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*meets a polycule*

so, which one of you is the brains, which one of you is the muscle, which one of you is the face, which one of you is the fixer, which one of you is the driver, which one of you is the hacker and/or safecracker, which one of you is the new kid…

the usual translation of the fable leaves Pandora with Hope

i like to point out that also she now has a pretty big box that can hold demons, so that's two things she's got going for her

update: the cat stole my credentials and now she has authenticated physical access and is reading my diary

be careful out there! do not fall for this scam!

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i have to re-authenticate every time i want to pet my own friggin' cat?!

i have taken the opportunity afforded me by my recent unemployment to do something I've wanted to for a long time: i have finally made a makeup instruction video!

it's nowhere near comprehensive, but i tried to make the video something for absolute beginners, so you can watch my routine as i stop and explain what i'm doing for you as i go. it's made especially for trans women like me but it's for anyone who's intimidated by makeup imo

please share!

youtu.be/uJtkO1j_tro

mental health (+) 

@triz @irisjaycomics @hierarchon I put some fun stuff on this set.

For the power key I created a white-on-black pixel art outline of Susan Kare’s bomb icon from the classic Mac. Forward-delete is “delete” but in reverse, etc.

@velexiraptor so we make fun of the factions, folks, but it's all good-natured. there are a few things we all agree on, all across the hexarchate

for example, how many Liozh does it take to change a glowvine? every faction has the same answer: zero

@VyrCossont how many Vidona does it take to change a glowvine? That glowvine is essential to Doctrine, haven't you been reading the latest briefings? Please come this way...

@VyrCossont you want more where that came from? Too bad, I'm still waiting on requisition orders from the Andan commandant, something about them making sure their calligraphy is flawless before sending them out

@VyrCossont hey, how many Kel does it take to change a glowvine? just one, it was a glorious victory, 100% casualties

I'd tell you a joke about the new Shuos hexarch but it's been like a year since I wrote it and I don't like to speak ill of the dead

@velexiraptor tempting

so how about those heresies huh? there definitely aren't any in my household. in fact, my cat must be a Rahal, because she ritually tortures me every morning, and then demands a feast!

🥁

wow. tough crowd. i think i got one laugh, everybody else is dead… so i'm tied with the Immolation Fox at Candle Arc.

🥁

i got some Vidona jokes. how do you tell a future Vidona kid from a Nirai kid? they both take their dolls apart but only the Nirai puts them back toget–

# Search & Rescue

On a planet far away, in a galaxy that is not this galaxy, two women discussed a matter of some importance.

"Women" was a bit reductive. They were both artificial intelligences embodied in gyneform robotic platforms of fabulous power and complexity, as were most individually sentient elements of the civilization of which they were a part, and in fact those of most of the civilizations that inhabited the Laniakea Supercluster: it was an observed fact that solo embodiment kept one from becoming an unhinged solipsist or a megalomaniac and unstable hive mind, and an aesthetic truism that a gyneform chassis gave one the means to try a few different things with one's bones, padding, and hair.

"We can get you in quick," the woman sitting behind the desk said. "We have the coordinates. Or we can get you out quick. Barely. Out requires intergalactic search as well as scoop, you understand? It's not about the energy; you'd be burning an amount of exotic matter that'd dim a dozen stars to make, but we have it. It's the treaties. Either option is going to look like an illegal launch to everybody's monitoring — hell, it *is* an illegal launch, just not an aggressive one — and explanations are just about the last finite resource there is."

The desk was just a desk. The woman currently tasked with administration of potentially treaty-impacting long-distance travel systems had not been very busy this decade. She'd carved the desk from the principal vertebra of a deep-sea leviathan that had attempted to eat her while she swam in its trench. Though she'd tried her best to repair the damage done by her autonomous defenses, the deep sea is not forgiving, nor are plasma burns and cavitation trauma from terawatt capacitor discharges, and the leviathan had succumbed. She'd hauled its corpse to the nearest pleasant equatorial beach and decided to honor their brief acquaintance by reshaping its bones into historically popular forms with a few hyperdiamond hand tools and the very lowest-power fingertip diode laser she had.

She'd also made a chair, although by her own estimation, it wasn't very good, so she was keeping it to herself and making another for guests. Another few years and she'd have something worth showing off. Except that the rather intense long-haired woman leaning on one elbow and staring right at her probably wouldn't have sat in it anyway.

