raven: TOS McCoy and Kirk frowning, text: "Well that's just maddeningly unhelpful" (st - MADDENINGLY UNHELPFUL)

And then you find yourself googling, at 4am, "how long does it take to drive from Pasadena to San Francisco", oh really, how about in A FLYING CAR.

Be kind to me right now, please, I write Star Trek AUs in times of trouble. :)

fic:: we get on just fine (on those long long drives)
by Raven
10,000w, The Big Bang Theory (in a Star Trek AU! bet you didn't see that coming), gen(ish), Leonard/Penny, Sheldon/Amy, and Bernadette/Raj/Howard. In the autumn after the Federation goes to war with the Dominion, Penny moves to Pasadena to star in a mostly-Vulcan production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Captain Proton, defender of the universe! Only, I haven't built him the rocket ship yet )
raven: TOS McCoy and Kirk frowning, text: "Well that's just maddeningly unhelpful" (st - MADDENINGLY UNHELPFUL)
I had a week off work, mostly under duress, and it turns out that holidays actually return you to your life rested and able to cope with things! Who even knew. Anyway, it was a lovely time in the north of Scotland - first to a family wedding, which was sweet and charming and full of small children, and I danced the Orcadian strip the willow to the dulcet tones of a calypso steel drum ceilidh band, I don't even know, it was awesome - and onwards and upwards into the Highlands. We drove along some incredibly beautiful and terrifying mountain roads (in my nightmares, I shall see the climb from the Well of the Lecht, and the speedometer dropping), including the highest classified road in the UK, which crosses the Cairngorms in a single track and is silent like flying, and spent several days staying in a teeny tiny cottage, super-cute, with lots of hot water, halfway up a mountain eight miles from the nearest village. You could step outside and hear birds calling and cattle lowing from across the glen, and when it got dark enough, there was the Milky Way. (I love that you can't - or at least, I can't, though my eyesight is pretty sharp - see the Milky Way straight on; it's there in your peripheral vision, like it's being gentle as it reminds you of your utter insignificance in the face of all things.)

So that was all very lovely. I finished the novel, finally. Well, I haven't finished it, but it's definitely into the editing stage. (Maybe four days with no internet or phone were what I needed all along.) And now I'm back, and September is coming, which I always think of as a time for change and promise even though I'm well out of academia - and that said, I will have to start job-hunting this month - and the weather is hanging pleasantly on the surface of autumn.

I wrote about 25k in August, not counting the novel, and I don't think I've posted any of it here, so rather than make a lot of story posts, here it all is.

For the Star Trek Friendshipfest:

Welcome, Wanderer (9201 words) by Raven
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Data & Jean-Luc Picard, Data & Geordi LaForge
Characters: Data, Jean-Luc Picard, Geordi La Forge, Deanna Troi, Ro Laren, Sonya Gomez
Additional Tags: Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream - Freeform, Darmok, Mixed Media, Fairgrounds, Ferris Wheels, Languages and Linguistics, There really is a perfectly sensible explanation for all of this

"You're the ranking officer here. Would you care to explain this?"

It's a really long story.

Oh, sinners, let's go down (4752 words) by RavenFandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Leonard McCoy & Spock
Characters: Leonard McCoy, Spock, James T. Kirk

"What you gonna do, Mr. Spock? You gonna save my soul?"

[Content note is a spoiler, so it's at the bottom of the story post]

For [community profile] trope_bingo:

Research Ethics (793 words) by RavenFandom: The Big Bang Theory (TV)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Leonard Hofstadter/Penny
Characters: Penny (Big Bang Theory), Leonard Hofstadter, Sheldon Cooper, Bernadette Rostenkowski, Amy Farrah Fowler
Additional Tags: Community: trope_bingo

Five things Penny doesn't understand about Leonard until she's met his mother.

[Please be aware of the content note on this one - it's at the top of the story post.]

where you gonna sleep tonight (3487 words) by Raven
Fandom: The Big Bang Theory (TV)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Leonard Hofstadter/Penny, Sheldon Cooper/Leonard Hofstadter
Characters: Leonard Hofstadter, Penny (Big Bang Theory), Sheldon Cooper, Bernadette Rostenkowski, Rajesh Koothrappali, Amy Farrah Fowler, Howard Wolowitz
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Alternate Universe - Apocalypse, Community: trope_bingo

Sheldon doesn't snap at him for his lack of precision, which is how he knows the end of the world is coming.

Home (1065 words) by Raven
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Oversight - Charlie Fletcher
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Sara Falk, Lucy Harker, Hodge, Wayland, Jack Sharp, Charlie Pye, Cook
Additional Tags: Community: trope_bingo

They found Mr Sharp on his knees with his eyes blank and unseeing, and drained of all colour.

That's all, and quite enough too.

raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
Back from Nine Worlds. Mostly deaded.

Happy birthday, [personal profile] silly_cleo! Something short and sweet for you.

