>(Since the Forum appears to be getting a little tetchy about long
>threads and I noticed I hadn't addressed this, here is another thread
>to be going on with.)
Excellent! That means I can get my incredibly belated stuffs in!
>"Get a room, you two," Anthy Tenjou mumbled from the far side of
>Utena, but when she raised her own head, she was smiling at them both.
Apropos of this, it occurs to me that Anthy quite likely has all kinds of special "we're married now, ha ha" ribbing she's been saving up for use on her wonderful but less witty spouses.
>Three-quarters of an hour or so later, everyone was sorted out
>and ready to face the day.
... Anthy and Utena have blindingly fast toilettes, especially for women with as much hair as they do.
That's not snark, I am genuinely impressed.
>Standing by the sink in the ensuite with the door open,
>Corwin finished tending his beard. This, in its neatness, was
>considered a slightly weedy attempt by many of his maternal relations,
>but he was simply not up for growing the full Grizzly Adams, even if
>either of his ladies would have tolerated it (which he sincerely
Sidebar: for those of you who don't wear beards, don't let a guy tell you they do it because it's "easier than shaving." Even cursory efforts to properly maintain a beard are considerably more time and energy intensive than the most vigorous attempts to remain clean-shaven; there's constant trimming and edging duties, if you're going for the well-groomed look, and constant cleaning duties, if you're going for the full mountain man and want to be at all hygienic.
They're pure vanity, basically. Which is totally okay, but never let people tell you otherwise.
This digression has been completely irrelevant. I just wanted to talk about beards for awhile.
>"All my panic's on the inside," he
>assured her; then, less flippantly, he added, "Though actually, yeah, I
>feel pretty good. I mean, I wasn't sure -how- I'd react, and I think
>I'm still loading a bunch of the software patches, but overall? Not as
>unready as I expected to feel." He grinned wryly. "That'll probably
>change as soon as something doesn't go exactly right."
Awww, Corwin. I wonder if his Dad saw fit to inform him about the soul-destroying, stomach-churning fear parts of being a father that will eventually come along, or if he wants the lad to get the full, unfiltered experience on his own.
I look forward intensely to the moment that Annabelle becomes even slightly mobile and Corwin has to baby-proof a whole bunch of houses. Corwin being Corwin, one imagines that he will deploy over-engineered technological solutions for this, and it's going to be amazing.
>Pausing and turning as one, they were faintly surprised to
>discover Maki and Izumi, still fully kitted out in their old-fashioned
>Kyoshi Warriors dress gear, standing at parade rest on either side of
That was a fun little bit with Maki and Izumi, but on a more prosaic and much more depressing note... it might behoove Corwin to seriously consider retaining full-time protection for Annabelle. He and Utena and Anthy are pretty cosmically badass, but they can't watch her all the time, and until she comes into her own she probably does, in fact, need to be watched all the time. Even with Garnet around.
Corwin and his spouses have... a lot of enemies, and they live in a much less stable galaxy than the one Corwin and his siblings and peers grew up in. And, frankly, it may have been a mistake on Gryphon and Kei's part to have left their first round of kids without full-time protection; if a pathetic slimeball like Mike Carpenter can get at Kaitlyn without anyone knowing, it isn't too far a stretch to think that unreconstructed Genom hardliners or a Muspelheim hit squad might have left her in pieces for them to find one day.
Last thing they want is for her uncle to roll up outside of Annabelle's primary school in his sweet ride and talk his way inside.
So maybe see what the Kyoshi Warriors have in the way of full-service protection packages. If it's good enough for the Fire Lords...
>"So listen, Corwin," said Ryo Sato, skipping straight over any
>introductory small talk. "I was just over in Minmin's office, and some
>guy from the Tribune had slipped past Security and was trying to get her
>to speculate on whether she thought you were going to, and I quote,
>'take our Avatar away from us'. Now, pardon my Kokugo, but what the
God dammit Ryo, I need to decide if I find you or your sister more awesomely adorable and you are not making it easy.
>Azana turned to Anne. "Do you believe anything this young man
>is saying?" she inquired, sounding genuinely curious.
To be fair, learning when Nall is messin' with your head or not is an acquired skill.
>Then, with a delighted sound, she attempted
>(unsuccessfully) to put the dragon's head in her mouth.
"Well, gentlemen, we've successfully confirmed that Annabelle is, in fact, a baby."
>"Aw, are you leaving?" said Garnet drowsily from her new
>station. "I was just thinking I'd like to look at you for maybe a
>couple more hours."
