’”
“My waiter was carrying a knife on a leg strap, and the security women I saw had X-tel GP fives.”
“Flechette pistols?” Sunchaser felt herself staring, despite herself. “Light, those are nasty! Exactly how many ‘staff’ are in this place?”
“I have seen smaller fortresses,” Marakhett said flatly.
“Bigger than the-”
Sunchaser felt her stomach purge as the conversation ground to a halt again. When Marakhett got into monosyllables, that was about it for information. That made it her turn.
“I heard back from Moonwhisper. She’s wed to their bandmale, and he’s on good terms with the male in the Curmoica.” She felt a moment’s gratification as Marakhett winced slightly. As an extrovert stuck in a family of reclusive mercenaries, a little exposition was her best revenge. Still, there was no need to push it. “They confirmed the Rithagian arrived on Shil a year or so after they did… They took a contract with Duchess Elieana - our employer. Funny she’s never mentioned it.”
“I am laughing on the inside.”
“Really? I’d love to cut you open and hear what that sounds like, because thanks to your daughter we find the ‘quiet old commodities trader’ employing us lost a Warband! Not just some of them - the whole family. That means there’s something up with the Duchess on one side and a fortress on the other.” Sunchaser pulled her asiak in raw frustration. “You know what that means?!”
“You undercharged,” Marakhett said archly.
“YES!” Sunchaser wailed, slamming her fist against the wall. It was humiliating, but she had to make the best of it. “Are you and the other bandmother’s going to tell Lathkiar?”
“Our husband? Not at this point.”
“This could involve slavers, violence, kidnapping, and mayhem.”
“Naturally, but Lathkiar is still learning to use his prosthetic leg. Getting us out of Consortium space cost him dearly, and we don’t want him to think he is missing out… or that we’re out of practice.” Marakhett sighed. “Until we can afford something better, he would slow us down. We are not risking him, so the less he hears, the better.”
Somehow, Kzintshki had negotiated actual land for the Natahss’ja, but while land and herds were a fortune for posterity, until the lands were actively worked, they remained a fortune out of reach. In the meantime, every spare credit that wasn’t being put into their ship now had to be plowed into renovations. That included the money set aside to provide Lathkiar with a good prosthetic, but he’d insisted. The savings was far more than he’d earn with work from the Duchess, and Sunchaser nodded grimly, acknowledging his sacrifice. It was something he could do for the family, and no one was going to take that from him.
“Why did you not marry Lathkiar as well?” Marakhett asked. The question caught Sunchaser by surprise.
“I’m a little old for that,” She pondered the idea. Starwise had negotiated well when she brought Lathkiar into the family from the Konjrel. Normally the price for a man like that would break a family for a year, but he was as laconic as Marakhett. They loved each other dearly, but the idea of sharing quarters with them all? Torture. “That's very kind. Marriage may be a wonderful institution, but I don’t want to be institutionalized.”
“Mn.” As usual, Marakhett’s asiak did the talking for her, and Sunchaser leaned in to rub shoulders with her friend.
“So this… Parst?” she asked circumspectly. The sting of undercharging was painful, but a male… on the loose… with no family charging a dowry for him? Now that was a bargain! “Good looking boy, is he?”
“I can possibly see the attraction,” the bandmother shrugged.
“You threatened him?” she asked mildly. It was an unusual situation, but there were the formalities to consider.
“Yes.” She nodded briefly, “Appropriate to his situation.”
“Good, good… and Lathkiar might like having a young male to bring into the family.” Sunchaser desperately wanted to rub her hands together, but a Pathfinder should never display greed - just embrace it. “It would be good for the family. The girls are getting older and you know Cahliss would be thrilled to have a share of him. Ptavr'ri doesn't get on well with Kzintshki, but she’ll either adjust to being third or go without.”
“I can’t say I don’t agree with you.” Coming from Marakhett, that was practically a manifesto. The woman’s asiak actually perked with joy. If she had a least favorite bandwife it was Harasf, and Ptavr’ri was her daughter. Despite her unusual choice of a Human hahackt, Kzintshki had brought the family land. If she brought home a male, her place as the next bandmother would be uncontested by her bandsisters - including Harasf and Ptavr’ri.
“Who are we to stand in the way of true love? It’s been so long since we’ve had a wedding… It will do the family good, since we’re so far from home,” Sunchaser said firmly, setting her thoughts in order. There was still a great deal to find out about the Rithagian, but they were niblifos. Not enemies, but certainly not allies… Besides, any distant branches didn’t even know about the boy! “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
Marakhett nodded thoughtfully. “If he has no family, who do we eat?”
_ _ _
Bherdin D’saari watched Jeidri Shel’ara expectantly. As a Cadet Senior Agent in the IOTC, she’d proven over the last week she could be driven, demanding, and determined. While polite and properly deferential to him, she’d battered down barriers to anything less than perfection in her troops, and was ready to face the worst things the galaxy had to offer.
He sniffed at the waste… In another life she would have made a fabulous maître d'. As it was, she made a marvelous test subject for his latest dessert!
“That is absolutely the most disgusting thing I have ever seen,” she breathed in horrid fascination as Vedeem picked up one of the rectangular mounds. Industrial brown goo discharged suggestively from the sides, but what really captured the eye was the sticky mass oozing out the sides.
Cadet Agent Vandra Elidre leaned in for a closer look before turning pale. “I’m going to be sick.”
Still, none of them made a dash for the bathroom or had the option to refuse. Bherdin appreciated that, since Vedeem was handing them out… Over the last week, his son had truly come into his own, training them day after day… And if that wasn’t enough, who cared!? He was the Princess’ boyfriend! What could they say?
“What in the sweet goddess’ name is that?” Cadet Agent Prindi Ama’dis prodded at hers with horrified fascination, moving it about on the plate, before pulling it apart. A visceral horror crept over her features as the white morass dribbling down, clinging suggestively in ropey white tendrils. “You know what this looks like?”
Vedeem D’saari grinned cheerfully and picked up his own. “Like porn on Shel morning?” One long entrail dribbled suggestively. “Don’t worry! The best things in life are a little sticky!”
Bherdin felt a warm glow of pride in his son. He’d come so far, so fast.
Vedeem smiled compassionately at the girls. Even in their distress, none of them were willing to show weakness… They watched in horror as he picked up his piece and bit deeply. Thick goo surged from the crust, coating one tusk.
Prindi Ama’dis looked like she was going to faint.
“They’re called a ‘s’mores.’ Just try a nibble, please? For me…? Surely, you’re not afraid, are you?” Vedeem tried wiping the sticking mass from his mouth. It trailed away on one fingertip. He gave them a winsome smile. “This can't be the messiest thing you’ve thought of with a boy?”
“I…” Jeidri was withering. Vandra looked at her for moral support as Prindi started to wheeze. As the senior cadet, she seemed to be fortifying herself… just as her omni-pad rang. Snatching the unit from her belt, she held it like a talisman. “I’ve got to get this! Vandra! You try it!”
Well, you couldn’t win them all over at once… A love of fine cuisine didn’t come to everyone naturally.
Jeidri’s lower lip quivered, but she picked up the square and gulped. “What… um… what's in it?”
“The brown stuff is chocolate. It’s a vegetable… sort of.” Vedeem ran a fingertip along his own. She and Prindi watched, spellbound… If some savages simply couldn’t appreciate good food, what was one to do? Still, there came a time for selling yourself, and at last Vedeem was learning!
“Umm…. sort of?” Prindi asked nervously.
“Don't worry, I’m sure big girls like you can get a handle on it…” Vedeem’s tongue snaked out and wound around the brown-coated finger suggestively.
“A-and umm… and the… the white stuff?” Vandra whispered horsely.
“Marshmallow…” Vedeem smiled sinfully at the pair… Bherdin couldn't be more proud. All his son needed was a bit more fashion counseling and nothing would stand in his way! The universe would deliver itself to him on a platter!
Of course, first they still needed a test. Some people just had inexplicable tastes.
“Alright…” Prindi and Vandra shared a look and took a bite…
Jeidri Shel’ara hung up on her omni-pad, suddenly all business. “Girls, that was a call from… umm… anyway, we have to get back to the campus at once!”
The cadets looked like they’d found their way to Shil’s own bedroom.
“Oh, thweet ghothess…” Vadra said as she gobbled it down. “Thif if the beft fing I’f ever thafted!”
“Well, of course it is!” Bherdin exclaimed before checking his reflection. As hard as it was to believe, some people just didn’t understand the things an artist had to endure!
Diani brayed like a turox when she laughed, but at least the girls enjoyed themselves. Yala was wiping tears from her eyes when Be’ona turned off Tom’s monitor. She hadn’t laughed outright…
Well, maybe a bit.
“Right. Eyes back on the job!” she rumbled. Diani was still snickering, but they had a job to do and Be’ona nodded as the sergeant ran a status check on her board. They had a sacred trust, and while breaks in the monotony kept you sharp, they couldn’t become actual distractions.
The board was clear. Princess Khelira was just settling down to lunch with her friends…
“Ma’am? Captain To’nis still has her wake-up call for four?” Diani settled back. “Same as every day, right?
“Mmhmm…” A pod leader should not laugh at their peers in front of the grunts… Be’ona stomped on the chuckle as it threatened to escape and throttled it.
Diani glanced over her shoulder. “Yala? Five credits says she doesn’t remember a thing.”
“Sergeant, that is unkind…” She pulled up the maintenance check from Pod Eight. “I’ll make it twenty. Grow a pair or go home.”
It was good for morale.
_ _ _
It was barely noon and Desi was already worn out.
The files on Earth were starting to blur together every night, but she dug in and kept careful track. Still, the late nights were taking their toll. Even lunch had taken on an aspect of grim determination over the last week, and while it had been useful, Desi missed the days when it was just the carefree banter that started the year. She wouldn't trade her friendship with Melondi for anything, but the revelation had changed everything.
Well, alright, Kzintshki would have shown up anyway, and she seemed impervious to change. She certainly wasn’t what Desi’d imagined a ‘sister’ to be. The Pesrin was seated next to her, prodding the tosip out of the baked goara from today's menu with deep suspicion.
“So, I want to bring something up…” Jax’mi cleared her throat. Desi nodded as the other girls all looked over at Melondi. They knew what was coming, and just now their Princess had her mouth full. “It’s about the calendar.”
Mel... Khelira… was good at reading body language, but Desi suspected the whole table staring at her gave it away. Well, except for Kzintshki. She’d started prying bits of fish from the sauce and took a moment to catch on… Jax didn’t waste time and dove right in.
“I know you’ve been wondering about the news on the calendars… Umm…well, that and one or two other things. I sort of rolled part of the money into another product. You know that Rubik’s thing? I sort of passed that off through my cousin, and we have an offer to market the ‘Chel’xa Block,’ but…” Melondi was trying to finish her bite, so Jax pressed ahead. “Well, anyway, taking out the seed money for the printing and my uncle’s one percent cut for the marketing… ummm… They sold out the first and second runs, and we have an offer to do another.”
“Okay…” Mel bit her lip and frowned at the attention. “How much money is that, and why are you all looking at me?”
“Wellll… We got around a credit per calendar, and my uncle said it sold nearly as well as something called a ‘sports illustrated’ edition… We got an offer from them, by the way, once he mentioned the diving team…”
Melondi had gotten used to eating through unexpected news and started picking at her pippiya. “How much?”
Jax bit her lip. “Allowing for the conversion rate?”
“Fine… allowing for that?” Mel canted her head, looking at Jax’mi warily.
“For both runs?” Jax shrugged. “Around eight hundred thousand credits.”
Melondi dropped her pippiya “What!? For… For pictures of us in bikinis!? That’s… that’s…”
Jax nonchalantly flipped a long wavy lock of silver hair over one shoulder. “The most successful school fundraiser ever!!!”
Jax looked smug, but Desi decided to get things back on track, “The point is, we wanted to talk to you about the money, Mel. We’ve all talked it over, and we’re setting it aside for you.”
“I was going to say preposterous, but why for me?” Mel looked at her, as confusion replaced consternation. “Desi? I think you all know I’m… umm… ‘socially secure.’ We were going to split that... I mean, back when we thought it would just be fun money, but this? I don’t understand. Why would you give it to me?”
“It’s not giving it to you, Mel.” Pris leaned forward, “Well, not as such. It’s more like setting it aside… We need to give some to the school, but we ran it through Dihsala…”
Dihsala pushed her tray away and made a face. “What they’re trying to say is you might need money that can’t be traced.”
“I don’t understand?” Mel said flatly, though there was a defensive note in her voice and Desi suspected she understood perfectly.
“What if you have to run? What if this banquet goes badly?” Dihsala waved a hand briefly at the table, taking everyone in. “We know you don’t want to hear this, but if it’s life or death, you may need to disappear for a while.”
“It’s not like your face is known by the press, but word wouldn’t take long,” Lark pointed out with a nod. “Not if the Palace made an announcement, or your identity was blown.”
Kzintshki stabbed some tosip on one fork, examining it critically. “If the people stalking you decided it helped them flush you out, they’d do so in a minute.”
“They’re right…” Nestha nodded. “My mothers toe the line when the Palace wants something silenced, but if it got totally out in the open, even they’d try and take the lead. Every news outlet and pundit would be offering up something on the data-net.”
“We decided to create a fund to make that happen, if it needs to.” Jax’mi lowered her voice. “My family has a few ships here on Shil. We could get you off-world.”
“My family on Wilist would take you in,” Belda nodded. “There are all kinds of places you can disappear, out on the ranch.”
“Or maybe farther,” said one of the twins. “Mara and I were thinking about Earth. If we asked, maybe the Painters could take you on their ship?”
“I could fool people for a few days… At least the ones off campus,” Desi whispered as she reached out to take Melondi’s hand. “If I slept in your room and we let Vedeem in on it, maybe I could throw them off and give you a head start.”
“I appreciate it... All of you,” Mel looked down at her plate. Her hands fluttered a moment before she clasped them together. “But no, I’m not running away from this. How would this look if I ran at the first sign of danger?”
“The first sign of danger was in the library,” Pris’ voice was full of compassion, but her words made sense. Desi was about to chime in when Mel put her foot down.
“No! I know you’re thinking of me, but what kind of person cuts and runs like that?” Melondi glowered. “Kzintshki, you aren’t Shil’vati. What would it look like to your people? How could I live with myself like that?”
“Easily another fifty years... Longer if you can make money posing in skin suits.” The Pesrin girl frowned. “A Bandmother would not run, but that is different… We are surrounded by family.”
“You’re my family…” Mel said wretchedly before drawing in a long breath. “I… look, you’ve all taken risks for me, and I know you don't want that to be for nothing, but I'm not running away. I couldn't respect myself. Thank you… but no matter what happens, I am not doing that.”
“We had to offer…” the other twin… that would be Kas’lin, reached out for the bread tray. “Anyway, it wouldn’t have been so bad if you went to Earth. We want to know what a ‘rolls’ is.”
“A what?” It was a non-sequitur, but Desi grabbed it like a lifeline. Melondi was embarrassed… That was something a Princess couldn’t afford, and changing the topic was something they could all do for her. “Why don’t you ask the Painters? We’ve barely seen you since they landed… As if we didn’t know why…”
“They’re our heroes!” Mara protested, but she was turning bluer by the second.
“And it would be embarrassing!” Lin nodded. “We’re going to ask the Professor but yeah, we’ve been kept… umm…”
“We’ve had lots of… of intellectual discussions!” Mara nodded a touch frantically. “And you should see the modifications to their ship! It has a magnificent sch-”
“We get it!” The table crowed with laughter as the twins stammered into silence.
“Look, I know we’ve all been under a lot of pressure…” Melondi said tentatively. “Why don’t we have movie night tonight, then go out for a drink tomorrow?”
“What, out in town?” Let’zi spoke up. “Is that safe?”
“We all could use a break. Maybe it’s a good idea, as long as we’re careful. We’ve all been busy,” Desi offered, turning the idea over in her head. It might be good practice impersonating Mel one more time… “Even Kzintshki has been disappearing at night.”
“I have been engaged on your behalf.” Kzintshki started prodding a pippiya apart, scooping out the insides. And picking them apart with a claw. “I have tested evading the sensors. I am told it was satisfactory.”
“What, in your skin suit?” Belda started blushing as she asked.
“In... somewhat less.” Kzintshki’s asiak twitched once. “It was necessary.”
…Less? Less than a bikini? But that meant…
“But… umm… it’s cold out,” Desi stammered as a hush fell over the girls. “Didn’t you freeze your tits off?”
“Pesrin are naturally adaptable… and it’s only forty out. In the skin suit, I am virtually invisible to sensors. ‘Virtually’ may not be enough, this Shel. It required field tests.” Kzintshki’s asiak slipped out of sight and focused on her pippiya as if it was the most important thing in the universe. “It was late. I was not seen.”
“I… I have nothing for that…” Desi found herself staring back to Melondi. The entire table was a sea of blue, now.
“Um, I realize I haven’t asked…” Melondi looked back at her for help, and Desi shrugged. There was no telling with Kzintshki sometimes. “I know why everyone else is helping me. They’re Shil’vati, but you’re a Pesrin. This has to be more than just impressing Professor Warrick as your…?”
“Hahackt. That matters… particularly if I am to engage a mate…” Kzintshki drew herself up, though she glanced about furtively. “Though if you take more pictures in skin suits, I wish to join in. Pesrin are not against easy money.”
“You can have my place!” Belda offered fervently. “I’m going to be a married woman… well, eventually! Liam might not like it if I did it again.”
“There has to be more to it than that,” Melondi asked softly. “This means a great deal to me, so really… anything at all, please just name it.”
“Anything?” Kzintshki set aside the pippiya and picked up her asiak, grooming it modestly. “There is, perhaps, one thing.”
“Name it,” Melondi said. Desi knew the tone... It was her friend sitting there, but Khelira was doing the talking.
“Very well. Immunity from prosecution. From now until the end of Shel.” Kzintshki canted her head, as if issuing a challenge. “You are all nobles… I may be one now, but I am not Shil’vati. If you are caught, it is one thing. If I am caught… as improbable as that may be…”
“Done.” Melondi nodded sharply and raised her voice, “You have my word, as… what I am… before witnesses, and probably being recorded… Immunity from prosecution. A full Imperial pardon for until the end of this Shel.”
“Well, Deeps!” Dihsala breathed. “As long as you’re offering…?”
“Count me in for that!” Pris nodded. “My mother was a magistrate. If I get expelled, she’ll kill me and they’ll never find the body!”
“Alright, fine!” Khelira, Princess of the Shil’vati Imperium had spoken… but Desi saw her friend Melondi… At least until she had to stifle a yawn.
“So, movie night tonight?” Melondi offered. “We still need to pick a film for next week’s class.”
“Oh! Great Waldo’s Peeper has a cute guy named Redford in it,” Kas’lin piped up with a grin. “He’s sexy!”
“The one from Star Wars?” Let’zi cocked her head and perked up. “I like him!”