Fic:: Mississippi
by Raven
1000w, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Kira and Sisko. "She'll have the jambalaya."

it's hot as hell here )
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
Thank you everyone who helped and cheerled with this. I'm also pleased to have finished this exactly a month after Vidukon, where I seem to remember publicly promising to make it.

[vid] Disappear [Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine]
by Raven
With a word, with a line, you only disappear. Identity and violence.

music: "You Only Disappear", Tom McRae, from Just Like Blood
content notes: Star Trek-typical violence; one bright flash of red light
password to stream: wakeup / download from mediafire, 80MB

stream, lyrics )
raven: TOS McCoy and Kirk frowning, text: "Well that's just maddeningly unhelpful" (st - MADDENINGLY UNHELPFUL)
I keep messing with this story trying to make it ~deep~ and ~profound~ - and, no. This is my id, you guys. Sorry.

Fic: A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
by Raven
6000w, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data/Tasha, and Geordi, Deanna, Beverly, Keiko and ensemble. Twenty-one nights in the life of the Enterprise Insomniacs' Club.

aromatic, interesting and blue )
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
With an enormous amount of assistance from [personal profile] silly_cleo and others, I give you the Star Trek daemon AU.

Fic:: Things
by Raven
10,000w, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, TNG, Voyager, Kira/Odo, Miles/Keiko, and ensemble. "Needs must in a time of war, sir" - or, Starfleet and its daemons.

Kira knows everything's going to hell when... )
raven: TOS McCoy and Kirk frowning, text: "Well that's just maddeningly unhelpful" (st - MADDENINGLY UNHELPFUL)
I am at [community profile] vidukon_cardiff, which seems like an excellent opportunity to post this vid! It is not a premiere; I finished it between panels!

Many thanks to [personal profile] cosmic_llin, [personal profile] thingswithwings, and the house at no. 46 for their help with this.

[vid] we came to learn the sea [Star Trek: TOS, TNG, Voyager, DS9, and Enterprise]
by Raven
"You are my compass."
-Kathryn Janeway to Tuvok, "Prime Factors"

music: "We Learned The Sea", Dar Williams, from The Green World
content notes: none standard; one bright flash of red light near the start
password to stream: compass / download from mediafire, 65MB

notes, stream, lyrics )
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
I finished it, finally. This one did not come easy. My stories do not usually have content notes; this one does.

Content note: (skip) There is no sexual assault in this story. There is, however, a lot of discussion of non-con and some scenes that can easily be read that way. If you want more detail before reading, please feel free to contact me and I will answer any questions as best as I can.

Fic:: Wearing Shrapnel In Our Skin
by Raven
6500w, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: The Next Generation, Janeway/Seven and Data/Geordi, with Picard and Tuvok turning up.

"Kindness," Data says, with a slight touch of irony in his voice, "is irrelevant." Data, and Seven, and some choices.

When Jean-Luc Picard walks into the old house in County Galway... )
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
If you follow me elsewhere, you may know I am writing a story about Janeway and Seven, and, ah, trying to avoid it. To that effect, yesterday I asked if anyone wanted a Star Trek ficlet, and ah, people did. I ended up writing many stories. My favourite is the one with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy meeting baby Tuvok, but, really, I had fun writing all of these:

Dress (1159 words) by Raven
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Julian Bashir/Elim Garak
Characters: Julian Bashir, Elim Garak, Keiko O'Brien, Benjamin Sisko, Miles O'Brien

"How do you know I'm not married?" Julian asks, playfully, then realises he's answered his own question.

Velocity (528 words) by Raven
Fandom: Star Trek: Voyager
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kathryn Janeway/Seven of Nine
Characters: Kathryn Janeway, Seven of Nine

Preparation for command.

War Songs (1257 words) by Raven
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Benjamin Sisko, Miles O'Brien, Kira Nerys, Shakaar Edon, Keiko O'Brien, Odo (Star Trek), Jadzia Dax, Jake Sisko, Julian Bashir
Additional Tags: Families of Choice

The first requirement, when one is celebrating the Bajoran Festival of Alignment, is good food.

Learn The Sea (935 words) by Raven
Star Trek: Alternate Original Series (Movies), Star Trek: Voyager
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: James T. Kirk, Spock, Leonard McCoy, T'Meni, Tuvok

“Well, now, little one,” McCoy says. “What’s your name?”

Scientific Interest (608 words) by Raven
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Kira Nerys, Jadzia Dax

Mandatory Starfleet continuing professional development.

Orbiting (927 words) by Raven
Fandom: Star Trek: Voyager
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: B'Elanna Torres, Seven of Nine
Additional Tags: Post-Canon

Standing there with her eyes steady and clear, Seven looks as impeccable as B’Elanna remembers.

Numbers (691 words) by Raven
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Julian Bashir/Elim Garak
Characters: Elim Garak, Julian Bashir, Jadzia Dax, Benjamin Sisko, Data
Additional Tags: Deep Dish Nine

Garak comes to visit before lunch, and as a consequence Julian burns a tray of garlic bread and about two thirds of a ham and pineapple deep pan pizza. (This one is in the collective shared AU where Deep Space Nine is a pizzeria and the gang are all human. It's, ah, a long story.)