Oddly enough, probably not even close to the weirdest line Azana has ever received.
>He bowed again, first to Utena, then to Corwin. "Maximilian Chin
>Yongmin XVII, Supreme Civil Servant to Their Excellencies the President
>and Senate of the United Republic of Nations and Hereditary Chief
>Bureaucrat to the Celestial Emperors of the Western Reaches, at your
Hmm. That sentence scans oddly to me; I think of "excellency" as a title used for a person, rather than an institution like a Senate. But that might just be me.
That said, oh man am I a big fan of Chin's. It may not have escaped the notice of either of our hosts that I am a huge fan of people who work within the system in an awesome way; I'm a big proponent of the 'heroic bureacrat' archetype (if there is such a thing) someone who makes shit happen using memos and signatures and the secret powers of paperwork. (I like Director Manning and Shizuru for the same reasons.) Chin is like catnip for me.
>And with that, he removed from his back a dark-stained,
>beautifully made wooden pack that turned out to be a sort of portable
>secretary with shoulder straps, placed it on the end of the bed, and
>began to unpack a surprising amount of kit from within it: documents in
>expensive-looking dark card folders, an inking pad and roller, adhesive
>wafers, paper-wrapped gold foil, and a pliers-like sealing device.
See? Tell me that that kit is any less impressive, or less powerful, than, say Batman's utility belt. I challenge you.
>Annabelle is already a citizen of the United Republic, by virtue of
>having been born here.
I am very happy that the Republic practices jus soli rather than just jus sanguinis.
(I am easily pleased.)
>"For the record, the dragon companion thing would be entirely
>optional," Minami allowed. "That might actually make the product of our
>destined union -too- powerful."
You know, I'm well aware the technology wasn't available back in their day, but god damn if Minami isn't what I imagine you'd get from a mixture of Korra and Asami's genetics.
>"To hear the man who sneaked into my office tell it, their
>society editors think you're planning to sweep Korra off her feet and
>carry her off back to your fairy castle in the sky, or wherever it is
>you keep yourself when you're not here," said Minami dryly.
I'd just like everyone to know that my mind wandered off on a long digression as to which, if any, of the Trinity own the upside-down castle in Cephiro, and how they've decorated it.
I may have made some bad life choices.
... wait, hold on.
>society editors think you're planning to sweep Korra off her feet and
>Check it out: 'What Avatar
>Korra plans to do with her new conquest now that she has severed him
>from his exotic companion is far from clear, but we cannot ignore the
>possibility that she may return with him to wherever on the Outside he
>comes from. The cause for concern here is plain: the consequences of
>such a cavalier abandonment of her duties would be grave indeed. We can
>only wait and hope that discretion and the needs of her world win out
>over our hot-blooded Avatar's latest fiery infatuation.'"
Oh. Huh. Okay, I was rather gratuitously wrong, then. I'd somehow come to the conclusion that the Trib and/or Emily was going to go with the theory that Corwin was Korra's illegitimate spawn, not that she was dating him. I mean, yes I know why that is far-fetched and they do not, but still.
Also... seriously, Tribune? I don't have a lot of respect for society pages to begin with, but my god. There's an art to scandal and rumour-mongering. It goes back... well, it goes back forever, really, and I don't know what the tradition is like in Diqiu, but here in the english-speaking world it stretches back to 17th century pamphleteering campaigns in London, the precursors of what we'd recognize as modern opinion journalism. And you had to be subtle and wicked and very deliberate in how you scandalmongered, because back then they had actual laws on the books about making mock of your social betters and you could potentially wind up taking a little trip to Tyburn for a misplaced word.
Even centuries later, when that couldn't happen, there was an art and an elegance to it. News of Edward VIIs scandalous relationship with a foreign divorcee was handled with wicked aplomb on both sides of the pond, for example.
For shame, Tribune. This is like going fishing with dynamite. It's crude and blunt and direct, the society page equivalent of low-end porn. As someone who likes to read good things, I am personally offended.
>She had, over the last
>week or so, developed what she had flattered herself was a reasonably
>good working relationship with Master Cheong, the White Lotus master who
>managed Avatar Korra's press relations. He hadn't told her much of
>anything useful, but their conversations had at least been cordial,
>bordering on friendly.
Something to watch in yourself, Emily. Cheong is a PR flack. PR flacks should never be friendly with or pleased to talk to a reporter; they should be frightened and in a constant state of wondering what body you've discovered.
But that's okay. You're young, and still learning.