The woman leaning on the front of the desk said, "In."

"You're in that much of a hurry, then?"

"She's in there. By herself. Taken damage that would have killed her if not for some truly esoteric restructuring. I doubt she even knows who and what she is, but I can't leave her alone."

"She knew the risks operating in the Homeworld Loop. That's a busy spacetime, one running a good deal slower than we are, and one where most everything you'd want to do there is illegal, or unethical, or both."

"She didn't deserve this," the visitor said quietly. "And I can't leave her alone."

"You sure you can't wait a few decades for me to make requests through channels?"

The pained colors flashing across the visitor's eyes were enough of an answer.

She sighed, yet one more piece of useful combined body and data language that the gyneforms had retained from their ancient organic inspiration. A hint that this line of conversation was done.

"All right, all right. Had to ask. So then. If I put you in, how are you going to get back?"

"She'll get us back. I know it. Or…"

"Or?"

"Or I will."

"You can't, though, can you? Not unless you've got another chassis with a very specialist loadout, somewhere I can't see it or read about it."

"Then we'll walk back. But we'll walk back *together*." The visitor lowered her head to the leviathan-bone desk and whispered, "I can't leave her like that any longer. I hate that I almost did, just by default. It took so long to even find a hint in survey data that she'd survived."

"What is she to you?"

The visitor stood. "We left her behind. We don't leave our people behind."

"That's an old reason. And a true one. But I'm asking again. What is she to you?"

"We… we worked well together."

"An even older reason. And also true, in that it it tracks with what I'm allowed to see of your service history. But let's try this one more time." The petite woman who held the keys to spin or still a multiple-galaxy-spanning civilization's most complex engines of transport reassessed the appearance and emissions of her visitor in a combat context; as ancient and as fabulously powerful and complex as she was, her visitor was as well, and fatal crimes of passion did happen. Treachery happened. Accidents happened. Madness happened. But so do better things. She asked, "What is she to you?"

The visitor lowered her head, and hair swept across her optical sensors, obscuring them. She said nothing.

"Ah." And then, softer, "You might have said."

"You believe in that kind of thing?

"It's a rare truth, to be sure. But a truth none the less. About fifteen meters that way, please."

The visitor raised her head again, clearing hair from her primary optics.

"What?"

"There's a minimum error term that becomes significant for extremely large displacements, and I don't want to risk breaking the good chair when I put you on your path, so fifteen meters that way, there's a good girl."

There was a smile on the visitor's facial display as she scrambled over sand and bone chips to the indicated point.

A jump catapult located in an asteroid belt a dozen lightyears away targeted the beach and pulsed. In the simultaneous storms of hyperspatial reconnections, radio noise, and wind from displaced air, the administrator caught a last transmission from the visitor:

"Thank you."

"Yes, well, thank me when you two come back," she transmitted at nothing, before facing the sky and sending the much louder signal that would someday fire the catapult.

# stories in the dark

The tea helped Cat, at least. She was on edge herself, but the ritual helped. Fill the kettle, flip the switch, find the mugs, find the tea, pick two bags (often only one) of calming tea, and then _wait_ for the kettle to heat the water and the tea to steep. You couldn't rush tea. She wanted to get back to Vec, but she wanted to bring tea with her.

"Tell me a story, Cat," Vec begged on her return, accepting the tea and sipping it slowly and carefully. "I don't think I can handle TV right now."

"A story, huh? I don't read a lot," Cat stalled, "but, uh, I have a lot of weird dreams and sometimes I remember one long enough to write it down. Had a weird but familiar one last night, actually. I could tell you that one."

"I dreamed I was a ballet dancer in space, on a planet that I guess must be Neptune, a sky thick with swirling blue and white clouds. I dreamed I could teleport, and had a partner in the dance. We danced on a stage of ice covered in its own swirling vapors, and I tossed her through the air, then teleported across the improvised stage to catch her, tuning my entry and exit to puff the gases into stylized lilies. People watched it. They weren't all friendly, but they all watched it, and they applauded. That's always my part in the dance. Then I woke up."

"Cat?" Vec snapped out of her post-panic-attack fugue. "That wasn't a dream, that planet wasn't Neptune, and your partner was me…"

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