“That’s Harrison Ford. This one is Redford… though his hair isn’t red…”
Desi looked around the table at her friends as they started to talk about movies. There was no telling what the Shel would bring, but all the same? Life went on…
At least for one more day.
submitted by Rhion-618
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2023.06.09 05:09 ShaneKaiGlenn Christianity makes a lot more sense when you realize Jesus was preaching nondual awareness
I've long thought there is a wide chasm between the teachings of Jesus and the mainstream interpretation of Jesus in popular Christianity. When I've read the teachings directly attributed to Jesus, they don't often align with what mainstream churches of all denominations promote.
I've gone to church nearly every Sunday for 12 years, but I still chafe at identifying myself as "Christian" largely because of this. In church dogma, the only way to be "Christian" is to accept Jesus as some sort of medication one takes for salvation and eternal life. This is absurd to me, and doesn't align with my read of "Jesus parts" of the Gospels.
In seems to me that mainstream Christianity is a religion ABOUT Jesus instead of a religion OF Jesus. And that is apparent in the message every sunday, across denominations. I've attended Catholic masses, Baptist services, Presbyterian services, and they all suffer from the same thing... They rarely ever speak of the PHILOSOPHY of Jesus... you know, the actual teachings he dedicated his ministry to spreading, but rather presenting him as some sort of ticket to Heaven... "Just BELIEVE he dies for your sins and rose again and you'll hitch a ride to eternal life, don't worry!"
This seems such a trite form of spirituality... a transactional one based on a reluctance to let go of one's ego because "death" is the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone.
Throughout my life I've studied various religious traditions, as well as spent a lot of time learning about consciousness and sociology. I won't deny that I've found many of the philosophies of Eastern traditions to be the most beneficial in terms of finding and sharing peace in this often chaotic world.
Interestingly, these perspectives of nondual awareness are present in every major religion, but often strangled by the literalist/fundamentalist elements in the Abrahamic traditions: Sufism in Islam, Kaballah in Judaism, Gnosticism in Christianity.
But in my opinion, the Gospels truly come to life in a real way when you read them through the lens of Jesus as a teacher of nondual awareness.
There is a great podcast called "The Tao of Christ" by Marshall Davis that does an excellent job of untangling a lot of this. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tro26z1_rgA&t=2s
The two greatest commandments as stated by Jesus are found in the Gospel of Matthew 22:37-40:
- "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."
- "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The first commandment speaks to a total devotion and love for God. In a non-dualistic context, God is not seen as an entity separate from oneself but is the very essence of existence, including one's own being. Therefore, to love God with all one's heart, soul, and mind is essentially to love one's own true, non-dual nature. It's about recognizing and loving the divine essence in oneself and in all of existence.
The second commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself", inherently points to a non-dualistic understanding of the world. In the realm of duality, there is a clear separation between "you" and "your neighbor". However, in non-dual philosophy, the self and the other are one and the same. This commandment instructs one to love others as oneself because, in the ultimate reality, there is no separation – the self and the other are one.
In the context of non-duality, these commandments can be seen as a call to realize the inherent unity of existence, to see beyond apparent separations, and to live from a place of love and compassion for all.
- "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) This statement can be seen as nondual in that Jesus is expressing a oneness or unity with God, suggesting no separation between the divine and the self.
- "The kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21) If interpreted from a nondual perspective, this phrase implies that the divine (the kingdom of God) is not separate or external from oneself, but instead is inherent within one's own being.
- "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5) In this metaphor, Jesus is expressing a unity or oneness between himself and his followers, suggesting a nondual relationship in which no true separation exists.
- "All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them." (John 17:10) Jesus is speaking of the disciples, indicating a lack of distinction between what is 'his' and what is 'God's', highlighting an understanding of nondual ownership and existence.
- "So that they may be one, as we are one." (John 17:22) Here Jesus is praying that his disciples may be one, just as he and the Father are one, further expressing the theme of unity and oneness.
Not to mention the Beatitudes read like Zen Koans.
Sadly, this perspective is so often diminished in modern culture, and instead we are left with a mangled religion about "Zombie Jesus" that is most often used by powerful forces to divide the masses and oppress the marginalized, which in my opinion is a complete subversion of Jesus' message.
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2023.06.07 21:05 Dr_GIR New entrance at First United Presbyterian Church in works to repair damage by vehicle
2023.06.07 19:58 AutoNewspaperAdmin [Local] - New entrance at First United Presbyterian Church in works to repair damage by vehicle Pgh Tribune-Review
2023.06.07 19:54 AutoNewsAdmin [Local] - New entrance at First United Presbyterian Church in works to repair damage by vehicle
2023.06.07 16:38 squeeeeenis Cape Coral Spiritual Community Directory: Embracing Diversity and Faith in Unity
Christian Churches in Cape Coral:
Jewish Synagogues in Cape Coral:
- Abundant Life Christian Center
- Cape Coral First Assembly of God
- Cape Coral United Methodist Church
- Cape Coral Vineyard Church
- First Baptist Church of Cape Coral
- First Presbyterian Church of Cape Coral
- Grace Church, Cape Coral Campus
- New Life Community Church
- St. Andrew Catholic Church
Muslim Mosques in Cape Coral:
- Cape Coral Hebrew Center
- Temple Beth El
Hindu Temples in Cape Coral:
- Islamic Society of Cape Coral
Buddhist Centers in Cape Coral:
- Hindu Temple of Cape Coral
Other Places of Worship in Cape Coral:
- Cape Coral Buddhist Center
- Cape Coral Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
- Unity of Cape Coral
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2023.06.06 17:21 ArthurDrakoni Riordan Retrospective: Daughter of the Deep
Welcome once again to my Riordan Retrospective. For those of you just joining the fun, this is my look back at the works of Rick Riordan. That means Percy Jackson, its sequels, and spin-offs. This is less of a formal review and more of a relaxed look back.
Last time, we finished our look back at The Trials of Apollo
with a look back at The Tower of Nero
. We thought that we’d said goodbye to the worlds of Rick Riordan. Little did we know that a new book was about to surface. As such, we’re taking a look back at Daughter of the Deep
Ana Dakkar is about to finish her freshman year at Harding-Pencroft Academy. It is a five-year academy specializing in marine science. She, and her nineteen classmates, are about to begin their freshmen trials. Harding-Pencroft holds its students very high standards. However, before they can take off, the school is destroyed by a series of sonic torpedoes. The remaining students and professors of Harding-Pencroft regroup aboard their yacht the Varuna. Ana discovers several major revelations. Jules Verne’s novels 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
and The Mysterious Island
were based on actual events. Captain Nemo was indeed a real person, and Ana is his direct descendant. In fact, the whole point of Harding-Pencroft Academy is to safeguard Nemo’s legacy and technology. Their next stop is Lincoln Island, the final resting place of Nemo and the Nautilus
. But danger lurks around every corner as the survivors of Harding-Pencroft are hunted by their old rivals: Land Academy.
Well, it looks like we’re back sooner than I expected. I thought we’d be back for that Irish Mythology book Rick said he was planning. However, that seems to have been put on the back-burner. Daughter of the Deep
apparently has been a long time coming. Way back in 2009, Disney executives asked Rick what Disney property he would want to write a book based on. It could be anything he wanted. He chose 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
, as the 1954 film adaptation is one of his favorite movies. Technically, Disney only owns the rights to the movie, not the original book. The original Verne novel has long since slipped into the public domain. I’m tempted to think that Rick was, at least somewhat, trolling the executives.
I actually went back and watched the 1954 movie adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
. I agree with Rick here. The movie is, I must say, a truly underrated gem among live-action Disney films. In fact, I might even give it its own review at some point. Now, the movie does take some liberties with the source material. Though, personally, I’d say that was to its benefit, as it made for a more engaging story that worked better in film. Verne was known for doing a lot of research with his novels, and often devoted entire paragraphs to explaining the science in detail. Unfortunately, this does make for a rather dry reading experience. I’ve heard Verne works better in the original French, but that is a language I do not speak. Amusingly, students at Harding-Pencroft are required to read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
and The Mysterious Island
. Ana found them both to be a bit dry for her taste. I myself enjoyed The Mysterious Island
slightly more than 20,000 Leagues
, but it still suffered from many of the same issues.
I’ve heard a few people wonder what it might be like if Rick Riordan were to write a science fiction novel. Well, we now have our answer. We know more about the surface of the Moon than we do our own deep oceans. Twelve people have walked on the surface of the Moon, but only two have ever been to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Ocean-based science fiction is still comparatively rare compared to space-based or terrestrial-based science fiction. So, I’m glad to see that Daughter of the Deep
tapped into some of the vast potential of ocean-based science fiction.
Now, I should probably clarify that Daughter of the Deep
is set outside of the Riordanverse. Rick has confirmed that it takes place in its own self-contained world. So, don’t expect to see any cameos from Percy, Annabeth, or any other Riordanverse characters. Still, it is similar enough in terms of style to a typical Riordanverse novel, and thus, I’ve chosen to include it as part of the retrospective.
Speaking of style, let’s begin there. Rick has said he took a film writing course before he wrote Daughter of the Deep
. That is very apparent in how the prose itself is written. It reads very much like a movie script. The narration is presented in first-person present tense. This helps add to the sense of action and urgency as the plot movies along. The pacing also feels very much like what you might find in a movie. We got a lot of action scenes in quick succession. We get the usual info dumps, but we don’t really take as much time for introspection. As we’ll discuss a bit later, this lack of introspection was very much to the book’s detriment. I’m willing to bet that all this is very much by design. Daughter of the Deep is being adapted into a movie on Disney+. In fact, the movie was announced even before the book came out. So, it certainly feels like Rick wrote Daughter of the Deep
with an eye towards the movie adaption.
I would have liked if we had gotten to explore Harding-Pencroft Academy a bit more before it got destroyed. What brief glimpses we do see are utterly fascinating. The students are all decided into four different houses based on their area of study. Yeah, they’ve heard all the Harry Potter
jokes plenty of times. Though, personally, when I saw the initials HP in an ocean-themed book, I briefly wondered if Rick Riordan was going to tackle the Lovecraft Mythos. Back on topic, the houses are Dolphin, Shark, Cephalopod, and Orca. Dolphin focuses on communications, exploration, cryptography, and counterintelligence. Shark handles command, combat, weapons systems, logistics. Cephalopod deals with engineering, applied mechanics, innovation, and defensive systems. Orca is all about medicine, psychology, education, marine biology, and communal memory. If you’re wondering about that last one, it basically means the history of Harding-Pencroft and Captain Nemo.
One of the things I appreciated was that each of the four main characters is from a different house. One of my gripes about Harry Potter
is that pretty much all the important characters come from Gryffindor. Well, unless they’re a villain, and come from Slytherin. Ravenclaw had Luna and Cho, I guess, but Hufflepuff got the short end of the stick for sure. Getting back on track, having the four main protagonists of Daughter of the Deep
be from different houses provided a theme that everyone has something unique to bring to the table. You can also see it as advocating for multiculturalism, but without being preachy about it. However, I do have on criticism. House Orca needed a better name. Orcas are a type of dolphin, the largest, in fact. We’ve got representatives for mammals, fish, and mollusks. How’s about giving some love to the reptiles? Personally, I would have named them House Sea Turtle instead. Or failing that, show some love to the echinoderms, and name them House Seastar. House Sea Cucumber would also work. Don’t give me that look! Sea cucumbers are noble animals and wonders of nature.
I do wish that we’d gotten to see more of Harding-Pencroft before it was destroyed. What brief glimpses we do get are utterly fascinating. As you might expect, they have quite an expansive aquarium full marine creatures. Upperclassmen train in submarine simulations using full-size mock-up submarines submerged in deep pools. However, the most fascinating class is one where students get to consider, and theorize, about the ways technology and science might have developed had history gone differently. As a major fan of alternate history I have but one thing to say: sign me up now! Well, its actually there as a way to slowly ease the students into learning the truth about Captain Nemo and his inventions. Still, sounds like a very fun class to take. I also liked how the various sections of the school are named after famous ocean explorers. There’s one part named after the Chinese navigator Zheng He, and one named after the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton.
I thought all of the diving scenes were particularly well-written. Rick Riordan has a true passion for scuba diving. This really shines through during the diving scenes. I also really like how the diving suits all use jet-propulsion that mimics the siphons of cephalopods. That was a really creative touch.
Okay, let’s talk about the characters. Ana is the protagonist, but I want to save her for last. We’ll start with her roommates, and best friends, Nelinha and Ester. Nelinha da Silva grew up in an orphanage in Rio de Janeiro, but got to attend Harding-Pencroft on a scholarship. She’s also the closest the series gets to referencing Percy Jackson and the Olympians
. I can best describe Nelinha as what would happen if Charles Beckendorf and Silena Beauregard were to have a kid. And, you know, if they were still alive. She’s a complete mechanical genius, and geeks out over machines and engine parts. She’s a member of House Cephalopod, naturally. However, she is also obsessed with fashion, and always makes sure to look her best at all times. Nelinha doesn’t just pack outfits, she packs entire wardrobes.
One of my prior complaints about Rick Riordan is that he only seems to know how to write one type of female character. Namely, he seems to believe that being a strong female character means being a tomboy who hates all things girly. So, it was nice to see Nelinha as a course correction on that front. Nelinha being from Brazil is likely a nod to how popular Rick Riordan’s books are in Brazil. So, I’m sure Brazilian fans were excited to finally get a Brazilian main character.
On the flipside, we also get Ester Harding. She’s a member of House Orca. She is a blood relative of one of the founders of Harding-Pencroft. She is also the first autistic character in a Rick Riordan book. I’m still bitter about how he wrote a Muslims character before he wrote an autistic character. In the Riordanverse, anyone can be a demigod, unless you’re autistic, it would seem. I had high hopes for Ester. You don’t see autistic girls too often in the media. Riordan has said that he got sensitivity readers to help him with writing characters from different cultural backgrounds. However, it would seem none of them offered insight into autistic people. It almost feels like Riordan watched a couple episodes of The Good Doctor
and was like “I got this!” You know those TikTok clips of that guy having a temper tantrum while shouting “I am a surgeon!” Yeah, that’s The Good Doctor
. It was another show I had high hopes for, but fell back on stereotyping autistic people. Don’t get me started on my problems with The Good Doctor
, we’ll be here all day.
Anyway, Ester displays a number of stereotypical traits. She yo-yos between being basically non-verbal, and shouting at the top of her lungs. She does this all in a robotic monotone voice. In contrast to Nelinha, Ester has basically no fashion sense, and seems to be going for the long-lost daughter of Albert Einstein look. Ester also doesn’t have much in the way of common sense, and though it never comes up, she’s probably Jewish. Not too many gentiles name Ester. She’s got an excellent memory, to the point of being almost eidetic, but that’s somewhat accurate. Well, maybe not eidetic, but most autistic people do often have amazing memories. How do you think I’m about to write these retrospectives?
Ana briefly remarks about how some people claim that autistic people can’t feel love or other emotions, and that Ester proves this isn’t true, due to how empathetic she is. Again, this is true, as autistic people can be quite empathetic. Though, I can’t help but wonder if Disney specially made Rick insert that line to cover their asses. See, this isn’t the first time Disney has tackled autism. There was an episode of Girl Meets World
about how we should all be nice to autistic people. All well and good, but they also claim that autistic people are incapable of experiencing emotions, including love.
Gemini Twain has been assigned as Ana’s bodyguard. He’s a no-nonsense member of House Shark. He’s also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints. This is certainly an interesting choice, as Gemini is also Black. Historically, Mormons haven’t exactly gotten along well with Black people. Or Native Americans, or Polynesians, or…well, pretty much anybody who isn’t White. The most infamous instance was when Mormon schools refused to desegregate. The American government threatened to revoke their tax exemption status, but wouldn’t you know it, Mormon God rather conveniently changed his mind about Black people. Though, Gemini’s faith doesn’t really come up that much. He doesn’t like swearing or taking the lord’s name in vein, and he mentions his grandma raised him and his brother in the LDS church, but that’s about it. Well, he did get into a minor scuffle with Nelinha. Gemini’s brother went on his mission trip to Brazil, and Gemini assumed Nelinha would know his brother, because she’s from Brazil.
Well, nice touch having one of the non-White characters be flawed enough to be accidentally racist. I remember back in The Hammer of Thor
retrospective when I said, paraphrased, “A Muslim demigod? What’s next, a Mormon demigod?” I have on occasion wondered if Rick Riordan reads these retrospectives. Probably a long shot, but you never know.
Technically, there is a fifth main character: the Nautilus
itself. It took until about halfway through the book before the Nautilus
showed up. Yeah, this book has some pacing issues. The Nautilus has what can best be described as an artificial intelligence system. Also, apparently it also includes some organic components. As you might imagine, it is extremely untrustworthy of anyone who isn’t a blood relative of Prince Dakkar, aka Captain Nemo. So, Ana’s biometrics are key to unlocking the Nautilus.
Unfortunately, the Nautilus
also highlights one of the issues I had with the book. Apparently, every major invention of the 20th Century was a result of Harding-Pencroft discreetly releasing them to the public. That, or Land Institute stealing them. This caused Daughter of the Deep
to evoke the Great Man Theory of History. The theory goes that society gets stuck in ruts until a great man, and it’s always a man, shakes up the status quo and moves the world forward. This view has largely fallen out of favor with mainstream historians. Most historians emphasis how the changes were put into motion, often by complex chains of influences, long before the supposedly great men came about.
You do kind of get this with the main Riordanverse, where pretty much anyone who did anything was either a demigod or a magician. However, that was softened by just how many demigods and magicians there were throughout history. So, it felt more like a team-effort. By contrast, Daughter of the Deep gave us a single scientific übermensch who, apparently, leapfrogged from steam-power to cold fusion reactors. Now, granted, this is also true of Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
. Still, maybe Rick shouldn’t have depicted Nemo in such a lock, stock, and barrel sort of way.
And that segues into my next point. Harding-Pencroft is deathly afraid of letting the general public get access to Nemo’s technology. They only release technology sparingly, and only when they feel humanity has earned it. Uh, and what metric do they use to determine how worthy humanity is? Beats me, the book offers no details. The adults all make a big deal about how corporations would try to monopolize Nemo’s technology, but nobody ever suggests releasing it as open-source tech. Well, I know the real reason for that. There’s no way that Disney, the poster boy for copyright abuse, is going to be advocating for open-source. A particularly facepalm worthy moment is that fact that Harding-Pencroft refuses to release cold fusion technology…despite climate change being a serious issue! The book would have you believe Harding-Pencroft are the good guys. However, I’m tempted to think Land Institute had a point about Harding-Pencroft being corrupt and selfish.
Hey, wait a minute. Harding-Pencroft is a secretive organization that is very selective of its membership. It trains its students so that, effectively, they’re cut-off from the outside world. They indoctrinate their students from a young age into their views. They have charismatic leaders and founders. Yikes, I hope the cafeteria never served Kool-Aid! Harding-Pencroft is a cult!