>Something in Emily broke loose at that; banging a fist down on
>the newspaper, she blazed, "Don't take that tone with me! Have you ever
>had to work to a deadline?" She gestured vaguely in the direction of
>the Tribune building and went on, "I've been searching for that context
>for the past 16 hours. I've -had- to, because -someone- thought it
>would be funny to just string me along all week."
THERE it is. Yes. You have justified my faith in you.
>Emily put her hands on her hips and gave Utena a challenging
>look. "You want to know the really impressive part? I got all that
>since nine-thirty last night."
Hah! I feel validated now.
Once she actually remembered she was a goddamn reporter living in what was a reasonable facsimile of the information age, it all just came together for Emily. Public records are public for a reason, girl, and people didn't make commercial-grade search engines just because it was fun.
In the future, she'll know to do this sort of thing right away, which will serve her in good stead when she has subjects who are less friendly and more, you know... highly illegal than Corwin and Utena are.
>Korra thought about her answer for a moment, looking steadily
>back at her; then she said, "Well, I suppose, if you get right down to
>it, I'm his godmother."
And now doesn't Emily feel silly.
>"The Tribune's photo lab wouldn't
>know what to do with Minox film. They're going all computerized anyway,
>but I don't trust that stuff. Where's the archival permanence? They
>can't even read the magnetic tapes from the Phoenix Flight mission -at
>Future Industries- any more."
Assuming its at all like memory diamond, Emily is going to love datacrystal technology when it gets to Diqiu. All the convenience of digitized information combined with archival permanence that rivals letters carved onto stone slabs.
>Emily looked up again, seeming like she might be on the verge of
>tears. "I don't know when it happened, exactly; it was so subtle I
>can't trace it back now... but somewhere in the last couple of years, I
>lost my way. I was disappointed that my childhood idol turned out NOT
>to be a homewrecker. How screwed up -is- that?!" she demanded.
This is what I imagine working for the New York Post must be like.
>do what you can to tidy up the mess your editor made so I don't actually
>have to have the White Lotus sue the Tribune for libel - which I don't
>want to do, but I will if I have to
Without getting into a debate about the advisability or lack thereof of strict libel laws, this is another reason the Tribune article sucked. You never expose yourself legally like that unless you've got something along the lines of "President Is Doing Secret Murders."
>"I was kidding before, but it
>-does- make a girl think," she added with a grin, then trailed her
>fingertips along the line of his bearded jaw as she turned away and
>headed for the aircraft.
I will never stop thinking that Minami should have given Corwin a full, open-palm slap on the ass right in front of everyone before flying away in her awesome autogyro.
>"Nyima has something she wants to tell you, Corwin!" said Lhakpa
>cheerfully from the hall. Then she slid the door shut with a bang and
>could be heard trotting off down the hall, humming tunelessly.
Nothing good ever starts this way. This is how conversations with the words "slept with your wife" or "this one time, at band camp" in them begin.
>exactly where she had read or heard it, but it resonated nicely with a
>phrase in a text that Gryphon had lent her during one of her prior
>visits to New Avalon: "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations".
The extreme irony here, of course, is that I can't imagine Korra getting along at all with Vulcans who are seriously into the Way of Surak, with the possible exception of Spock, and that's only because Spock has years of Kirk Handling under his belt and knows how to deal with Korra's type.
>-That- was what the members of the White Lotus who had
>perpetrated their ill-timed deception had forgotten, or never really
>brought onboard in the first place.
I'm going to defend the White Lotus again (yes, from Korra's internal monologue, shut up) and hope charitably that they were motivated less by close-mindedness than by the genuine metaphysical concern of having no clue how their vitally important Avatar mechanism interacts with the rest of the cosmos. One imagines that the senior Lotuses now had their formative years during the whole Vaatu... incident. Watching Korra get her soul folded, spindled, and mutilated probably put some real fear into'em.
>"So," Utena went on, "when she came to me and said she wanted a
>child... I mean, what was I going to do, tell her no? 'You can't do
Hmm. Okay, I'm going to want to unpack this entire cliff scene, because there are awesome feels and a lot of stuff happening under the surface.
I kind of feel like the answer to Utena's question, despite it being rhetorical, is actually "Yes. You should have told her no. Or, rather, you shouldn't have simply told her yes."
This isn't put out there explicitly, but... something I'm not even sure Utena is aware of is that she is, just a bit, in the same situation she was talking about re: agency. Only in this instance, it's not Anthy denying herself agency, but Utena.