It would seem that Harding-Pencroft has something akin to the Prime Detective from Star Trek
. There has been a lot of debate about the morality of the Prime Detective. The main thinking seems to be don’t give advanced weaponry to civilizations that aren’t morally mature. The Original Series
also says that it is okay to break the Prime Directive if a planet is in imminent danger. Contrast this with Next Generation
, where one episode has Captain Picard dithering about if he should save a planet, even if it break the Prime Directive. Of course, the worst offender was Voyager
. It had an episode where the moral was, basically, don’t save a baby trapped in a burning car, or else the baby will grow-up to be Hitler. Yeah, the Prime Directive kind of devolved into an immoral religious dogma as Star Trek
Point is, Harding-Pencroft’s Prime Directive seems to lean towards that of the later Star Trek entries. Apparently, screw the planet, we need to keep the tech away from corporations! The irony of Disney railing against corporations is so thick you can practically cut it with a machete. Also, if the concern is that the corporations would hoard stuff like the cure for cancer, well, how’s that any different than what Harding-Pencroft is doing?
Much is made about how Ana must choose to reconcile both the good and the bad of Nemo’s legacy. However, nothing really comes of this. We don’t see her seriously debate or challenge Harding-Pencroft and Land Institute’s views of Nemo. In fact, she gets indoctrinated into Harding-Pencroft’s views pretty quickly. It would have been a great opportunity to show Nemo’s complexity, not just tell us about it. How many innocent lives did he take in his quest for vengeance? Should he have shared his technology with the oppressed peoples chafing under the yoke of colonialism? Is it possible that Land Institute has some valid points, and that Harding-Pencroft has lost its way? All excellent questions that sadly go unanswered.
As for why that is, it ties into the biggest problem I have with Daughter of the Deep
. Overall, it feels like merely the novelization of the yet to be produced movie. I was hoping that the novel would be able to stand on its own merits. However, Riordan clearly wrote it so that the adoption process would be streamlined. Debating ethics might not translate to film. Though, it could work in the hands of a competent scriptwriter.
I feel this streamlining was ultimately to the novel’s determent. I certainly didn’t hate Daughter of the Deep
. It had plenty of the action and adventure you’d expect from a Rick Riordan novel. However, for every thing I liked, there was almost always something else I didn’t like. It is ironic that Rick claims he spent years working on Daughter of the Deep
. It overall feels like it was yanked out of the oven before it had a chance to bake properly. Then again, he also claims to have gotten the idea for Magnus Chase
before he wrote Percy Jackson
, and look how that turned out. The audiobook
is narrated by Soneela Nankani. She’s the narrator for the Aru Shah
audiobooks. Personally, I wasn’t too thrilled when I saw that Soneela would be narrating. However, she gave a fairly decent performance. She voiced Ester in a rather stereotypical way, like she was imitating Sean from The Good Doctor
, but that was the only true sour note. Speaking of music, the audiobook is filled with music. There’s lots of musical cues throughout the audiobook. Scenes of wonder and whimsy have inspirational music, action scenes have exciting music. There’s a scene where Ana plays a pipe organ aboard the Nautilus
, and we actually get to hear it. I thought that was a really nice touch.
Now, let’s analyze the cover. This is a nice looking cover. The undersea landscape is bright and vibrant. We see Ana and Gemini in their divining suits. Their faces are clear and unobscured. The Rick Riordan Presents books goes with this approach as well. Something about it being important for minority kids to see themselves clearly represented on book covers. We also see the Nautilus in the background, along with a giant octopus.
So, Daughter of the Deep
has a lot of potential, and I certainly wouldn’t mind a sequel. However, there’s a lot of room for improvement. It needed to stand on its own merits, not just be the dry run for the movie script. Still, it's lightyears better than our next port of call. Next time, we’re tackling The Sun and The Star
. The claws are coming out, and I’m prepared to fully eviscerate Mark Oshiro’s glorified self-insert fanfic.
Link to the original retrospective on my blog: https://drakoniandgriffalco.blogspot.com/2023/06/riordan-retrospective-daughter-of-deep.html?m=1
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2023.06.06 14:42 Johnny_Boy398 Africa Rework Proposal: Bêafrîka, Katanga, and the Mercenary Kingdoms of Africa
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(This is part of a continuing series, links to which will be provided in the comments below) Bêafrîka State: Bob Denard, Jean-Bédel Bokassa and the mercenary state.
The term “warlord” has been abused by many as a catch all term for any armed african group. It brings to mind images of a barbaric, violent oaf seeking to enrich themselves with trinkets and money off the back of their military extortion: an example of the primitive and bloodthirsty nature of the african. This is certainly the purpose of the term for the Germans, who seek to paint all native armed resistance in this light in order to justify their own return to the continent. But despite this abuse of the term, and its unjust application, it is not made up out of whole cloth: bandits, criminal gangs and short sighted thugs do exist among the africans as they do in all people, and the chaos of the German collapse has given these characters the opportunity of a lifetime. In the former RK Zentralafrika this is seen most clearly in the “mercenary state” of Bêafrîka. Borders of a successful Bêafrîka. Many post-colonial African nations are accused of being artificial: random lines drawn on a map for the convenience of foreigners, and thus doomed to be either failures or exploitive facades. The truth of this statement is debatable: what makes a nation “organic”, is it truly critical that one be so? Are the struggles of new African nations so easily encapsulated? The argument goes on but all will agree on this: Bêafrîka is an utterly artificial and extractive state which can only begrudgingly be called a nation at all.
The north-west of Zentralafrika has always been something of a hodgepodge. The initial conquest of the area from the Free French meant the roll back of any “nation building” expenditures in favor of reverting back to the old company rule. Corvee slavery, plantations and almost non-existent infrastructure was the rule even under the French, and as such the transition to German ownership was almost seamless. If the average native african noticed a difference at all it was in the flags and helmets of the whites who terrorized them: their managers and guards stayed essentially the same. As such the region was seen by independence agitators as ripe for their own movements to grow in. Though such resistance was kept on a tight leash by the Germans it finally burst forth in the northern incursion of 1954. Supported by Nigeria and with the German forces drawn thin by the ongoing Wester Russian War, socialist militants made a lightning strike southward in the hopes of toppling Zentralafrika. For a moment it seemed as if they would do it: the road to Leopoldville was only lightly guarded and the rebel numbers were, in theory, vast. But it was not to be: poor command structures and infighting slowed the rebel advance for long enough that Kommissar Krogmann and Seigfreid Muller were able to reorganize and counterattack with the aid of a new breed of soldier: the Mercenary.
Though having been present in the role of corporate security for years this war was the instance when the Congo Mercenaries truly became a force to be reckoned with. Restrictions on who could hold a gun were dropped and the ranks of mercs swollen with Europeans, Asians and Africans. Though typically small groups and far more independent than Krogmann would have liked, they were all well acquainted with their trade and often brought along their own equipment. They could move fast, hit hard, and there was no reason to suspect their siding with the revolutionaries. With the aid of mercenaries and the cash of selling off vast tracts of land to private holders the revolutionaries were pushed back, and the long guerilla war began. Some areas of Zentralafrika were essentially passive, or had other security solutions. But in the north it was the mercenaries and the garrison which enforced the German order. Names of these men would soon become minor celebrities to the military minded, and their benefactor Seigfreid Muller got a promotion. But for our story only three names matter: the French “mercenary king” Bob Denard, “black Napoleon” Jean-Bédel Bokassa, and “the tiger” Alexandre Banza. Though it is the armed men who hold real power in their hands, the counter-revolutionary forces are not all German and French soldiers of fortune. The APL’s anti-clerical excesses and radical nativism also alienated the thin class of native collaborators and most of all the catholic church. Barthelemy Boganda was one such native conservative, being a native priest who has tried to act through the church to both reform and aid his flock. After the death of his mentor Marcel Grandin Boganda has become a leading figure of pro-native reform without resorting to violence or leftist radicalism.
With the alliance of French and German landowners paying for their protection the mercenaries, though still technically led by Europeans, became the foremost armed presence in the north. Battling against resistance internal and external by 1962 they have become a hated and envied force, and one which Krogmann is eager to bring into line. But the South Africa War will get in the way of any reforms, with mercenaries once again being called on to shoulder the burden of warfare and internal suppression. By the end of the conflict, no matter how it ends, the mercenaries will have become an even more entrenched force in Zentralafrika. Of course when Huttig takes over this will no longer be tolerated. Having already been humiliated by Muller before, Huttig will take great pleasure in dismissing and rounding up the mercenaries, forcing them to join his forces as regular conscripts without any special privileges. Or rather he would, if he had been fast enough to catch them. When news came of Krogmann’s death and Huttig’s assumption of control the mercenaries did not wait for the order to come: they fled if they were able, and if not they seamlessly transitioned from paid agents of the state to new warlords out for their own survival and enrichment. And more than anyone they congregated around the new king of the mercenaries: Bob Denard.
For the year Huttig’s reign lasts the gangs of former mercenaries will be yet another thorn in his side: raiding, bribing and leading his forces on goose chases. And thanks to Huttig’s destruction of any boats or airplanes he could not gain control over these same former mercenaries had nothing else they could do, unless they cared to gamble trekking all the way to Free France. But Huttig’s flailing attempts to bring them to heel was only one of many threats: in this same area socialist militants and petty warlords also sprung up, and sought to destroy the hated mercenaries themselves. When Huttig dies and the German forces retreat to Leopoldville all pretense will be dropped: the Pan-africans, Fang Gabonese and Cameroonian revolutionaries will all attempt to proclaim new states and to expel the gangsters of German capitalism for good. But with their attention divided and the mercenaries still possessing skill, fire power, and all the money the old landowners could scrap together the attempt will only be half successful. Right between the three of them the new Bêafrîka State will be proclaimed. Born in 1929 Bob Denard first got the taste for battle during the French State’s failed expeditions against De Gaulle in the late 40s. Deciding that there was better pay and better leadership to be had in Zentralafrika he was one of the first mercenaries brought in through the “King of the Mercs” Siegfried Müller. Though he has little patience for the Reich’s racial code he is a brave commander and an ardent anti-communist. After Müller’s disappearance upon Hüttig’s ascension the stranded mercenaries looked to those bold and skilled enough to lead them, and found it in Denard.
Under the nominal presidency of Boganda, who was practically kidnaped to take the role, the new state is in perhaps the most precarious position of all post-independence states.Their domestic support rests on a incredibly thin strata of white landlords, a handful of native conservatives and a mercenary army which is already looking for a way out the back door. And opposing them is a very dedicated coalition of native nationalists and revolutionaries. It would be the most natural thing in the world for this ramshackle “state” to disintegrate. But there is one thing which can unite them, and can make them all take the risk of fighting it out: Money. Specifically diamonds, gold, and other precious metals which can be sold high on the global market. The mercenaries, native or foreign, have struck for fame in Bêafrîka with the process of becoming more than the lap dogs of the wealthy, but instead to be the wealthy themselves. Baganda hates this of course, but no one asked: the guns call the shots here. And besides, the APL has already branded him a traitor to the people: in the mercenaries' eyes he should be thankful that he still has his head. And so it is decided, the mercenaries would make their own little heaven, and all they had to do to keep it was win the war for it.
Against them stands the APL, their long-time adversary. When the war begins these Pan-africanists, supported by Cameroon and Nigeria, will take the fight to Bêafrîka. This would probably be a death sentence if it were not for the fact the APL is fighting a two front war with the Nationalists to their east. If the mercenary state should still fail it will be dismantled, with the surrounding states taking over its former territory. But if it should win this first war the gamble will have, for now, paid off. Bob, Bokassa and the rest will be able to begin bringing in the money as they use outright criminal methods to both extract and then sell the bounty of the land. The people, of course, hate this as does the nominal “president”. And within the mercenary ranks new fissures will soon begin to show. When faced with a united enemy these men were willing to work together, but now that the threat of death no longer hands quite so close the question of dividing the spoils has quickly turned into a feeding frenzy: it seems to be every mercenary clique for itself trying to carve out its own privileged fiefdom. And it is here that the reformists, such as they are, spy an opportunity. Alexandre Banza, born 1932 to the Gbaya people, is one of the very few high ranking officers who have a ethnic connection to the land they now rule. His story is much the same as the rest of the black mercenaries: born to a poor family he saw mercenary service as a path to excitement, respect and advancement he would never get on his own. Intelligent, ambitious, and unscrupulous he would rise to become a commander of his own group before the Huttig takeover, and should he take power will rename his state the Bêafrîka Republic, embarking on a cynical campaign of “reform”.
The continued presence of white mercenaries is especially resented by the people, and none more so than commander of the presidential guard and de facto leader of the Bêafrîka State Bob Denard. As such soon after the emergency of war has passed Denard will be dismissed from his position and the two most prominent native warlords Alexandre Banza and Jean-Bédel Bokassa will be invited in to take command. Denard of course has no interest in leaving, and will arrest the president in his own residence, but not before word of the new decree leaked to the streets and the other mercenaries. So it is that the fate of Bêafrîka will be decided the only way a state built on mercenaries could be: with a shootout for control of the president. On one side is Denard: he has already made overtures to Free France and the OFN, as well as criminal contacts in Europe. By leveraging these contacts, and with the aid of the remaining white mercenaries who see his removal as the precursor to their own, he may be able to fight his way out and rise to power over the bodies of his rival warlords.
If Bob Denard and his presidential guard emerges victorious president Boganda’s days will be numbered. Unceremoniously removing and replacing him with a more compliant puppet who I will not even bother you with the name of, any promised elections will be delayed, and then delayed indefinitely. In the end even the facade of democracy will be left behind as the government instead relies on various emergency decrees and under the table deals, as well as outright coercion to cement its power. This is the true mercenary state, in which the armed and powerful take what they want from the weak and destitute: the state will see its revenues come from precious minerals and eventually oil, but just as much from the underground world of smuggling, arms trading, mercenary contracts on behalf of any who will pay, and even (if rumors are to be believed) human trafficking. Denard himself is not so unsophisticated as many of his henchmen: he portrays himself and his state as anti-communist crusaders who are willing to go to the ends of the earth to protect the people from the bolshevik menace. But it makes no difference to the people and to his neighborhood: unless those friendly to him such as the Free French and the Belgian regionalists are victorious both Denard and his state will find themselves facing external invasion sooner or later. When that happens, surrounded by disciplined enemies and facing ever increasing internal revolts, Denard will do what mercenaries do best: he will gather what valuables and guns he can before fleeing. But if this should not happen: if the Congo should remain shattered, and Nigerian ambitions fail, who knows how long the dream may last? Living as they do in a half criminal status all mercenaries are well acquainted with the underworld. Under Bob however the state itself will come to resemble a crime syndicate, with Bob acting as the Mafia boss. More than any other single resource diamonds are the breadwinner for the “White King of Bêafrîka”, but taking a page out of Manchuria’s playbook drug production and trafficking are increasingly filling the ledger as well. The diplomatic denouncements are nothing: there are always back doors which money can open.
But all this is only if Bob and his people should win the battle for President Boganda. For the first time having the full backing of the streets and with a larger manpower pool to draw from it is likely that the native warlords Alexandre Banza and Jean-Bédel Bokassa will become the victors, chasing out the (competition) colonizers in favor of their own rule. They shall of course be rewarded by the eternally thankful president for their good deeds: Bokassa will take over as the new head of the presidential guard, while Banza will become minister of finance and foreign minister. But just as inevitably there is no throne on earth big enough for two people and so the former allies will soon look for a way to oust the other. The hope of the civilians lay in the victory of the Alexandre Banza clique. If he should succeed in arresting and disappearing his rivals Banza will seek to somewhat moderate the state. Rather than rely on naked coercion he will enforce the most basic of social contracts: in return for the country's obedience he will provide protection. Though the basic facts of the Bêafrîka State shall remain: a thriving underground, an economy based on raw export, and a army of criminals, the worst aspects of this rule will be softened and the “civilianization” of government give cosmetic reform to the regime, and finally permit the nominal president a level of dignity, even being allowed to push some of his catholic inspired social reforms. Though not much more than swapping a military uniform for a business suit this will go some way to providing a sense of normalcy, and allow the state to take a non-aligned stance rather than become the plaything of some foreign power.
On the other hand is the favorite of the soldiers Jean-Bédel Bokassa. You know him as the “mad” emperor of the C.A.R. otl, but there was always a method to his madness: one cannot remain in power for over a decade by being stupid. Where Banza seeks to normalize his regime and to be seen as a developmental junta rather than a warlord, Bokassa will lean into his reputation as a warlord, adding esoteric elements to bolster his rule over strangers. Under Bokassa the new system will be entirely personal: he will take the already weak state apparatus and effectively dismantle it, instead relying on personalized dependents to govern the capital city, and leaving the remainder of the country to its own devices so long as it bent the knee when ordered. No longer able to convincingly portray himself as a benign figure to a people who are mostly foreigners to him, he will instead tap into local superstitions to appear as the master of the occult, ruling as a man to be feared even beyond the grave and allegedly indulging in cannibalism. Perhaps even more importantly however he will make a hard switch from western backing to eastern, seeking the protection and the money of Japan. In this at least he will be fairly competent: negotiating the relationship with Japan through a mixture of bribery, utility, and threatened confiscations to wring out as much foreign aid and diplomatic backing as he can. Beyond this his rule will be one of chaos and decline with the people seeing their standard of living decrease yet further to a near subsistence level. But it will be a chaos which Bokassa alone is the ruler of. Jean-Bédel Bokassa has been fighting longer than most: volunteering for the Free French during WW2, he was captured and ultimately released during the German conquest of Gabon. From there he drifted as a menial laborer until the northern insurrection forced the Reichskommissar to bend, and Bokassa was called up by an old french commander. From there he rose to be the de-facto head of his own suit by 1962, and now the undisputed leader of his own fiefdom. The extreme personalism and close relation with Japan will eventually result in his coronation as the sovereign of the Central African Empire.
Whether it be cynical pragmatism or esoteric terror the Bêafrîka State will remain a pariah among their fellow african nations. Cameroon and Gabon will consistently attempt to undermine and take over their territory for themselves, while even the Germans will see any government as traitors and rebels. Though its military may find a backer and its people may become cowed, the incredibly fragile state will come to an end sooner than later, unless they get very lucky. Any Nigerian victory will be a disaster, but a successful unifyer to the south and east would be a great threat as well. They were already founded in the war against one of those potential unifiers and all contenders for power recognize that a united Congo is a dangerous Congo. So, either through direct aid in the case of Denard or cheering from the sidelines Bêafrîka must hope for the victory of the regionalists and Jean Schramme. Katanga, the Regional Alliance, and “The Belgian”.
For the Pan-Africans, the Republicans, the Nationalists and even the Germans survival is not enough: they wish to reunite the old Belgian colony under their vision of the future, and perhaps even seek expansion beyond that. But not all “congolese” feel this way: in particular the province of Katanga sees no reason why it should not be free to plot its own course. Wealthy in its own right with economic ties to the south the elite of the mining provence see no reason why they should be chained to a central government, and are at least partially supported in this by the people. Just what future this “independence” takes is is still up for grabs, but in the chaotic aftermath of Huttings death Moïse Tshombe, Albert Kalonji and Jean Schramme will form a triumvirate to lead the Regional Alliance. Élisabethville slum. Katanga is the richest province in the Congo, as well as the one with the highest concentration of Belgians, and as such has seen the beginning of a modern city develop in its capital. It has also been the prime region for victims of the Congo Dam to migrate into, on account of its relative stability and high labor demand. This has all combined to put a great deal of pressure on those populating the land south of the lake and the development of modern slums alongside the growing city.