And that's just not healthy. It wasn't healthy for Anthy to feel so incredibly obligated to her brother (and, eventually, his memory) that she would just do anything he asked, anything at all, because she felt obligated. Similarly, Utena shouldn't feel like she should do things she doesn't feel right about just because Anthy is the one doing the asking, and she loves Anthy and would do anything for her.
This isn't to imply Anthy and Utena's relationship is any more dysfunctional than every relationship is, of course. But it seems like part of why Utena is so jacked up about this is because on some level she realizes that she should have had a much, MUCH longer discussion with Anthy about this before pulling the trigger... but that thought seems unworthy and wrong to her, because it involved constraining Anthy to her own desires.
It's not wrong, or unworthy. It's totally legitimate. I'd have liked to see Korra go with more of the hard sell and say "You can't just live for others, you also have to live for yourself" point-blank, because Korra learned that lesson herself the hard way.
Anyway. Big feels on this scene.
>Bolin's effortless charm and his huge heart, Mako's bravery and
>dedication to his work
", Asami's amazing brain, spirit of adventure, and fine, fine ass."
"... wait. What?"
>"That whole thing is a scam
>designed to keep us in line. Anytime we take a fancy the elders don't
>approve of, they can trot out the detachment sermon. Well, I'm not
>buying it any more. It's not my fault if Nyima still is AND she's crap
>at it. It's actually kind of refreshing that there -is- something she's
>crap at in the -first- place," she added with a faintly malicious little
See, this is one the reasons I wish these particular holidays weren't just devouring my life and I'd had time to get all up ins the debate over Lhakpa.
Because I'm just gonna say it: I like Lhakpa. Not just as a character. I kind of like her as a person.
Yeah, I know. She just... I dunno. I'm not even gonna trot out the old "I can relate to that" line. She just... she seems so oddly earnest and desperate, you know? I have a lot of sympathy for people who lash out because they're pissed off at the dictates life has surrounded them with.
I also like how real she feels. We've been surrounded by all these brutally earnest, big-hearted people for so long its kind of, weirdly, nice to see someone who isn't really evil, but is all full of earnest rage and more than a little spite. I love that stuff. It's why I'm such a huge Zuko fan.
So yeah. Don't listen to the haters. Lhakpa is great. She works on so many levels.
>outside my field. Although I -will- build a baby-carrying robot if I
"This is going to be like the hugging robot, isn't it?
"I have learned from the mistakes of Hugbots 1.0 to 5.2, thank you very much."
>Ito laughed. "I suspect this young lady could come up with
>pranks of her own that would leave my feeble repertoire in the shade,"
>he said, giving Anne a wink.
Oh man. Once Ito finds out Anne can set things on fire and extinguish them by thinking about it, with no obvious bending?
There is going to be pranking the likes of which the old man only dreamed of in his youth.
>"Bah," she said, "I only -dress- like a monk," and she kissed
Yeah. I stand by my liking of Lhakpa.
>"The hard part's going to be access to the site," Corwin
>observed, looking over one of the aerial shots they'd taken upon
>departing. "We'll either have to build some kind of a road or bring
>everything in by air. Either option could get complicated."
Depending on the logistics involved, it might be simpler and easier to see if they could get a freighter into orbit. Rent one in New Avalon for a week, buy everything they need there, trundle over to Diqiu, pop through the veil, and just beam everything they need right to the site. Any incidentals they forgot they can haul in by air later.
>"He had a flair for titles, too. Crazy from the
>Heat... The Adventures of Snow Savage and Dirt Girl... To Wang Fire,
>Thanks for Everything! Ty Lee."
Aheh. That thread had longer legs than I thought it did, I guess. ^.^;
>"It should have a -tower,-" Corwin was saying, using the
>sketchpad app on his omni-tool to draw a rough, glowing outline in the
"A tower that's also an airship dock! And an observatory! An observatory with an orerry in it, like that one Wan Shi Tong has only better, because screw that guy."
>Sokka's literary agent
Ya know, Ben. If you're trying to not give me a big head, you're going about it in a very strange way.
(And now I feel supremely guilty about taking a week and a bloody half to get to doing comments on this thing. It's like I'm letting the side down.)
Seriously though, thanks for the shout-out. It's more than I deserve, really; all I did was come up with a few moderately interesting plays on words, one of which you liked enough to use. And that was in the middle of kinda-sorta playing around in your sandbox without being explicitly invited to.
I'll take it, though. Seventeen-year-old me would be all "eeeeeeeeeeeeeee" at the thought of an actual line in some UF credits. Thirty-two year old me tries to be more prosaic about these things. :)
As always, I may have more to say later, but I've spent six hours pounding this sucker out and have work in the morning.