Katanga is, in 1962, the last remnant of Belgian colonial rule left after the German takeover. Not formally of course, that had been swept away along with Belgum itself in the 50s. But just beneath the German surface the old colonial trinity of church, company and stick still held true, and mostly under Belgian control. In the aftermath of WW2 and the establishment of Burgundy many Belgians had chosen to migrate into their old colonial territory, either for political or economic reasons. Their numbers would soon fill out the officer ranks of the Force Publique, the managerial posts of various new mines and plantations, and the pews of the catholic church. But it would not be the end of their difficulties: the old trinity clashed with Krogmann’s designs for the colony and after formally absorbing it in 1955 the contest began. Where the catholic church once held near total control over healthcare and education, not to mention religious life, Krogmann favored secularism for the european and promoted dechristianization for the native. His hopes for dissolving the FP and for removing french and dutch from the lexicon would be similarly resisted. By 1962 this contest of wills has continued to grind on, with the steady advance of germanization being constantly interrupted by economic and political expediency. The Belgian Katangaians find themselves stuck uncomfortably between German pressure from above and Native pressure from below.
This native pressure is on one hand from the educated evoles, always looking to improve the lot of themselves and sometime of their kin. But it also increasingly comes from the restless masses who have come under pressure from the fallout of the Congo Dam. As the Belgian congo moderately prospered the cities began to grow as well, with the colonial authorities making tentative attempts to accommodate the influx. But after the Congo dam and the German takeover both of these trends changed. Millions of refugees fled the great flood into the wealthiest regions they could go: Leopoldville and Katanga. The population of the cities exploded, and the subsistence agriculture still practiced by most Congolese came under incredible pressure as migrants and squatters proliferated. The Belgian authorities meanwhile were left without the resources needed to truly accommodate this change, and were left with only the Force Publique to try and keep the “indigenes” separate from the new “foreigners”. It was in this context that regionalist associations with the goal of protecting specific people, such as the Lula or Lunda, came to dominate the native political scene, such as it was. Both of these movements discovered that they had similar enemies: both resented German power and feared the “national” native resistance. But this did not yet mean they became allies. Moïse Tshombe, the nominal head of Katanga. Born to a noble lineage and always wealthy, his desire to be liked and his lack of spin have made him into an ideal puppet for other interests. His current sponsor is the remnants of the old Belgian Union Minière, which comprise much of Katanga’s economy. Though not hated by any “his” government is in reality more beholden to his lieutenants such as Godefroid Munongo.
Katanga had lived in an atmosphere of tension even before the rise of Huttig and the advent of the “Afrikareich” did nothing to alleviate this tension. As part of Huttig’s program to fully disarm the natives and bring all armed forces under SS command he attempted to disarm the Force Publique and Belgian mercenaries, rolling them into its own armed forces. Prominent civilian Belgians were arrested and replaced with SS men, leaving both the Belgians and the natives angered. Under this new pressure some decided to give it up: the new regime could not be bargained with as the prior one was, and any resistance clearly meant death. But enterprising elements were not willing to take death laying down: most prominently this included Godefroid Munongo and Jean Schramme. Using their own wealthy connections and estates as payment they would form small resistance groups, and would be the first formal alliance between the Belgians and the regionalists. To cut a long story short when Huttig dies and the Germans retreat to Leopoldville, those SS governors who do not flee will find their lifespans much shorter than expected, and those brave or desperate enough to resist Huttig will return to power. In the face of nationalist calls to reunite the congo however, the regionalists will move first. With the lavish bribery of local mining conglomerates and the justification of “popular will”, the Belgian community led by Schramme and localist leaders will form the first concret result of their ad-hoc alliance: The State of Katanga.
In its first years Katanga is a divided and unsettled place, forced into unity by the common fear of external subjugation but beholden to competing political camps. The state itself is at least nominally led by Moïse Tshombe, descendant of the kings of the Lunda people and scion to one of the last wealthy native families. He is the figurehead of a poorly organized class of native elites and collaborators, most often independently wealthy and committed just as much to their own economic privileges as they are to the cause of regionalism itself. But despite this Tshombe heads the closest thing to a “popular movement” in the new state: the "Confédération des associations tribales du Katanga" (CONAKAT). Formed in the interest of protecting the livelihoods of the Lunda against the encroaching migrants it is through this party that the people are mobilized for war. Relying on traditional authority and elite connections in the name of a tribalism has been effective in at least countering the partisans of the republicans and nationalists which contest the provence. Just as in the other contenders the war is as much a mater of internal division as it is defeating external challenges. But in order to meet those external enemies the party has been obliged to do so with the aid of their “ally”, the Belgians. Jean Schramme, despite his official profession, is less of a mercenary and more of a Belgian “contractor” who has a reputation for getting things done and resisting German encroachment. Coming to Africa soon after the end of WW2 he is part of a new breed of Belgians who consider Zentralafrika, or more accurately Katanga, as their true home and embrace the ideal of a paternal ruler of their “primitive” neighbors. Being a successful entrepreneur as well as part time leader of the “Leopard Battalion” Jean has become a prominent part of the Belgian expat community. But though he no longer wishes to return to Europe do not think he has forgotten what the Nazi’s did: the old motherland is dead by German hands, and he has not forgiven them.
Just as on the native side the Belgians are divided internally: German policy was frustrating and insulting, but it was also relatively stable and offered a protection against the natives surrounding them. To forgo this protection and risk battle with the world's superpowers in the name of an uncertain independence requires a boldness uncommon in men. But since when did the meek make history? Returning from his armed exile Schremme will find the FP and Belgian police in disarray, and take it upon himself to topple the last of the SS governors. In his mind there is no question: in order for the Belgians to be free and prosperous they must take the risk of rebellion against Germany and carve out their own state in the chaos. But despite his personal exploits he is unable to do this on his own, and so despite his personal distaste for allying with the native regionalists his own backers in the belgian mining and administrative class have forced him to make common cause with “their” evolese. Regardless Schremme has become the critical belgian commander in this rebelion, bringing the remainder of the belgian community with him whether they like it or not. He leads in a mercenary style, never far from the front lines and with a greater emphasis on personal bravery than more mundane things like logistics.
Though Katanga is the heart of the Regionalist Alliance it is still only one part of that alliance: to the eastern flank is Sud-Kasaï, led by Albert Kalonji as the vanguard state of the Luba secessionist movement. Both Kalonji and Tshombe claim to be protecting their people (Luba and Lunda respectively) from becoming minorities within their own land and from becoming the playthings of another foreign power, whether that be Germania, Washington or any other place. They are also both from prominent and wealthy local families, who have cooperated with the belgian colonizers for generations and have every personal incentive to resist foreign acquisition. As such their support is not primarily from the people, but from the oligarchs and the army. These are two significant advantages however: While other factions are scrambling to put together a military, a state, and to pay for it all, Katanga and her allies are able to fall back on the old colonial power structures, expanding the FP and leveraging oligarchical ties to slap together an army faster than their rivals. With the mix of audacious leadership, money and the Schramme loyalist mercenaries/formed FP officers the alliance may be able to snatch its independence despite the lack of international backing. Map of regionalist victory, Azandeland acts as a placeholder for local authority (or lack thereof), Sud-Kasai is the Luba Empire. The immediate issue facing the regionalists will be export access: the states survival depends on the revenue from its extensive mining operations, and if that material cannot be exported it is worthless. For this Katanga must either negotiate a trade deal with the German remnants, or seek a detente with the self proclaimed frontline of liberation Zambia. Neither is eager to do this, but the world calls for what Katanga can provide, most of all Uranium. Eventually the market will win out, and one side will decide it is better to compromise principle than give the other an opportunity to gain access to the Katanga bounty.
IF VICTORIOUS the Regionalist Alliance will comprise an expanded State of Katanga, the Luba Empire, and a number of minor eastern powers propped up by Katanga. For the Luba and the Eastern chiefs the question of post war politics is an easy one: tribal traditionalism shall prevail as Albert Kalonji names himself king and the local chiefs are either bribed or threatened into compliance with the new order. While some may make efforts to modernize and advance their domains it will only be done under the watchful and occasionally helpful eye of Katanga. The only question remaining is who will be in control of Katanga itself. Jean Schramme is not a reasonable man, or at least not a moderate one: if he feels that he and the Belgians are not granted their proper place he may well try to overthrow Moïse Tshombe and install himself as the leader of the new state. The natives are less than satisfied as well: though free of foreign control it is clear to them that the old order is no longer acceptable: the people who fought and won the war for independence demand that their sacrifice be rewarded in some meaningful way. And most of all the question of race can no longer be papered over: The Belgians and Europeans remain on top, the migrants have been savaged, and the land and jobs available are not enough to satisfy them all.
To reconcile these internal difficulties a conference shall be held between the Belgian leadership of the army and company's one on hand, and the native oligarchs and officers on the other to see if a viable solution can be worked out. On the Belgian side the question is that of security and property: they wish to maintain the full roster of legal rights granted to them by belgian law, to keep their property and company concessions, and for a Belgian “veto” in the national government to ensure that Belgian rights are not trampled by some future populist government. On the CONAKAT side is a desire to renegotiate the terms of the “social contract”: to ensure a majority native voice in government which cannot be overruled by Belgian privilege, greater native ownership of property and the full abolition of any legal barriers to their advancement. However both sides are united in seeking stability and in their distrust of the congolese “masses”. Those masses are not without a voice themselves: through labor unions, dissident political parties and new officer associations the experience of warfare has made the people politically aware. If the result of the conference does not give some bones to the people it may find that its support is far too narrow to be stable. Union Minière, once the undisputed master of the Katanga economy, has declined somewhat under German overlordship. With a majority of its shares owned by the Belgian state and its former leadership fleeing to America after the end of the war its foundations were shaky. When Krogmann began the great sell off and rescinded the Belgian Congo’s autonomy the company found itself in yet more hot water. Transitioning to a locally owned company within Zentralafrika itself the Union has been forced to cut back on its paternalistic spending to make ends meet. Beyond the typical demands for labor rights and wage increases the Kantaga people also wish for a return to the housing, education and social protection once afforded by the leviathan. With its place in Katanga once again secure this may just be possible.
A successful conference will be one of compromise. For the people a number of social protections and laws will be promised: greater state funding to education, hospitals, and housing will be promised, along with a hike in wages. In order to afford this the belgians will need to accept their privileged economic position comes with a responsibility to fund the state which protects it: though direct taxes may be a bridge too far a system of expected “gifts” and an expansion of the old paternalism into state guided policy may work out. In return for their material contributions the Belgians will receive legal autonomy, organizing their own political parties and keeping their land. The native oligarchs meanwhile would take the national stage, being granted privileged places within the Katanga economy as well as using CONAKAT as their vehicle for political dominance. Concessions and compromises such as these require that all parties trust the other to keep up their end of the bargain, and not simply alter the deal when they feel they are able. And in the aftermath of a brutal civil war and a political culture of corruption such trust is very hard to come by. But if these difficulties are overcome, and Jean Schramme is kept mollified, the new State of Katanga will be ruled as a collaborative oligarchy, keeping real representation out of the hands of the people and wealth in the hands of a few, but also a relatively stable and moderate government which is willing to compromise when need be. Unless it is a question of distrusted ethnic groups attempting to secede from the state or restart Congolese unification, in which case the Katanga Gendarmerie will be the only answer given.
But what if this conference does not succeed? What if the protests outside become too large, or the sides are too inflexible, or if Jean Schramme believes the rights of Belgians are being sold too cheaply? Then the Rule of Fire will come back and those with the force to crush their opposition will prevail. And in Katanga that can only mean one thing: Schramme and his allies will stage a coup, placing themselves in charge once again as an emergency government. Those unwilling to ally with him will be dismissed, replaced with those who are. The new mission of the state is the protection of “Belgian civilization” in Katanga, with Schramme attempting to revive the old trinity of Church, State and Company under his guiding hand. He never truly wanted to be in this position: he would much rather simply go back to his plantation and be master of his own little world. But he belives that his new homeland calls out for leadership and guts it seems only he can provide, and so he will seek to lead it into the future he envisions. One where the Congo natives are grateful and subservient to their betters, where all the structures of the trinity are led by Europeans to the benefit of all. Of course most of the natives have very different ideas about what the future should look like, and so Schremma’s Katanga will immediately be thrown into a bush war as the old civil war factions reform as guerrilla movements seeking to topple his dictatorship. The profits of Katanga are vast, especially if one is willing to sell uranium to anyone willing to buy, but how long will money and determination be able to hold against the will of the people? At a stretch the white population of Katanga is 100,000, while the total african population is somewhere north of 1.5 million. This is before one considers the increasing populations of the Luba Empire and the eternal frontier of the Eastern Congo. And then there is the highly likely presence of hostile regimes on the borders: all the money in the world cannot win Schramme this Bush War, and he will either need to swallow his pride and accept democratization for the natives or accept the return of the Reich as suzerain. And even that may not be enough to avoid the rage of a people betrayed.
2023.06.06 12:32 boutell New US CCS chargers report for May 2023
Here are all of the new US CCS (Level 3 fast-charging) stations that rolled out in May 2023,
according to the Department of Energy. These chargers are suitable for most new EVs on the market, except for:
Some of these chargepoints will be "refreshes,"
- Tesla drivers who haven't bought the official CCS adapter yet. Certain older Teslas need additional work done to accept the adapter.
- Leaf owners like me, and some owners of older cars that also use CHAdeMO. If you drive a Leaf, or an older CHAdeMO car, see my matching post in leaf.
e.g. the provider replaced them with faster chargers etc. Some may be incorrect. This report is only as good as the Alternative Fuels Data Center data. There were 222 CCS charge points added or refreshed in May 2023
, which is up from 171 in April. For comparison, there were only 74 new CCS charge points in May 2022. Things are speeding up. "What about CCS charging at Tesla superchargers?"
Tesla is in the process of rolling out their "magic dock" for non-Tesla cars, but so far in very few locations. If they start doing this at scale and reporting it to the Alternative Fuels Data Center then it will be reflected here. "What about Ford vehicles with NACS (Tesla) plugs?"
They are not on sale yet. Current-generation Ford vehicles have CCS plugs. The next generation will have NACS (Tesla) plugs, but will also support CCS via an adapter.
If you'd like to know about new chargers along your routes right away, or just prefer not to check this list monthly when new openings are rare in your area, I've set up a free service that provides email notifications as soon as they open. You can sign up at evpov.com
. Or not! I don't really have a business plan here, I built it to help EV owners like myself.
To streamline this post, multi-chargepoint locations are listed with the number of chargepoints first, so that's why the post is shorter than in previous months.
➡ AR (1) Franklin's Charging Little Rock 724 Woodrow St Little Rock, AR 72205 ➡ AZ (6) 942 E Parma Street (US-CMK-NVL-2A) 942 E Parma Street Gila Bend, AZ 85337 (1) Kroger Frys 62 (Mesa, AZ) 554 W Baseline Rd Mesa, AZ 85210 ➡ CA (1) Fairfield Inn & Suites 8700 Spectrum Pkwy Bakersfield, CA 93308 (1) MOSSY CDJR DC 1 1875 Auto Park Ave Chula Vista, CA 91911 (3) DC CORRIDOR CHEVRON C DC 2 25032 W Dorris Ave Coalinga, CA 93210 (1) South Coast Collection (SoCo) 3303 Hyland Ave Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (1) SCPPA SCPPA CPE200T 1160 Nicole Ct Glendora, CA 91740 (1) Chase Bank - 925 N Hacienda Blvd 925 N Hacienda Blvd La Puente, CA 91744 (1) WOODLANDHILLS ABB 24KW 01 22006 Erwin Street Los Angeles, CA 91367 (1) 7071 - Merced, CA (2020 Childs Ave) 2020 Childs Ave Merced, CA 95341 (1) Mojave Air & Spaceport (Building 1) 16922 Airport Blvd Mojave, CA 93501 (1) BMW MONROVIA OFF NETWORK 01 1425 Mountain Ave Monrovia, CA 91016 (1) Albertsons 1345 (Morro Bay, CA) 730 Quintana Road Morro City, CA 93442 (1) 3333 Fruitvale Ave 3333 Fruitvale Ave Oakland, CA 94602 (1) 7126 - Oakley, CA (5540 Bridgehead Road) 5540 Bridgehead Road Oakley, CA 94561 (1) CircleK - Palm Desert, CA 78005 Country Club Dr Palm Desert, CA 92211 (1) Hilton Garden Inn 20 Advantage Ct Sacramento, CA 95834 (1) BoA Hillcrest CA0-120 (San Diego, CA) 737 UNIVERSITY AVE San Diego, CA 92103 (1) WinCo Foods - Vacaville #60 855 Davis St Vacaville, CA 95687 ➡ CO (1) CITY OF ASPEN RIO GRANDE L3 427 Rio Grande Pl Aspen, CO 81611 (4) CSG EV BOULDER PL4 1500 Pearl St Boulder, CO 80302 (5) 1 Flatiron Crossing (US-ME8-73R-2B) 1 Flatiron Crossing Broomfield, CO 80021 (1) CircleK - Colorado City, CA 8950 S Interstate 25 Colorado City, CO 81004 (2) GPM INVESTMENTS 4590 DC1 8105 N Academy Blvd Colorado Springs, CO 80920 (2) KUM & GO CRAIG PL2 700 East Victory Way Craig, CO 81625 (1) DINO WELCOME DINOSAUR PL1 101 Stegosaurus Freeway Dinosaur, CO 81610 (2) PIKES PK CHARGE BA.CA.MI LLC #2 11027 US-24 Divide, CO 80814 (4) ANNEX SITE GEORGETOWN PL4 1120 Argentine Street Georgetown, CO 80444 (4) KUM & GO RIFLE PL4 705 Taugenbaugh Boulevard Rifle, CO 81650 (2) KUM & GO SB SPRINGS PL2 80 Anglers Drive Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 ➡ CT (1) BOA East Hartford CT2-120 (Hartford, CT) 805 E Main Street East Hartford, CT 06108 (1) HARTFORD BMW ABB OUTSIDE 1 Weston Park Rd Hartford, CT 06120 ➡ DE (1) First State Chevrolet 22694 DUPONT BLVD GEORGETOWN, DE 19947 ➡ FL (1) JNKNS JACKSONVI DC FAST 2 11107 Atlantic Blvd Jacksonville, FL 32225 (1) Simon Tampa Premium Outlets (Lutz, FL) 2300 Grand Cypress Dr Lutz, FL 33559 (1) Starbucks 9200 FL-228 Macclenny, FL 32063 (1) Ocean Cadillac 17800 Ipco Road Miami, FL 33162 (1) Sun Plaza 6339 W Colonial Dr Orlando, FL 32818 (1) Simon Orlando Vineland (Orlando, FL) 8200 Vineland Ave Orlando, FL 32821 (1) Simon Tyrone Square (St Petersburg, FL) 6901 22nd Ave N Peterburg, FL 33710 (1) BHY CHARGER 1 9915 E Adamo Dr Tampa, FL 33619 (1) Chase Bank - 5601 Red Bug Lake Rd 5601 Red Bug Lake Rd Winter Springs, FL 32708 ➡ GA (1) GEORGIA POWER EPICENTER DC1 135 riverside parkway SW Austell, GA 30168 (1) JACKSON EMC GAINESVILLE 1000 Dawsonville Highway Gainesville, GA 30501 ➡ IL (1) Castle Chevrolet North 175 N Arlington Heights Rd Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 (1) Sunrise Chevrolet 414 E N Ave Glendale Heights, IL 60139 ➡ IN (1) AVON HYUNDAI SALES 8775 E 36 Avon, IN 46123 (1) SHRM CHRG MERCEDESBENZFW 7227 W Jefferson Blvd Fort Wayne, IN 46804 (1) HOC CHARGERS CHARGER #1 4200 E 96th St Indianapolis, IN 46240 (1) Sullivan Cadillac 4040 SW College Rd Ocala, IN 34474 ➡ KS (1) HATCHETT FRONT_WEST 11200 E Central Ave Wichita, KS 67206 (1) HATCHETT BACK EAST 11330 E Central Ave Wichita, KS 67206 ➡ KY (1) JEFF WYLER FH EXPRESS 250 949 Burlington Pike Florence, KY 41042 ➡ LA (1) All Star Automotive 12730 Airline Highway Baton Rouge, LA 70817 (1) Target T1469 (Monroe, LA) 4103 Pecanland Mall Dr Monroe, LA 71203 ➡ MA (6) MASSPORT TNC 4 226 Porter St Boston, MA 02128 (2) MASSPORT TAXI 4 56 Harborside Dr Boston, MA 02128 (1) Littleton Electric Light & Water Department 39 Ayer Road Littleton, MA 01460 ➡ MD (2) POTOMAC EDISON ROCKY GAP DC1 16701 Lakeview Rd NE Flintstone, MD 21530 ➡ ME (1) DARLINGS HYUNDA SALES CHARGER 2 439 Western Ave Augusta, ME 04330 (2) IRVINGOIL ME-FFLD-L3-0001 206 Center Rd Fairfield, ME 04937 (1) MOBIL ONTHEWAY STATION 1 1930 Lisbon Street Lewiston, ME 04240 (1) MOBIL ONTHEWAY STATION 2 1938 Lisbon St Lewiston, ME 04240 ➡ MI (1) Belle Isle DC Fast Charge 176 Lakeside Dr Detroit, MI 48207 (1) Meijer 254 (Hudsonville, MI) 4075 32nd Ave Hudsonville, MI 49426 (1) Evergetic Charging Spa 330 South Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard Lansing, MI 48915 (1) Genesis Cadillac 19900 E Nine Mile Road St Clair Shores, MI 48080 (1) MBSTL ENTRANCE ABB 1048 Hampton Avenue St. Louis, MI 63139 (1) Range USA Ypsilanti 660 James L Hart Pkwy Ypsilanti, MI 48197 ➡ MN (1) WINNER GAS BROOKDALE DR 1500 Brookdale Dr Minneapolis, MN 55444 ➡ MO (1) GM - Allen Christian Buick GMC Inc 724 W Business US Highway 60, Dexter, MO 63841 (1) Store 290 Joplin - 2101 S. Prigmore &I44 2101 S Prigmore Joplin, MO 64804 ➡ MS (1) 1685 High St 1685 High St Jackson, MS 39202 ➡ NC (1) CAPE HATTERAS AVON PIER DCFC2 41001 North Carolina Hwy 12 Avon, NC 27915 (1) Westcott Buick GMC 2410 S CHURCH ST BURLINGTON, NC 27215 (1) 9960 Poplar Tent Rd 9960 Poplar Tent Rd Concord, NC 28027 (1) AEMC- AEMC HQ FAST 125 Cooperative Way Hertford, NC 27944 (1) Capital Hyundai of Jacksonville 2325 N Marine Blvd Jacksonville, NC 28546 (1) Chestnut Arbor 2925 Weddington Matthews Rd Matthews, NC 28105 ➡ NE (1) ERNST CHARGER 1 EAC CHARGER 615 23rd St E Columbus, NE 68601 ➡ NH (1) Berlin City Chevrolet 545 MAIN STREET GORHAM, NH 03581 (2) Tanger Tilton Under Armour 06-07 120 Laconia Road Tilton, NH 03256 ➡ NJ (1) ShopRite Carteret - Wakefern #511 801 Roosevelt Ave Carteret, NJ 07008 (1) Lester Glenn Freehold 3712 Rte 9 Freehold, NJ 07728 (2) FREEHOLDHYUNDAI VERIZON 1 4075 9 Freehold Township, NJ 07728 (2) CLASS 3 CHARGER HYUNDAI-2 250 Rte 4 Paramus, NJ 07652 (1) CIRCLEAUTOGROUP CH- CPE250 1 641 Shrewsbury Ave Shrewsbury, NJ 07702 (1) ROUTE 1 HYUNDAI CPE-250-02 3905 US 1 South Brunswick Township, NJ 08852 (1) ROUTE 1 HYUNDAI RT1-01 3913 US-1 South Brunswick Township, NJ 08852 (1) Lester Glenn Buick-GMC 230 RTE 37 E TOMS RIVER, NJ 08753 (1) Lester Glenn Chevrolet 398 Rt 37 Toms River, NJ 08753 ➡ NY (1) AAA WESTCENTRAL DC FAST CHARGER 100 International Dr Amherst, NY 14221 (2) KEELER STATION 6 1111 Troy Schenectady Rd Latham, NY 12110 (1) LEXUSMIDDLETOWN STATION 1 3496 US-6 Middletown, NY 10940 (1) Lerner NYC Station Plaza (Port Jefferson Station, NY) 5145 Nesconset Highway Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776 (3) BOB JOHNSON BOB JOHNSON KIA 3817 W Henrietta Rd Rochester, NY 14623 (1) Burr Truck Level 3 DC Fast Charge 2901 Vestal Rd Vestal, NY 13850 ➡ OH (1) Serra Chevrolet 3281 S Arlington Rd Akron, OH 44312 (1) Tim Lally Chevrolet 24999 Miles Rd Bedford Heights, OH 44128 (2) CRESTMONT DRIVECRESTMONT2 2961 Center Rd Brunswick, OH 44212 (1) Lambert Buick GMC 2409 FRONT ST CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH 44221 (1) Hampton Inn - Canton 5256 Broadmoor Cir NW Canton, OH 44709 (1) JEFF WYLER EXPRESS 250 Loop @ Far Hills Centerville, OH 45459 (1) DONWOODAUTO DW CHEVY 2 12916 OH-664 Logan, OH 43138 (2) WAG ABB STATION 1 8457 N Springboro Pike Miamisburg, OH 45342 (1) JEFF WYLER CORP 4- DC FAST 401 Milford Pkwy Milford, OH 45150 (1) Friendship Kitchen 70 3800 E. State Rd. Port Clinton, OH 43452 (1) Friendship Kitchen 83 4024 Hayes Ave. Sandusky, OH 44870 (1) Serpentini Chevrolet of Strongsville 15303 Royalton Rd Strongsville, OH 44136 (1) Don's Automotive Group 720 N SHOOP AVE WAUSEON, OH 43567 (1) Bush Auto Place 1850 Rombach Avenue Wilmington, OH 45177 ➡ OK (1) EDMOND HYUNDAI EDMOND 4 14137 N Broadway Ext Edmond, OK 73013 ➡ OR (6) 12000 SE 82nd Ave (US-H8H-UM5-2A) 12000 SE 82nd Ave Happy Valley, OR 97086 (1) PGE IBEW 48 15937 NE Airport Way Portland, OR 97230 ➡ PA (1) DOYLESTOWN 024B1000008033 4465 W Swamp Rd Doylestown, PA 18902 (2) LIBERTY CHARWASH PL 2 2595 Maryland Road Willow Grove, PA 19090 (1) Bergeys Inc 518 RTE 309 colmar, PA 18915 ➡ PR (2) BMW AUTOGERMANA CPE 250 PKNG 2 106 Calle Acuarela Guaynabo, PR 00969 (2) BMW AUTOGERMANA FTZ120KW-2 1086 Ave. Muñoz Rivera San Juan, PR 00919 ➡ RI (1) Paul Masse Chevrolet 1111 Taunton Ave East Providence, RI 02914 ➡ SC (1) Travelers Rest Municipal Complex 125 Trailblazer Dr Travelers Rest, SC 29690 ➡ TN (4) I24 EXIT11 STATION 1 (LL) 701 Sango Road Clarksville, TN 37043 (2) DISTRICT 2 STATION 1 (L) 28 S Park Ave Hohenwald, TN 38462 (2) LAWRENCEBURG STATION 2 (R) 2347 Hwy 43 N Leoma, TN 38468 (1) MB OF MEMPHIS STATION 1 5401 Poplar Ave Memphis, TN 38119 ➡ TX (1) Friendly Chevrolet 2754 North Stemmons Way Dallas, TX 75207 (1) Plaza de Oro 4450 W Jefferson Blvd Dallas, TX 75211 (1) Shell 3302 S Eastman Rd Longview, TX 75602 (1) 3220 Gulf Fwy 3220 Gulf Fwy Texas City, TX 77591 ➡ UT (2) VOLVO CAR USA SANDY DC 2 56 W 9000 S Sandy, UT 84070 ➡ VA (1) BLACKWELL D1 4874 Riverside Dr Danville, VA 24541 (1) Fleet Management Site (For Testing Purpose Only) 512 Herndon Pkwy Herndon, VA 20170 (6) 2577 Jeb Stuart Highway (US-TDM-SCC-1C) 2577 Jeb Stuart Highway Meadows of Dan, VA 24120 (5) 2203 Franklin Road Southwest (US-TUJ-L2K-2C) 2203 Franklin Road Southwest Roanoke, VA 24014 (6) 437 Tiffany Drive (US-CHT-WF7-2C) 437 Tiffany Drive Waynesboro, VA 22980 (2) KOONS HYUNDAI STATION 1 1880 Opitz Blvd Woodbridge, VA 22191 ➡ VT (1) Cody Chevrolet 364 RIVER ST MONTPELIER, VT 05602 ➡ WA (1) 7112 - Bellevue WA (12903 NE 20th Street) 12903 NE 20th Bellevue, WA 98005 (1) 7060 - Burlington, WA (1790 South Burlington Blvd) 1790 South Burlington Blvd Burlington, WA 98233 (1) 5507 - Everett, WA (901 Casino Road) 901 Casino Road Everett, WA 98204 (1) 7025 - Everett, WA (13131 Bothell Everett Hwy) 13131 Bothell Everett Hwy Everett, WA 98208 (1) 4397 - Kelso, WA (1700 Allen Street) 1700 Allen Street Kelso, WA 98626 (1) 7063 - Olympia, WA (1725 Evergreen Park Drive SW) 1725 Evergreen Park Drive SW Olympia, WA 98502 (2) HANSON MOTORS HM3 QUICKCHARGE 2300 Carriage Loop SW Olympia, WA 98502 (1) 7096 - Sequim, WA (51 Carlsborg Road) 51 Carlsborg Road Sequim, WA 98382 (1) Walmart 2539 - Spokane Valley, WA 15727 E Broadway Ave Spokane Valley, WA 99037 (1) 7054 -Vancouver, WA 98664 (10314 SE Mill Plain Road) 13014 SE Mill Plain Rd Vancouver, WA 98684 (1) 7059 - Woodinville, WA (13023 NE 175th St) 13023 NE 175th St Woodinville, WA 98072 ➡ WI (1) BERG HYUNDAI VLI-L3-PDI-4 2900 N Victory Ln Appleton, WI 54913 (1) Wheelers Chevrolet of Coloma 1978 Charles Way Coloma, WI 54930 (1) Wheelers Chevrolet GMC of Marshfield 2701 S. Maple Ave Marshfield, WI 54449
submitted by boutell
to electricvehicles [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 01:39 Temporary-Soil5961 How do I tell my staunchly anti-catholic parent that I want to convert to catholocism from protestantism
I have been researching catholicism and meditating on scripture, as well as researching church history and expanding my knowledge of catholicism and theology as a whole. I have become convinced that the catholic church is the one true church and I wish to join it.
I was protestant, part of the gospel halls which are an evangelical, sorta non denominational church which follows some presbyterian doctorines, but very few. It teaches that communion is nothing but a symbol, baptism is an outward expression of an inward faith, eternal security etc... It is very low church and any member may speak during the service and the structure is several elders within the church with no external authority. These elders control all of the church and are elected by one another.
I went through several experiences, my family recieved no support during covid and during my grandfathers funeral the elders attended and when they greeted us they had completely forgotten mine and my brothers name, bearing in mind this is small congregation and we are fairly involved.
Regardless I have been convinced in my heart to convert to catholocism after much prayer and study. I started to have doubts about protestantism and during covid we didnt attend church and the church virtually ceased all activity during covid. When visiting my grandmother i attended a few anglican services, which to my suprise I enjoyed, the liturgy and respect for the sacraments spoke to me, at this point I began looking at high church protestantism then catholicism.
My mother was anglican, then went to the afformentioned gospel hall after she married my father, recently she has become more open to catholicism. My father was presbyterian and then started attending the gospel hall, my father has been convinced that catholicism is wrong and the RCC is evil and has the devil in it (thinks liturgy is based in paganism etc...) and is in no way open to catholicism.
I am 17 and live in a country where catholicism and protestantism have political and paramilitary implications... hence my fathers apprehension I suspect. I cannot attend mass at this time, let alone have the oppurtunity to convert. My past church prevented me from becoming baptised, they do not practise infant baptism and I knew nothing different. I desire to reach full communion in the catholic church and feel like i haver received justification.
I am asking for advice on firstly how I could introduce the topic to my father, secondly whether I should wait to convert after I have left my home. From anyone willing to help, particularly from other converts with similar experiences and priests if they can.
TLDR: One parent is receptive to catholicism, the other is staunchly anti-catholic. I want to convert to catholicism as I am convinced that it is the true church of Christ. Priests and other converts with similar experiences please help.
Thank you and God bless you all.
submitted by Temporary-Soil5961
to Catholicism [link] [comments]
2023.06.05 15:19 AMETSFAN England's New Order Cromwell's Commonwealth
| || | submitted by AMETSFAN to Presidentialpoll [link] [comments]
After the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended to the thrones of England and Ireland, becoming James I of both realms. After James's death, his second son Charles took over as Charles I of England, Scotland, and Ireland. King Charles quickly tried to assert royal prerogatives but faced opposition from various factions in England and Scotland. Charles dealt with various financial, religious, and foriegn issues. A failed attempt to capture Spanish land in the New World, combined with lackluster finances, due to outdated methods of revenue collecting, left England in a financially unstable state. Charles attempted to have Parliament approve taxation to fill the Royal coffers but quickly ran into trouble with the independently-minded Parliament. Thus, the King dissolved Parliament and ran the country solely from Royal Prerogative. To deal with the aforementioned financial issues, Charles implemented various tax schemes to raise revenue and keep the nation afloat. Although the revenue raised was sufficient, Charles’s barely legal programs were widely hated. Nonetheless, most of the nation was fervently loyal to the King, meaning he would be able to keep up Personal Rule, as Charles’s reign was called, as long as expenses did not increase. However, Charles’s religious policies would begin the destruction of his tenuous grasp.
King Charles I of England, Scotland, and Ireland
Despite the deposition of Mary, Queen of Scots by Presbyterian nobles, in favor of her young son James, the House of Stuart remained apprehensive of radicals in the reformation, with James VI/I and Charles I both supporting the “High-Church Anglicans” (who believed in greater Church authority & were more compatible to Catholics), at the expense of Presbyterians in Scotland and Protestant “Dissents” (such as Puritans) in England. While James declined to attempt to impose his brand of Anglicanism upon the Scots, Charles took a different approach. Egged on by his chief religious advisor, Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud, Charles attempted to impose The Book of Common Prayer,
the prayer book for the Anglican Church in England, on the Scottish Church. However, the Scots would fiercely resist any incursions upon their Presbyterianism, while some of Charles’s English subjects would oppose his attempts to enforce, what they saw as, crypto-Catholicism. Thus, the Scottish would rise in rebellion, with the sole goal of protecting the Presbyterian Church. While England undoubtedly had a greater fighting capacity in a vacuum, various factors ranging from internal apathy to Scottish determination would see Charles’s forces fall to a humiliating defeat, ending attempts at religious uniformity. Under the terms of the Treaty of Ripon, which ended the war, England had to pay minor reparations to Scotland for the trouble. But, Charles’s thinly-stretched revenue structure would collapse, as he would have no choice but to call a Parliament to raise the necessary revenue.
Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud, Charles's chief religious advisor & hardline High-Church Anglican
But, calling the new Parliament would raise its issues. Many Radicals and Puritans in the Parliament would strongly oppose the King’s actions. With various complaints about the religious, financial, and political changes ushered in by Charles’s Personal Rule, those most hostile to the King would issue the Grand Remonstrance, which listed their issues with the King. As tensions continued rising to the surface, a rebellion in Ireland would blow up the situation. While both the Parliament and the King wanted to send troops to suppress the rebellion, neither was willing to let the other take reign of the Army. This culminated in King Charles sending in troops to arrest 5 MPs who he had particular contempt for. However, all 5 were tipped off, allowing them to escape, embarrassing Charles. With Parliament ardently against him, Charles I had no choice but to escape, setting off the English Civil War.
Painting of Charles I's storming into Parliament & seeking the arrest of 5 MPs.
The First English Civil War would see the Scots and English Parliamentarians (with their ranks filled by political & religious radicals, Protestant Dissenters, most merchants, and those in the gentry who opposed the King’s taxes) ally to fight Royalists. Although the Scots and Parliamentarians would be fragmented at first, their combined force (along with the creation of the New Model Army) gave them the upper hand, particularly at the Battles of Marston Moor & Naseby, the latter of which proved to be a decisive defeat. After the capture of the King, there were debates about what to do with the King, and the new political system of the Three Kingdoms, with a consensus to keep the King around with moderate political reforms, while ignoring many social reforms.
Painting of the Battle of Marston Moor, the first big victory for the Parliamentarian Forces.
However, the settlement was not enough for Charles. Reversing his prior religious policies and personal scruples, Charles settled into an alliance with the Scots, starting the Second English Civil War, with an alliance of Royalists, Scots, and those within England disaffected from the Parliamentarian cause. Although it seemed that the Parliamentary cause was under threat, the supreme generalships of Oliver Cromwell and his deputy John Lambert would carry the day at the Battle of Preston, ending the 2nd English Civil War.
General John Lambert, who would rise through the New Model Army ranks and Cromwell's esteem during the 2nd Civil War
While the defeat of the Scots secured Parliament’s victory and enshrined Parliamentary rule over the 3 realms, the issue of what to do with the King would dominate political discussion. Parliament was willing to keep the King around, continuing negotiations on the Treaty of Newport with the King, despite his continued reluctance to compromise away any of his powers. However, the New Model Army would have no tolerance for any settlement. Hardened by years of conflict, and outraged at the King’s continued plotting and schemes, the New Model Army was firmly convinced that the King had to go. Thus, with the assumed permission of the Commander of the New Model Army Thomas Fairfax, and his deputy Cromwell, Colonel Thomas Pride forcibly expelled members of Parliament, whom the New Model Army found objectionable, thus ensuring that the monarchy would be abolished.
Colonel Thomas Pride's Purge of Parliament paved the way for the abolition of Monarchy in Britain.
But, this did not settle the question of what to do with the King. While the Army Grandees (leaders) opposed, at least at first, trying the King, growing radical sentiment fueled support for a trial of Charles I. But, the King’s continued refusal to compromise under any circumstances led most of the Army leaders, most importantly Oliver Cromwell, to support putting the King on trial. Although this was opposed by Fairfax and other old Parliamentarians, the New Model Army largely got on board with the idea. Their puppet Parliament, now called the Rump (meaning smaller offshoot) Parliament, which while still being an extension of the Long Parliament that dated back to after the Bishops’ Wars, did as the Army said. Thus, Parliament established a “High Court of Justice” to try the King, and, despite the Court’s unpopularity, the High Court decided to execute the King for abusing his mandate. While Fairfax refused to sign the death warrant, Cromwell and his allies, such as Henry Ireton, Edmund Ludlow, and Thomas Harrison all signed the warrant, while John Lambert was a supporter. This reflected the new reality that while Fairfax was still the leader, Cromwell was becoming the political voice of the Army. Thus, as King Charles’s reign came to a definitive end, the former 3 Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland would begin a new course - one without the King…
General Oliver Cromwell was quickly becoming the dominant force of the New Model Army and has been thrust into a position of power after Pride's Purge & the Execution of Charles.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Explanation of the Series -
Alright so, as you can probably see, the series will start soon after the death of King Charles. While Charles the 2nd was still running around France and Spain, for the sake of simplicity, we'll only have events from the point of view of the Commonwealth. The series will have something of an end-state, stopping when either some force in the Commonwealth or King Charles II secures power after the death of Cromwell. Obviously, this first post was for background, to help set the stage for the series. The next post will start off with the Levellers and it will go up until someone takes over for good. Not every post will have a poll to it, as some will obviously be lore posts, (ie a military decision or dissolving a parliament), but most of them will be polls. The questions posed for the poll are going to be from someone's perspective, usually either a person like Cromwell or an institution like the New Model Army. Since a series hasn't been done like this, to my knowledge, I'm excited to see where this goes. Please let me know if you want to be pinged for the series.
2023.06.04 09:45 Lux_much Bitwise Furlough ,based in Bakersfield, California, update on how to deal with troubles (my team is on Oahu).
2023.06.04 02:57 DrySeaworthiness9507 RIP Caleb Rowley
2023.06.04 01:33 Hyperballadatopos The amazing, but tragic story of Princess Isabella of Parma, a very young lesbian, feminist princess from the 1760s! This story sounds like a movie, but it’s all true.
I just thought I will share this historical person’s story. Ever since I’ve heard this story for the first time, I’ve been fascinated by it. So, are you ready for the most amazing, but saddest historical story ever? Here it is (mostly from Wikipedia):
Isabella Maria Ludovica was born on 31 December 1741 at Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid, Kingdom of Spain as the first child of Infante Philip of Spain and his wife, born Marie Louise Élisabeth of France. At age 18, she was forced to marry a man for political reasons: Maria Theresa, Holy Roman Empress followed a marriage policy intending to strengthen the relationship between the Houses of Bourbon and Habsburg. When Maria Theresa's eldest son and heir, Archduke Joseph came of age, he was presented with a list and portraits of marriageable princesses fitting his mother's political goals and he picked Isabella.
After the wedding, it became apparent that while Joseph fell in love with her, she did not reciprocate his feelings, remained reserved towards him and found more fulfillment in her relationship with her sister-in-law, Archduchess Maria Christina, 'Marie' or 'Mimi'. The two quickly developed a very close relationship and spent so much time together that they earned a comparison with Orpheus and Eurydice. Despite living in the same place, they exchanged countless letters and small notes in French. Only those written by Isabella have survived (those of Marie were burned after her death) but even these amount to almost two hundred.
The two sisters-in-law liked each other from the time they met, but it seems that Isabella was also romantically and sexually attracted to Marie early on. The latter's feelings developed more gradually. Maria Christina was most likely bisexual: when she met Isabella, she was recovering from her love for Louis Eugene of Württemberg, after their relationship had been ended by her mother who considered him inferior to an archduchess.
In the beginning of their relationship, she addressed Marie formally, but soon started calling her mon cher ange, 'my dear angel', mon plus précieux trésor, 'my most precious treasure', ma consolation, 'my consolation', and many other nicknames. She also regularly portrayed the two of them as a heterosexual couple, in these depictions, Marie was Eurydice and her was Orpheus. The two women agreed on dates in hidden places. If the weather prevented Joseph going on a scheduled hunt, the sisters-in-law cancelled their date in hurried, disappointed notes. Isabella once wrote: “I am told that the day begins with God. I, however, begin the day by thinking of the object of my love, for I think of her incessantly.”
They were also clearly worried to keep their relationship a secret, with Isabella writing a letter in March 1761 to remind Marie of her 'given word' not to ever talk of something, „for there is nothing in the world as shameful as going against nature”. While earlier historians dismissed the heated language of these letters as a fashionable, overly emotional expression of friendly love, (who surprising…), later it became consensus that the two had a secret lesbian affair. In the 19th and 20th century, a few historians tried to publish the censored versions of the letters, leaving out the parts that proved that they've been more than friends. We had to wait until 2008 to have the whole thing published. They censored parts like these:
"All that occupies me at this hour is to say if I could only see her, what sweetness it would be, what happiness, what inner satisfaction I would feel, if I could only contemplate that nose turned with such grace and attractiveness, which has so often carried me away, that mouth so suited to console with its kisses, those eyes whose language is so touching. I forget where I am, I forget those with whom I am. I think only of this new desire that I seek to satisfy, whatever the price."
"I love thee like a madwoman, in a holy way or diabolically, I love you and will love you to the grave."
"The face is a little sick, but your favourite place is not."
Isabella was a very intelligent and well-educated woman especially interested in philosophy, morality, music, history, physics, and metaphysics. She was also artistically inclined, painted, drew, sang, played the violin (something rare even among men), and wrote poems and studies. She studied mechanics, worked on various machinery, and enjoyed doing sports. She distributed much of her income to the poor.
Her physical appearance was the opposite of fashionable among noble ladies: she had olive skin and short hair. (!)
Isabella was also „melancholic”, as depression was known in the 18th century. Despite her usual liveliness and love of sports, she had sudden periods of being unable to move and sitting in her place staring in front of herself. It has been suggested that her problems, probably a form of bipolar disorder, were hereditary. Her mother's death also had a horrible effect on her, and she soon became convinced that she would not live for more than four years from then. Burdened by her marriage, difficult pregnancies and homosexual desires, she became suicidal. She admitted in a letter that she would feel 'great temptation' to commit s_icide if it was not forbidden by the church. As reasons for this she listed that she felt she was good for nothing, only did bad things, and saw no way for her salvation.
It seems that Marie was the great love of Isabella's life, who was not romantically or sexually attracted to her husband, but Marie looks to have been more reserved but did return her feelings. This inequality made Isabella unhappy in the relationship, while their shared perception of homosexuality as sinful led to feelings of guilt. Isabella also felt guilty because she did not return the love of her husband and properly fulfill her duty as a wife. This worsened her depression and convinced her that the only solution was death. She wrote to Marie that „only the Almighty knows how gladly I would part with this life in which grievance is inflicted upon Him daily”.
As an archduchess, it was her duty to produce an heir as quickly as possible, and everyone except for her was delighted when she became pregnant in late 1761. While not enthusiastic about pregnancy, she was still relieved that she did not disappoint her family. Her pregnancy was especially difficult with many physical symptoms accompanied by depression and a lingering fear of death. This was only worsened by her inexperienced husband not understanding her problems.
On 20 March 1762, she gave birth to a daughter. The court rejoiced at the birth of the imperial couple's first grandchild, and Joseph especially adored the baby. How Isabella felt about her child is unknown, but she only made one fleeting mention of her in her most intimate correspondence, and a friend said that her love for her child 'did not show much on the exterior'.
Soon, she was pregnant again, miscarrying in August 1762, and once more in January 1763. Maria Theresa was so worried by this that she counseled Joseph to wait for six months before trying for a son again, so that Isabella could recover. She became extremely thin, had a continuous dry cough, and experienced pain in her sides. Her pregnancies and especially her miscarriages had deepened her depression, which in turn eroded her will to live. Her death anxiety was aggravated by the well-known risks of child birth.
Isabella left many writings from the time of her marriage, analysing her life, her philosophy and the state of the world around her. She wrote her own, humorous autobiography under the title Les Aventures de l'étourderie, 'The Adventures of Amazement'. In her "Christian Reflections", she contemplated many religious questions and especially death.
Isabella also wrote a highly critical piece examining the status and behaviour of men in highly patriarchal contemporary European society, titled Traité sur les hommes ('Treatise on Men'). She argued that women were at least as good and capable as men if not better and mocked the male sex. Somewhat humorously, she described men as 'useless animals' only existing to 'do bad things, be impatient, and create confusion'. Based on her experiences, she concluded that men 'deprived of feelings, only loved themselves'. In her opinion, a man is born to think, but instead spend their lives 'with entertainment, yelling, playing heroes, running up and down, in other words, doing nothing but what flatters his vanity or requires no thought of him'.
She summarised why, in her opinion, men were nevertheless above women in society: firstly, so that their 'faults can make [women's] virtues shine brighter', secondly to become better every day, and, thirdly, 'to be endured in the world, from which, if they did not hold all power in their hands, they would be exiled entirely'. In conclusion, Isabella argued that the 'slavery' of women is caused by men sensing that women are superior to them.
One of Isabella's writings is a study titled „The Fate of Princesses”, in which she wrote that princesses were the 'victim of the a minister's unfortunate policies', saying that it was for some public good. She criticised the idea of allying countries through marriages, saying that this cannot lead to a lasting alliance. „They want to marry her off. She is therefore condemned to leave everything behind, her family, her homeland, and for whom? For a stranger, for a person whose character and way of thinking she does not know, for a family who will perhaps only look at her with jealousy, but in the best case with suspicion”.
Her "Reflections on Education" was Isabella's rejection of the traditional upbringing of children, and specifically a condemnation of the cruel tutors of her brother, as well as of their parents who put them in charge. In Isabella's opinion, the use of violence against children only reveals the adult's lack of understanding and talent in pedagogy. Instead of these methods, which she said had been gaining in popularity, she argued for kindness. (Again, remember, we are in the mid 18th century..…)
In 1763, she was heavily pregnant again, and reports of smallpox cases were made around Vienna. Isabella developed a fever, and it soon became clear that she had caught the disease. The fever induced labour three months early, and on 22 November, she gave birth to a second daughter. The baby was baptised as Maria Christina, as Isabella had requested, but died the same day.
Following the birth, Isabella was rarely conscious, but displayed a courage bordering on indifference. On 26 November, the doctors had to tell Joseph that Isabella was agonising, and she died on the next day at dawn, one month and three days before just her 22nd birthday. There is no record of Marie's reaction to Isabella's death. She stayed next to her until the end, and took care of her daughter until the girl herself died at seven.
According to a letter by Maria Theresa, Isabella entrusted her papers to her mother-in-law shortly before her death, saying that 'not everything was viewable' for Joseph. In what could be called her last will and testament, Isabella wrote a long letter to Maria Christina. This was a part of her preparation for death, as she was certain that she would die young and even looked forward to this. The Conseils à Marie ('Advice to Maria') consisted mostly of descriptions of their family members, including Maria Theresa and Joseph. Those advises helped her to become the only one of the empress' children to choose her own spouse and marry for love as she married Prince Albert Casimir of Saxony and lived a happy life with him.
After Maria Christina’s death at age 56, a miniature of Isabella and her daughter was found in her prayer book. On its back, she had written the date and cause of Isabella's death and that she was her best and truest friend who had 'lived as an angel and died as an angel'.
So this was the story. And the most tragic part I believe is: imagine what her life could’ve been in our lives, in the times of gay marriage, feminism, antibiotics, therapy, etc.. Just imagine how happy her life could’ve been. I’ve been fascinated by this story for a long time. How did this girl end up in the 1760s? She lived in the times of George Washington! She should be a historical heroine on Sappho level.
I really believe that her life should not be forgotten and I wish more people knew about her.
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2023.06.04 01:28 Rumil360 [EVENT] The Friar’s Fight
Babylonian Captivity, Freedom of a Christian, and Luther’s Patmos August-October, 1519 Germany
“Your majesty, a second polemical has hit the printing press”
Even before the faithful of Germany had time to digest Luther’s first polemical, To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, a second work landed on their desks. Luther’s hand must’ve cramped ten times over given how quickly the printers received and published his Latin and German versions of On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church.
In it, Luther accuses the Catholic Church and the papacy of keeping the church in captivity, equating Rome with the biblical Babylon that exiled the Israelites from their homeland, holding them captive in Babylon. According to Luther, the pope was holding the church in captivity through the use of the sacramental system and Catholic theology. It was a radical attack on the sacraments, and with one stroke he felled sacerdotalism by limiting the pillars of the faith from seven to two, leaving only the Lord’s Supper and baptism. The principle which dictated this reduction was that a sacrament must have been directly instituted by Christ and must be distinctively Christian. It would demolish the caste system of clericalism and empower civil courts’ jurisdiction over monastics and ecclesiastics, claiming “Christian brotherhood has expired and shepherds have become wolves”. Most seriously, he rejected the mass, the focal point of the entire Roman Catholic institution.
Though mostly a theological thesis, the second writing would be published in concurrence with the German Synod of Mainz, called by Elector-Archbishop Hermann von Wied. No doubt the timing was not coincidental, and Luther’s writing would, of course, be brought forth as a point of discussion despite the Papal censure of Doctor Luther.
However, despite expectations that he would want a platform to attend and proselytize at the Synod, something far different transpired.
Luther had vanished from his post in Frankfurt-on-the-Oder August 2nd before publication of the work.
In reality, As the pressure mounted from Rome on his Imperial Majesty Charles V, Luther had sent letters to Innsbruck and Rome both imploring for an opportunity to be tried by Caesar, that is to say secular authority. After receiving only the Papal Bull and the request that his two most favorable princes, Joachim of Brandenburg and Johann of Saxony appear before his Majesty, Luther feared for the worst.
Luckily, however, the two electors had met at a feast following the Wittenberg Disputation and determined a course of action to protect the monk. Despite Joachim’s firm adherence to weekly mass, confession, and other Catholic practices, the Brandenburger felt he should harbor Luther. The House of Hohenzollern felt slighted by the church after thrice repeated snubbing of his brother Albert for lofty positions in the church, and he himself saw the potential for political gain by keeping the monk. In reality, it was Joachim who had fabricated a threat against Luther’s life in 1517 to draw him to Berlin and out of Saxony’s domain. He offered Luther near dictatorial powers over the Alma Mater Viadrina and safe passage in all his travels. His plan had come to fruition, though what he had started had been far beyond what the elector anticipated. And now, though in cohort with the Elector Johann, he planned some more.
Rome would soon be pursuing Father Martin. Innsbruck too, potentially, which would include an Imperial ban. No, that could bring ruin down upon Brandenburg, Saxony. Too Luther too, it could end his work, and though Luther had already written and said many times over that he would be ready to die for his beliefs if necessary, he needed to complete the foundations of a new church, a new theology that would glorify Christ and not man. Therefore, when Joachim proposed the plan, Luther reluctantly accepted after much convincing.
In the dead of night, Father Martin vanished from Frankfurt-Oder, and traveled on horseback out of the city while disguised. Under the name Junker Jörg, the friar would ride from the university he had come to appreciate to an undisclosed location where he would be holed up to weather the coming storm.
Students immediately noticed the doctor’s absence and word spread quickly. Many suspected treachery until the sweltering August day when On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church surfaced.
I’m a bit busy and need to get this post out ASAP so… Luther also publishes his third polemic from his hiding spot: On the Freedom of a Christian Man. The treatise developed the concept that as fully forgiven children of God, Christians are no longer compelled to keep God's law to obtain salvation; however, they freely and willingly serve God and their neighbors. Luther also further develops the concept of justification by faith. In the treatise, Luther stated, "A Christian man is the most free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian man is most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.”
The break from Rome has begun in earnest.
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2023.06.03 18:17 throwawaymcat12 Sanity check for final school list? High stats, good ECs, maybe some red flags
Hey everyone! Posting this WAMC from a throwaway just because it has more personal details. I had done a WAMC on SDN and here before, but the school list seemed really top heavy, and also there are apparently people out there with 10-30 publications 💀. Hoping to just get some final feedback before I submit.
GPA: cGPA: 3.82 and sGPA: 3.74, B.S. in Biochemistry, minor in chemistry
Demographics: URM white hispanic (so marking white and mexican), bisexual.
Illinois residency, ties to Ohio and Michigan
School type: T40 private, primarily paid for with merit scholarships, grants, and work during school
Clinical (all volunteer): 200 hrs EMT emergency response (over 2 years), 700 hrs with a free clinic working primarily with AA and hispanic populations (over 2 years), doing patient assessments and vitals
Research: Roughly 1,000 hrs at 2 labs (400 hrs at first, 600 at second) with 2 first-author presentations at local school conferences from the 2nd lab
Shadowing: 32 hrs shadowing an anesthesiologist, 32 hrs primary care physician
Non-clinical volunteering (most impactful):
I have to double check because it's my part-time gap year work, but it's probably over 2,000 hours at this point over 3 years and my gap year. All my hours have been as a volunteer and now as a director for a 100-person social justice and government policy non-profit. As a volunteer, I largely worked with hispanic and AA students by going into local schools and helping host sessions to discuss issues affecting local students and their communities (food deserts, lack of internet access, LGBTQ issues, etc), as well as leading laptop and internet hotspot distribution programs that gave students hundreds of devices.
As I worked up in leadership, I got more involved in the policy side of things. I've been the director of our national townhall series, which are events hosted with national political leaders. I coordinated and ran the events for townhalls with all the candidates for Cleveland's mayoral election (including incumbent mayor), the candidates for Congresswoman for our national congressional district, and our state's Secretary of State. All these events primarily focused on lack of internet access in our city and have had around 5,000 attendees in total. I also later helped to manage the school program mentioned in the first paragraph, which has worked with over 6,000 students across 40 different schools in the area.
Finally, I helped get legislation passed at the state level, entailing over $200 million in internet broadband funding from the Federal Government for our state. This entailed writing up a policy white paper, going to the state capital to talk to the State congress, discussing the issues and details with the bill's sponsor, and working with another policy research non-profit. This ultimately created the BroadbandOhio program, which I've been working with for the last year on additional legislation for Ohio. I've also been involved with our grant process and have applied for and managed about $200,000 in grant funding.
Other extracurricular activities (including athletics, military service, gap year activities, leadership, teaching, etc):
Biology TA for 2 years, resident assistant and senior resident assistant for 3 years, emergency dispatcher for one year, and led a large campus board for 3 years.
This board involved me leading and overseeing about 13 student organizations and 1,000 students, working directly with administration on student issues related to media. I also wrote up a report and created a new student center through the conversion of an old building; got about $300,000 in funding from administration for it and the board itself had about $500,000 in annual budget that I managed directly. Board was advised by an associate dean that I'm close with. I also have some minor leadership in comparison to the campus board and non-profit work.
Relevant honors or awards:
Won two national awards, about $15,000 in scholarships, several campus awards, and featured on the news for the non-profit; won a campus award and a $1,000 prize for leading the student center project. Some other minor stuff like Dean's list and around $10,000 for research funding over 2 summers from 2 separate grants.
Anything else not listed you think might be important:
Letter writers will be the biology professor I took a class with and later TA'd for; nutrition professor I took several classes and a graduate research seminar with; physics professor I had for a small class and who liked my non-profit work; founder and former CEO of the non-profit I'm on the board for; and dean for the student board.
Got 2 Cs in Calc 2 and Ochem 1 freshman year and a withdrawal from an economics class during sophomore year (got a concussion and just general difficulties with adapting to college). However, I've had a near 4.0 since then, with As in Ochem 2, 4 physics courses, and 2 upper division calculus courses. Finally, my school offers a committee letter but, because of a change I had to make in my application, it'll be delayed until SeptembeOctober because my school normally submits them in August. Because of that, I've decided to go with individual letters, which I know is a negative and a knock against me, but I'd rather have the guarantee of submitting early with my own letters. I also will not have a PI letter of recommendation and research will not be one of my MMEs (the student board, non-profit, and free clinic will be)
I primarily want to target T20 ish schools (maybe want to do a competitive specialty) in the Midwest/Northeast in urban areas (I do bike and transportation advocacy as a hobby, so they're very important to me) and apply to around 20-30 schools, hopefully with merit money.
Washington University in St. Louis
University of Iowa
University of Michigan
University of Cincinnati
University of Pittsburgh
University of Rochester
Maybe: NYU, Stanford, Penn, JHU, Jefferson, Boston, George Washington, Brown
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2023.06.03 06:44 ManiaforBeatles The former Daegu Jeil Church hall built in 1933 now used as the Christian History Museum of the First Presbyterian Church of Daegu, Jung District, Daegu [1440×1800]
2023.06.02 12:25 Rhion-618 Just One Drop - Ch 88
Chapter 88 - From All I Believed
Morning, Two days before Shel
Captain Setar suppressed a smile as she watched the Ops door close. “Well, that was interesting… Ce’lani is a little cranky.” The last vestiges of sleep clung to her as she settled down into the command chair. She felt worn out, but it was the cusp of dawn, and Pod Seven had only just turned over control. “Report on station?”
“The perimeter’s secure,” Jelki replied crisply, pulling up the map of the campus on the main screen. “Pod One is on station and reports twelve by twelve. Sgt Ma’reis is already complaining about janitor duty.”
“Ah, first pod problems.” Setar shook her head, rubbing her eyes and blowing gently on her mug of tea. “What about the objective?”
“The objective’s secure,” Re’lan piped up, already sounding chipper. The woman could have been priestess of Jrafell. Her unwavering cheeriness would have been a character fault if she weren’t so devoted. As it was, it was a damned penance for everyone else at this time of day.
Jelke finished running the obligatory shift change checks and stretched. Things wouldn't get interesting until breakfast, but watching the perimeter was a given. It didn't keep the curiosity out of her voice, as she cocked her head and glanced over. “What was interesting with Captain Ton’is, Ma’am?”
“Mm! Well… it appears she’s expecting a call from Professor Warrick today,” Setar drawled out, taking a moment to savor their reaction. “She felt a need to remind me she’s devoted to Hele, and that if Be’ona or I let her sleep through the call, she’s going to ‘fuck us up the ass with a lasrifle and pull the trigger’.”
Re’lan was probably blushing like a cadet, but Jelke shook her head ruefully. “I expect there's a ‘but’ in there somewhere, Captain?”
“Well, yeah, she said that’s where the rifle would go…” Setar sniggered before taking a long sip from her tea, and slid a bit lower in the command couch. Her eyes wandered to the traffic on the board. “She also made it clear what’ll happen if anybody listens in.”
Thoughtful silence descended. Setar almost counted to twelve before-
“We’re going to anyway, right Captain?” Jelke asked nonchalantly. “You know, for security’s sake?”
“Sergeant, that would be a base infringement of Captain Ton’is’ privacy, which is in fucking short supply for everyone in this bunker.” She rubbed her chin thoughtfully, watching the steam rise from her mug. “Deeps right we are.”
_ _ _
Lady Wicama regarded her guest with interest as their autocab plied its way about the outskirts of Prelitauri. While she’d been free and cheerfully able to accommodate Khelira’s request, Monsignor Santino Barcio, or Friar Barcio, as he preferred, was not at all what she’d been expecting. She supposed it was a matter of exposure…
The Palace had never quite been the same since Princess Yn’dara’s wedding. Yn’dara was one of those odd Royals who, though well-regarded, was seldom in the public eye. A perennial favorite of the Empress, indulging her unexplained absences passed as a matter of course for the Court. Widely known to be estranged from her mother, Princess Arduina, no one enquired either deeply or often, so when she suddenly resurfaced, her return would have equally passed without comment… if not for the wedding.
Yn’dara had shocked the entire Nobility.
While it was common for any woman to marry into an established family and become a kho, the wedding should have been singular for a Princess. Princesses didn’t marry into families, Princesses formed them. And while Yn’dara technically had done so, she’d taken on three unmarried women at the same time as her husband, who was a Human! Favorite or no, the wags in the court were agog that the Empress accepted Adam so readily! The Empress, however, had been adamant; Yn’dara and her family had her blessings, and were to be left alone.
However, time had proven to be on Yn’dara’s side as well as the Empress.
After a wedding seen across the galaxy, Yn’dara’s family settled into a life of public duty. They spent long trips away from Shil, and while quietly dismissed as ‘pleasure excursions’, her trips often showed the throne to the outer provinces. Although her public engagements were few, she’d become a vocal advocate of the Empress’ reforms against graft and corruption, and, gradually, the jealous mutters about scandalous excess and Human debauchery faded away. Her marriage remained an unusual footnote, but time had demonstrated the value of Yn’dara and her wives to the throne.
Then there was Prince Adam.
Rumor held the Prince had made a favorable impression on the Empress years before, at an event hosted by Yn’dara’s mother. While details had never been forthcoming, a more significant story about Adam wafted briefly through the ranks of the Golden Glaives.
Both stories had been effectively silenced, but Wicama knew who to talk to, and being Khelira’s guardian carried a certain clout all its own. Though that influence waxed and waned over the years, raising Khelira required being aware of events that could shape her future, and she’d proven herself to be discreet. Over time, doors had opened and words had flowed.
Time had been on Prince Adam’s side, as well.
As the years passed, she’d had an exposure to Prince Adam that few of the court and none of the public enjoyed. She’d been wary at first, but he’d been a good friend and mentor to Princess Khelandri before she joined the Marines, and however infrequent his presence, he always displayed a keen mind, a loving heart, and a steadfast duty to his wives. Privately, he absolutely doted on young Khelira and possessed a loyalty to the Empress that you could bend battlesteel around. The two got along famously - after all, he was a veteran.
Not Navy, mind you, but you couldn’t have everything.
And so, as Humanity began making forays upon the galactic stage, her first impression of the species had been favorable. She’d witnessed Adam mature into his role with the court, and while the issue of children remained unspoken, that faded as well. At the time, Yn’dara had been sixth in the line of succession. A year after the wedding, Kamaud’re became an adult, followed a year later by Khelandri, and the matter became largely moot.
As for a second impression on Humans, Khelira had provided enthusiastic reports about Thomas Warrick. While the Princess thrived at the Academy, Warrick seemed to be something special.
The absence of a father in her life had been a void that no woman could properly fill, but she’d done her best. Although she’d entertained a few qualms, as the months passed by, Warrick remained a positive influence. Khelira’s messages were infrequent by necessity, but she’d written about her distress over Warrick’s family and clearly been moved. Prince Adam carried his own scars, but what veteran didn’t? He hid them carefully around Khelli, and if Warrick had chosen not to, he’d provided a useful sense of perspective, instead. It was time for Khelira to grow up, and that meant facing the grist of differing opinions and ugly realities. That was what education was actually for, and Warrick seemed to be doing admirably well as a grindstone.
All of that was before the library incident, which settled her opinion once and for all. While erratic, irreverent, and capable of violence, Humans clearly could be a positive influence when channeled in the right direction. Yn’dara had shown what a good Shil’vati woman was capable of with Prince Adam, and Lady Pel’avon was following suit.
And at least the wags at the Palace wouldn’t speak of Yn’dara’s state wedding again. As a subject for spectacle, Miv’eire Pel’avon’s had put it to shame.
Still, it was good to see Warrick married. While Professor Ha’meres scandalous exploits had faded from the public eye, older wo… more mature women didn’t forget such things. The man had been a daring adventurer - and an inveterate gadabout - and an unmarried man around that many young women was too tempting for some girls. A wife or two… preferably more… resolved such idle fancies. If the Pel’avon ceremony had been somewhat… questionable in taste, compared to Adam’s, it remained legally binding. Warrick was willing to settle down, and by all reports his wife had a proper sense of decorum.
Human men seemed to be a trial from the Goddess, but hopefully she and her kho-wife could sort him with time, love, and kindness.
While exposure to only two Humans was not what she’d call a comprehensive sample, in both cases her impressions had been quite positive. And so, when Khelli asked her to escort a Human Priest about the city, she’d been entirely willing.
Thus far, it had been an enjoyable morning. While there had been occasional missteps, their conversation had been delightful as they traveled from property to property. Even so, she hadn’t expected to meet such a kindred spirit.
Admittedly she’d stammered a bit when he mentioned eating the flesh and drinking the blood of his redeemer. On the other hand, she compared it to the first time she’d bled into the ocean, mingling salt in her blood with the seas. He’d turned shockingly pale, so she changed the subject. It was a purely symbolic act to Drepna - just a cut on the thumb, for goddess sake...
She’d taken extra care afterwards. Barcio could be clearly a sensitive male, but diplomacy was part of her work. Even calling her role ‘work’ was deceptive. She’d raised Khelira in every way an Empress could not.
It was easy for other women to appreciate the prestige of her position, but few understood the depth of it - or the satisfaction.
During her career in the Navy, her flotilla had provided direct support for the Empress, and they’d come to work closely over three tours. After Khelira’s birth years later, the invitation came from the Royal Household to act as her guardian, and she’d never looked back. Competition had been fierce for the prestigious position, but applying had been the best move of her life.
Empress Kamilesh loved all her children and had spent as much time with each of them as she could, but her work was all-consuming, and after her husband’s act of… Well, the Empress had been there, but she’d born her pain privately. She had lost herself in her work for many years before recovering a semblance of her former self, and her absence had taken a toll on her children. Kamaud’re had taken it the worst. Khelandri had bounced back, while everyone doted on Lu’ral. Barely more than an infant, Khelira had been far too young to remember. Wicama had been there through all of it.
It was a good life, and the princess was a delightful girl. For Wicama, the absence of a man in her life was something she’d felt now and then, but she invested her life in Khelira. The Empress treated her as a member of the family in all but name… and in a very real sense, the child you raised was your child.
Looking back, some women might insinuate she’d given up her personal life to raise another woman’s daughter. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
She had her calling - just as Friar Barcio had his.
Yes, he was a priest, and his religious strictures were very unusual. A male priest in any of the Shil’vati faiths would never be placed under such restraints, and for a man to go unmarried was noteworthy…
But she understood having a calling. Oh yes, she understood that as few others could.
After discussing his needs, they’d set out to examine three properties around Prelitauri. The Friar’s individual requirements were deceptively difficult when taken as a whole. A complex coupling a generous auditorium, ample administrative space, and he clearly needed substantial grounds to properly convey a sense of aura. Such accommodations were seldom on the market, and since he expected his colleagues to arrive in weeks, his need was immediate.
Thankfully, urban renewal moved in waves. The tides of such fashions meant Prelitauri was once again an up-and-coming area. While difficult to find, three older structures had the potential to be suitable, and so it was that she’d enjoyed learning about her guest as they explored the tiny district.
The Monsignor spoke four other Earth languages fluently. He tended to break into his native tongue and hadn’t mastered contractions yet, but his Vatikre was passable and he listened carefully, seldom needing to ask about a word. After limiting her contractions when she spoke, their conversation flowed easily.
Barcio had shown little enthusiasm for the first two properties, but their conversation regarding other matters never waned. She expanded on her devotion to Drepna, Shil and the roles of each goddess while asking careful questions of his faith. His own inquiries proved thoughtful, and he was as avid in politely asking after her beliefs as explaining his faith.
After their second hour together, she’d taken the liberty of calling Prelate Hi’meta Merlamiss. As a priestess of Drepna’s second circle, Merlamiss had proven a valuable contact over the years. Well connected, she enjoyed a good relationship with many other prelates of the Divine Halls; she also got on well with Xinfess, the Rakiri’s Speaker of the Dark Mother on Shil. A meeting with Barcio would readily open doors for his group that might otherwise prove difficult to attain, and while Barcio’s accent strained now and then, it was clear the Monsignor and the Prelate shared a questionably low sense of humor.
Given a chance, they’d probably get on famously.
Certainly, that would be a blessing. Their hunt for a suitable facility had not gone nearly so well, and while Barcio had been conciliatory toward the first two facilities, she could tell he wasn’t taken with either. The last property wasn’t high in her expectations, so she found herself casting her head to the side when it swept into view and he clasped his hands in excitement.
”*È bella!* This is beautiful,” he exclaimed. “It reminds me a bit of my childhood home in Sacile!”
She looked out at the complex with its low gabled roofs, as their cab wound up from the entrance. Beside the drive, a small river meandered through the campus past the main buildings. She tapped the console to slow their ride and considered the place in a new light. “I’m… well, a bit surprised to be honest, Friar.”
“Please! We have been traveling for hours now, and I am not holding a service.” The Friar spared her a warm smile, before gazing back at the premises. “I would take it as a great kindness if you would call me Santino.”
“Very well - on the condition you call me Wicama.” It had been some time since anyone called her by anything but title or rank, and the informality was pleasant. Still, as their autocab closed on the end of the lane, she let such thoughts go and considered the location properly.
The buildings were low, sensible cubes, but that was largely an end to it. The architect had made some unusual choices in Helkam motifs that strained understanding. A long colonnade bordered the river, and that seemed nice enough, but the buildings! Forgoing purple was one thing, but they were beige! With unusual elements and the repressively bland color scheme, it was small wonder the clerk handling the property confessed that the space had lain vacant. Its original owners went into foreclosure. The exotic design had proven unable to attract interest, laying dormant ever since.
Barcio… Santino… seemed delighted, however, and she pulled up the specifications on her omni-pad. “This site has two smaller auditoriums besides the main one, while the central building has four floors. One is underground, but all the floors face an interior atrium.”
As the cab gently halted in the car park, she climbed out to hold the door but Santino had already scrambled out and was examining the gardens with evident interest. Tall stands of parago trees were losing the last of their fronds for the year, but she had to admit the grounds were substantial. Yesterday’s storm had left the morning air cold and crisp, lending the gardens an appealing aspect. Untended since the last owners, much could be done with them.
She had given up trying to escort the Friar anywhere after their first two stops, and now they fell into an easy pace side by side as they strolled toward the main building. She turned back to the property itself. “So, this reminds you of your home?”
It wasn’t exactly Helkam architecture - domes weren’t covering every possible surface - but the builder had clearly been nodding in that direction. A promenade wound to the entry, supporting white chevrons that arced into the sky. The bright morning sky shone through clever cutouts, making the unusual design at least look light, rather than oppressive and unappealing. With a decent renovation, the facility had possibilities, and the price was comparatively low.
“*Si!* Oh, not so much like home, but there is the sense of it. I was born near the sea, and this feels… similar.” He gave her a depreciating smile before rolling his eyes. “It may not please everyone who is coming, but ‘everyone’ is not here, so I am allowed some indulgence! Better to have something waiting than nothing at all. I confess, some of my colleagues thought we’d only manage when the bridge to Messina is finished.”
“You should not have been sent ahead alone! Surely your colleagues were not that worried about a poor reception,” she tutted. Priest or no, there were decencies about a man traveling alone to be observed. “You shouldn't need a bridge to find a place for your mission. I don’t know where Messina is, but I’m certain Prelate Marlemis wouldn’t stand for it!”
“Tch! Excuse my poor efforts! The older I get, the more I remember things like yesterday. Unfortunately, the yesterdays I remember so well were thirty years ago!” Barcio smiled wryly up at her as they walked. “The ‘bridge to Messina’ used to be a saying… People dreamed of building a bridge to Sicily, and it became something that never happened. My English friends would instead say ‘when hell freezes over’. *Un'espressione volgare*, but very much to the point.”
“Ah… I’m sure we can manage something, and this could be made presentable. Maybe change the beige to a pale violet?” she offered helpfully as she made it to the door first, holding it open. “The aura inside isn’t so bad.”
“You’ve said that several times, but I do not know what you mean?” He paused in looking around the entry, which had an open foyer exposing the two floors above and led out to the atrium beyond. “What is ‘aura’? I do not think I know the word as you mean it.”
“Aura is… Hmm…” Wicama paused thoughtfully and gestured at the atrium. The interior was in better shape than the grounds, and the architect had done something clever. Not yet noon, a bevel along the top edge filled the space with sunlight. “Have you ever walked along a beach and wanted to save a shell? When you are there, that is aura… When you take the shell home and think of the beach, that is aura, but… less focused. Diminished. You sense the beach because of the shell, but you are not at the beach. Places can have aura, but it is more than character. If you move through a place and find yourself experiencing it? That is aura.”
“Mhm! *lodevole!* I like this idea very much. It would be right at home in the Vatican. Not everyone understands a space can move the spirit, or lend power to a message.” He nodded thoughtfully as he cast his eye about the open space. “With the right advice, perhaps we can lead others to these halls.”
“Perhaps. If you tour the Palace, I hope you’ll allow me to show you about? A lot of the real gems are hidden from the public.” She watched as he wandered toward the double-helixed stairways bordering the room. Those were definitely Helkam; walking up one side without meeting someone coming down the other was an interesting experience… once. After that, they could be an absolute nuisance. Spotting the elevators, she called him back. “The nice thing is this place is inexpensive! That will pad out your funds for a good remodel.”
Wicama quietly thanked the Goddesses that the builder’s had the good sense to install normal Shil’vati-style elevators. The sides were open, granting a wide view out over the atrium. The grounds were terraced to create a small park; that could make the underground space bearable, and the plans made them seem spacious enough. Not to everyone’s taste, but pretty. “I feel bad for asking, but can you afford the building? If the price of the first two bothered you, we can find others.”
“I would not hear of it! Thank you for your concern, but we are economical with our funds, and were sent with a generous sum. This is an important venture to everyone involved,” Barcio clasped a hand over his chest, as he shook his head. “I can not thank you enough for your help! You have surely spared me weeks, and I might not have found something half so suitable. As it is, the grounds are enough to gain me converts. Father Roscio and Pastor Weber will surely plant a vineyard before the inside is half done!”
“It’s not a problem. I have plenty of time,” she replied, dismissing the matter as inconsequential. “I work at the Palace, but with the Court away and my daughter at school, I’m a bit at loose ends just now. At the very least, I insist on helping you through the paperwork. I wouldn’t put it past some realty clerks to try and overcharge you… Someone from outside Shil, that is. I’ll ensure they stick to the listing.”
“To someone not from Shil… or someone who is not Shil’vati, perhaps?” His head canted slightly to one side, but he smiled as he said it. “*Certamente!* I would not dream of preventing you, though Rabbi Kleinbaum will be bitterly disappointed she has nothing to moan about.”
“I hope you won't take this badly, as I’ve only met one Human.” Wicama gave him a smile. She was long past girlish uncertainty, and the Navy had taught her a generous measure of professional poise to go with her skills as a markswoman. “You aren’t what I expected.”
“You know the professore, then?” He sucked in a breath and pursed his lips. “I am still deciding what sort of man he is.”
“No, actually, I know another Human but I’ve not… I have not… met Professor Warrick.”
“So. You mean that I am not *un barbaro*? I am here to make sure that we are seen as something more than savage warriors, *capisci*?” He studied her expectantly. “While the Imperium is doing good work on Earth, some still live in want. The Imperium provides enough for all to survive, but not all live in plenty. We need to present ourselves well.”
”That seems like a very secular outlook.” She offered, as they rode up to the third floor. Barcio asked for an explanation of the word, and by the time they’d made their way through the first offices he had the idea.
“My church has not always troubled itself with such things, but our holy father is greatly concerned with such inequalities. He takes it upon himself to address such matters with the Governess, when their time allows.”
“Your church has a good relationship with her?”
“È straordinario! The Governess adores our food, and while she was adamant about taking quarters in the Vatican, she has taken pains not to disturb us.” He shrugged dismissively. “*Che vuoi farci?* It seemed a small price, and we have endured far worse.”
“I used to hear terrible stories about red zones on Earth, though the Humans I’ve met don't seem the sort. It is good that your… pulp?” She tried the word and was rewarded with kind laughter and a gentle correction. “It is good that your pope concerns himself with the full welfare of the people and works with your governess. Our prelates share the same concerns.”
“I thought the Empress was the head of your church? Now, I find you have many…” he groped for a word, frowning, and gave up. “*Questo accento è una prova di fede!* ‘Denominations’ is not the right word, but she is the one revered, yes?”
“Of course! The Empress has to show all of our virtues and none of our faults, but that’s part of her role. To favor any divinity over the others could cause divisions. She has her personal preferences, of course, but never lets them be known.” Wicama explained carefully. “It would be in poor taste.”
“And poor politics, I think?” Santino gave her a long look. At his height it was difficult, but he managed. “This makes sense to me now, that the Imperium leaves matters of faith alone. *Una benedizione inaspettata.*”
Despite the serious topic, his fervent reply brought a smile back to her lips. “It seems your pope considers politics as well as economics.”
“People will always defend economic theories which assume that growth will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice. This has never been confirmed by the facts, and expresses a crude trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” He said, stopping to clasp a hand over his cross. “Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”
“That doesn't sound like scripture.” She offered cautiously, as they made their way into a wider suite of offices on the second floor.
“*Esattamente.* The words of Pope Francis, a good and blessed man who appointed me to my position. His successor, his holiness John Paul the Third, is much of the same mind,” Santino said quietly. “Our savior washed the feet of others and urged all to do the same. The hardest step is to be involved. To work together for change, as well as to pray. That is why I am here.
“*I pigri di cuore trovano sempre una scusa* Some Humans, they are yet angry with the Imperium. Now they have enough, they are bitter not to have plenty. For some there is never enough - the true poverty lies within their hearts,” Santino said a bit testily. “Our faith teaches us to find salvation in eternal life, but others? *Pigrizia!* They see it as an excuse from taking agency in themselves. Jesus washed the feet of others - he did not lay down and wait for someone to wash his!”
Wicama turned the unfamiliar metaphor over in her mind but decided she had the sense of it. “Sham teaches us that helping our families and one another is the same as helping ourselves. ‘The rising tide bares us all from the reefs’.” It was a matter of faith… but that was why it was faith in the first place. On the whole, it seemed like a mature perspective that explained the changes she’d seen in Prince Adam over the years. “You’re here to meet with others, but this seems as much about knowing yourselves.”
“*Sì, non è una brutta cosa avere umiltà davanti a Dio.* Human beings, while we are capable of the worst, we are also capable of choosing the good. Of rising up to make a new start. We are entering the galaxy.” He gestured out the window at the world beyond. “If not now… when?”
_ _ _ “So, when are you going to explain this masterpiece you four have been cooking up?” Marin asked. Sammi and Sam were barely awake but the twins had already arrived, bright-eyed and enthusiastic, and Marin cursed the resilience of youth. The room was acceptably warm, but Ayen had complained about the cold and used the excuse to slip back into bed. She was considering her options for joining him.
Somewhere, somehow, Sammi had found their rabbit pajamas again. “Sam, explain it to her? You do it better.” Sammi yawned, but Marin suspected it was an act. Once something got their attention, sleep was usually an afterthought.
“What, now?” Sam had barely stumbled into the room and blinked. Bleary-eyed and barely awake, he looked like he’d been ambushed, which was exactly the case.
“Pllllllleeeease…?” They sat back pulling the ears, giving their best Roger Rabbit impression. Luminous green eyes peered out at Sam, imploringly.
“Alright… I need coffee, but fine.” Sam trudged over to the kitchenette and poked listlessly at the instant coffee. It was getting perilously low, but Marin was sure he’d brought more on the ship. Eventually Sam gestured at the K’herbhal sisters with his mug. “So the girls want to create an artificial topological soliton. It's like a black hole, except where it isn't… It's sort of a kink in space-time.”
“Made you say kink!” Sammi grinned impishly and the girls blushed. Marin shook her head but paid attention. It felt far too early after another late night, but once everyone was up you had to hang on for whatever came next.
“So, what's that got to do with this… hole you want to use for power?” Marin raised her voice just enough to drag the conversation back on track.
“It’s more like a side effect. If it cuts the right angle, it goes into a realm of space-time we can tap for power. Think of it as an obverse of an energy drain, so it's like a white hole.”
“Let me guess.” Marin shook her head and grinned, holding up a hand to forestall the inevitable. “Except where it isn’t?”
“Ummm… pretty much.” Sam grumbled, blowing at his coffee. Marin glanced back at the twins. With Sam busy, the twins had gravitated to either side of Sammi. There was room left on the couch, and she wandered over to settle in beside one of them.
The Sams had been complaining for years about a lack of ‘focal power’ for their mass compression technologies, and while a rubber duck inside a diamond was impressive, they’d wanted to do something more - a lot more. She suspected if the twins were providing the means, then they already had something about to surface from the depths of their imaginations. Over the years she’d learned to pick a bit, rather than take their answers at straight value. “And if things don’t cut at the right angle? You remember how long it took to get rid of the Navy, when you started talking about making black holes?”
“It's not our fault they didn’t understand,” Sammi said defensively, crossing their arms and pouting at her before the rabbit ears fell over their face.
“Who didn’t understand what?” Akeimei yawned at the door. She cast a wink her way before wrapping her arms around Sam and gave him a quick hug. “What did I miss?”
“Umm… a parallel universe, if the math is right,” Sam mumbled from the depths of his coffee cup.
“What? Like identical versions of us?” Marin watched Akimei’s nose wrinkled at the smell before she slipped away from Sam. Slipped down beside her, they rubbed shoulders a moment. “Tell me, is there one where I get more sleep?”
“More or less identical… though it's not like you need to go into a parallel universe for that sort of thing. There’s already a ‘you’ out there somewhere right now, to say nothing of past and future ‘you’.” Sam scratched his cheek idly for a moment “It's just the math. The universe is so vast that there are exact physical cosmic twins of us out there somewhere, not to mention even more almost-twins.”
“Sam’s right!” Sammi perked up excitedly, bouncing on the sofa. “Then there are quantum cosmic twins - which gets weird because particles exist in multiple states and you’d sort of overlap… but the easiest one is probably just another us elsewhere in the universe right now! That's sort of the point where the universe is bigger than you can imagine!”
“So exactly the same… or almost.” One of the twins giggled. “Just like us!”
“Pretty much,” Sam nodded, slowly emerging from the depths of his coffee. “Another you out there on another Shil, or another me on a whole Earth, even - just a little bit different.”
“What? Like an Earth that never met the Imperium?” Marin canted her head, tossing out the obvious. It was hard to remember her life before, and she didn’t want to contemplate the alternative.
“Oh, I don't like that idea.” One of the twins stuck out her lip. “We want to come to Earth!”
“Yeah,” her sister nodded, though she suddenly looked glum. “I don’t know if Professor Warrick would mind though. He’d be with his wife and daughter, there.”
“Oh…” her sister's face crumpled. “I didn’t think of it that way.”
“Well, don’t…” Sammi hugged them both a moment, though they held the first twin a bit tighter. “The point is, somewhere he’s with them right now!”
“Wow, I guess so.” she brightened. “Just imagine! A whole Earth that never met the Shil’vati!”
“I wouldn’t worry, sis.” her twin nodded. “I think Professor Warrick is pretty happy right now.”
_ _ _
“I am not happy about this!” Tom glared at his omni-pad before tossing it down in frustration.
Miv looked up at her husband.
“It’s an honor!” She tucked her chin in and gave him a long, considered look, “What is it that’s bothering you - really? It wasn't Monsignor Barcio. Are you certain this isn't the same sort of thing?”
“Yes, I’m sure!” he growled, looking away like a guilty child. “Alright, maybe… but this uniform is the silliest thing I’ve ever seen. I’ll look like a mushroom, and the hat only makes it worse!" Tom grimaced at the omni-pad accusingly, "They won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, so now I’m on the rolls as a Warden Captain - whatever that is - and this ceremony is ridiculous!”
“The ceremony is traditional. Very symbolic... Besides, they don't make wardens out of anyone below the rank of captain - I looked it up. You were one before, so it's appropriate to make you one instead of a Warden Major or Warden Colonel.” She smiled at him serenely. “Surely, it can’t be the worst thing you’ve ever done.”
He turned to wag a finger her way. “I’ll take that bet!”
“Worse than our wedding reception…?” She crooned, teasing him. “Or maybe pre-term night? I swear by the Goddess no one will pinch your ass, except for Lea and I.”
“Fine…” Her smile grew wider as he grumbled, but he was calming down already and there wasn't heat in it. Still, he stubbornly clung on to the point a while longer. "It’s in my top five.”
“I’m sure you’ll survive, husband. Now then, I have meetings all afternoon, so why don't you finish reviewing the menu? You’ll feel better when all this is over and you can go back to cooking, chess, or starting that eeeyiy club… You might even give Ce’lani a call or message her?” She gathered her coat and smiled demurely, though it harbored nothing innocent. “If I’m not here you’ll have perfect privacy… Just don't promise anything you wouldn't promise to me.”
“It’s iai-do…” Tom groused, but he was already picking up his omni-pad.
She blew him a kiss and made her way toward the commons. Tom would probably stew a while, but he’d make the call.
There would be time to meet with Ce’lani on the common, before she had to come home for dinner.
_ _ _
Tom looked over the banquet menu as if it might reach out and bite him. The words stared up at him with perfect innocence.
Appetizer: Fruit and Cheese Platter - Slices of various cheeses and fruits on a platter providing a delicate mix of sweet, tangy and creamy to invigorate the dining experience. Serve with a selection of sweet and semi-sweet wines.
Soup: Choice of Tomato or French Onion Soup - Served with a piece of baguette and cheese.
Salad: Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing -- an assortment of greens and fruit with a balsamic grain dressing to cleanse the palate.
Entree: Cornish Pasty - This herb-infused meat and pastry dish provides a counterpoint to the tangy taste of the salad and soup. Served with a creamy buttered mashed potato (a vegetable, humanely prepared!) with chives (also a vegetable). Served with a selection of wines or ales.
Dessert: Chef’s Sorbet Surprise - A sweet treat complemented by a palate cleanser, ending the meal on a piquant note.
His last call with Bherdin had been a trial and a half. Omni-pads were the definition of ‘high fidelity’, and hearing the little Shil’vati hyperventilate for ten minutes over the plan was pointless. At least Melondi had easier going with Vedeem on her side... one way or another this was happening.
As a final consolation, he relented on wearing matching suits. Bherdin frequently bemoaned Tom’s 'lamentable' fashion sense, and he perked up at that, promising to get him some appropriate formalwear for the occasion.
Privately, he suspected his Shil’vati friend was looking for a convenient alibi if a riot started.
In fairness, it probably wasn't a bad idea.
“Too late to use it myself…” he muttered. It wasn’t quite noon, and Miv was probably right. Instead of Chess Club or starting Iai-do practice or just cooking out at Human Food, he was stuck here at home. Miv’s place was bigger, but most of his stuff was still in boxes; it left him listless and climbing the walls. If this worked, at least things could get back to normal.
He flipped back to the picture of the Warden uniform on his omni-pad. It was bad enough, but the hat made the whole thing look like a blue toadstool in silver filigree.
He swiped the picture away like an act of revenge, but didn’t toss the pad back on the table.
…Miv was right... and I promised to call Ce’lani…
Tom centered himself, pulling up the number. The universe was always in motion and a good Taoist accepted their part in what came. That was the lesson of ‘the Vinegar Tasters’, and it held true… The painting showed three men standing around a vat of vinegar. Each has dipped his finger into the vinegar and tasted it. The expression on each man's face showed his individual reaction.
The painting was an allegory for Confucius, Buddha, and Lao-tse. Confucius wore a sour look on his face. He believed life was out of harmony with the universe. As the second figure in the painting, Buddha had a bitter expression. Like the vinegar, life was painful and filled with attachments and desires that led to suffering. The last man, Lao-tse, was smiling at the taste. To him, harmony existed naturally and could be found by anyone at any time in any experience.
He thought about his buddy Dave. The old Marine would probably shake his head and tell him to ‘embrace the suck.’ It pretty much boiled down to the same thing.
Not that he was against calling. Miv and Lea had practically taken turns urging him on and giving their views on why it was a good idea. They hadn't harped about it, but he knew which way the wind was blowing. And Ce’lani’s message had been short, sweet in the literal sense, and the sound file she’d offered up had been…
…Pretty nice, really…
If he still said no, or decided he didn't like where this was going, they’d back his choice, of course. He didn't have a doubt in his mind… But with everything else in his life turned upside down, calling Ce’lani seemed like a calm in the eye of a storm.
…It's just a phone call. Leave the chaos at the gate…
He settled down on the couch to check his messages before giving her a call. It was nearly lunch…
submitted by Rhion-618
to Sexyspacebabes [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 22:14 ContributionKey4087 Religious fruitcakes banned me swiftly when confronted with facts.
I was banned very fast in the religious cheesecake community. I could tell from the ban, they don't want to be confronted with someone who went to Catholic school for 8 years, had to go to therapy for Catholic Guilt, experienced traumatic events such as being SA'd as a 12 year old boy by a mentally ill stranger, and never got any care from any of the school I went to besides one teacher Mrs.Grant. The church we belonged to only decided to call my grandpa after my father shot himself in a 16 hour standoff with our local swat team, to ask why they didn't come to church so my grandpa can do the reading of whatever passage it was that day.
Needless to say, they stopped going to that church, and asked why they never cared for me, why they continued to punish me for being a rebel against the rebels, instead of understanding why a child that was recently touched by a man was acting out, who was also abused physically by their father. I have read so much of the bible, I have went to church 2 times a week at Catholic churches, baptists, Presbyterian churches, etc. I have been judged many times for just being me, I have been told I'll go to hell for just being me.
God let the women of the Israelites be raped, how can I follow a religion that does that? That accepts that? How can one follow a religion that teaches men to take the innocence of women? A religion that is anti-science, and just anti-human?
2) Murder, rape and pillage of the Midianites (Numbers 31:7-18 NLT)
This isn't about me, it's about the other kids that are now being abused by these terrible abrahamic cults, and their teachings. They always refer the scriptures of love, and peace, yet skip over and cherry pick the rest of the book which is just evil. Christian Nationalists have taken over my nations government, it has taken the rights from trans adults, and children. They have not seperated church from state, rather combining it, and using their religious beliefs and their political power, to instill these whitewashed traditions of segregation, of hate, and impulsive behaviors based on how they were taught to hate others that different from them psychically and mentally.
I broke down when they took books away from public libraries that my tax dollars go to. I bawled no lie, as I was abused as a kid from my father who didn't break the cycle of abuse, he tried his best and on his good days when took his meds, he was the best to be around, but when I was struck for spilling a drink, or accidentally knocking something over and getting struck, my mind would go to those worlds in those books I read. Characters that felt pain like I did, that had no hope but eventually overcame the situation(s). These books took me to worlds where I didn't feel much pain, only joy, and love for these worlds. To Kill A Mockingbird, the amount of symbolisms in that book is just beautiful. Atticus talking to scout about climbing into another person, and seeing from their perspective, taught me to do that. It stuck with me, the fact that everyone was scared of Boo Radley someone people that was a monster, was just misunderstood and was kind. Jim and the dog that went mad, was just insane, intense, I felt like I was there.
I notice as someone who is left of politics, my fellow lefties get upset, and then not actually tackle problems in their local communities, this has led to these book bannings especially in my state of MO. These books they're banning are ridiculous, it's insane, they're banning books that kids need to read and discover, these christian nationalists force the ten commandments into Texas public schools. Everyone has an agenda, no matter who you are, but everyone should share an agenda of educating our kids, and not holding them back from gaining knowledge and information.
Book bannings will only make rebellious kids and teens want to rest those books even more. The first Nazi books banning was of Trans medical documents and research of a trans medical facility that helped trans, gays, lesbians, intersex children etc. They killed half of the doctors and destroyed amazing research into the trans and intersex community. They then forced their religious views, their twisted beliefs into their society.
I personally think the bible the Torah should be banned, but that is wrong to do, and goes against the foundation of education, the ability to wander aimlessly through rows of books containing so much information.
What can we (I) do to help my community to be educated on the fact our education system is already terrible and this only makes it worse? I am in a one man band music project, I plan on getting money from my shows and putting it towards a women's shelter, and the local orphanage, and build multiple community gardens. My goal is to get kids outside, active, learning to grow herbs, plants, and learning to work together and solve problems. I have researched that these christian nationalists instill fascism, and hate into children over time, and I think with these community gardens, it would have kids interact with those they normally wouldn't, and build relationships with others. Hate is taught, and I want to abolish that, if I, and others can get kids and teens into the city and create beautiful gardens, I do think kids would be less likely to be in gangs, or have racism instilled into them as that form of hate is also taught.
We need to ban together, left or right, to stop this, to abolish these actions that cross the line. The abuse of power these people hold towards us, they serve US, we don't serve them. We have to let kids learn, and grow. For the sake of knowledge and learning, future generations, if this continues, will be so ignorant, and uneducated. They will fall more easily for misinformation than those with a higher education, and our nation is ranked 14th, that's terrible for this country, and insane. I'm sorry for the rambling, I just care about knowledge, and I care that kids should be able to escape the harsh world into a beautifully crafted world whatever it may be.
Knowledge is power, and builds our charcter.
submitted by ContributionKey4087
to atheism [link] [comments]