Evidence of Things Not Seen (1542 words) by Raven
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Geordi La Forge, Data, Julian Bashir, Odo (Star Trek), Miles O'Brien
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Kinda

"We're really looking at Data as he would be if he were human," Geordi says, wonderingly.

...and that's it, and quite enough too. I am going to Inverness tomorrow for the weekend. Also, a long story.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
Some fannish housekeeping! So today, in and around building flatpack furniture (The Great Flat Redecoration '14, don't even ask) I hung out on Tumblr and was fannish about silly Star Trek AUs, and it made me SO HAPPY. (Fandom and I have been kind of... on a break, recently, for Reasons.) But possibly there is hope for me yet! Hurray.

Anyway, so, I have just been alerted to the existence of Deep Dish Nine, a fluffy all-human Deep Space Nine AU where Sisko & co run a pizzeria. It is just as adorable as it sounds. And, totally delightfully, there is also Chez Entreprise, which the TNG crew run down the street, and over the road, the coffee shop run by Janeway and Seven called (what else?) Nebula Coffee.

So I wrote this piece of total fluff.

The Flaw In The Plan (571 words) by Raven
Fandom: Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kathryn Janeway/Seven of Nine, Data/Geordi La Forge
Characters: Kathryn Janeway, Seven of Nine, Data, Geordi La Forge
Additional Tags: Deep Dish Nine, Alternate Universe, Fluff

"Huh. Next you're gonna tell me Swedish Fish aren't made of fish."

I am also writing another, longer, more serious story about Janeway and Seven, which is super fun, and contemplating whether anyone would read fic for The Oversight. (Probably not, is the answer to that.)

And finally! So there's a meme going round where you post your ten most important, most indentity-constitutive films, and I - well, I just. I am so bad at films, I don't have the attention span for them. So I had dinner with [personal profile] happydork quite recently and we spent a couple of hours playing the same game, for TV episodes. And here is my list, for completion, with a line of dialogue from each because I thought it would be fun:

"Sometimes You Hear The Bullet", M*A*S*H ("Rule number one: young men die.")
"The Measure of a Man", Star Trek: TNG ("Consider that in the history of many worlds, there have always been disposable people.")
"In The Cards", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ("It's not my fault that your species decided to abandon currency-based economics in favour of some philosophy of self-enhancement.")
"The Fifth Race", Stargate SG-1 ("Right now I'm possibly his only hope for communicating on any kind of serious level. I can't leave him like this, and I won't.")
"Are You Being Served", Frasier ("My reasoning? My reasoning was based on my mother's obsession with VERMIN!")
"Win, Lose, or Draw", Parks and Recreation ("I never wrote it.")
"Mary Pat Shelby", Sports Night ("How much do you love me?")
"Take This Sabbath Day", The West Wing ("Shalom, Toby.")
"The Body", Buffy the Vampire Slayer ("I don't understand how this all happens!")
..and season 1 of Slings and Arrows. ("Why did you fuck me over?")

(Shh, I know that's not a single episode, but [personal profile] happydork's chosen episode of The Wire was... The Wire.)

That's my list! I should go to bed.
raven: TOS McCoy and Kirk frowning, text: "Well that's just maddeningly unhelpful" (st - MADDENINGLY UNHELPFUL)
So if you have the misfortune of following me on Twitter you may know I am having a Star Trek renaissance. This happens every couple of years and mostly goes like this: show! Feelings! Oh my show! Oh my feelings! This time around I am having love for TNG, which is odd - I've never liked it as much as DS9 - but interesting, and having thoroughly abused the 140-character format I think I would like to be verbose as to why.

So I am for the most part not really interested in generalised discussions of race on Star Trek? I mean, spoilers, Trek isn’t very good on race! Most of the time - but what it is great at is ideas. And nothing mainstream, for me, has ever done anything like it on cultural assimilation. There’s this one episode of Voyager that gets this really well and I’ve always thought is underrated. In "Lineage", pretty late on in the run, B’Elanna finds out she’s pregnant and it’s basically adorable. Gossip travels at warp ten, everyone on the crew wants to be the baby’s godparent and/or namesake, and Tom realizes the only person on the entire ship he knows who’s a father is Tuvok (!!) and they have this sweet and genuinely poignant awkward conversation in a Jefferies tube. (Every time Star Trek does this conversation it’s amazing. Dax advising Sisko on fatherhood! O’Brien advising Worf on marriage! ….anyway.) So B’Elanna finds out that her baby, who will be one quarter Klingon to three quarters human, will nevertheless look Klingon (“Klingon traits are dominant!"). And through a series of fights with Tom, fights with Janeway, and, eventually, an incredibly unethical application of her engineering ability to the Doctor’s programming, B'Elanna persuades him to alter the baby’s genetic make-up in utero so she’ll look human. Roxann Dawson, who plays B’Elanna, is Latina; Robert Duncan McNeill is white. A baby who looks more like him will look… oh, you get it. And I just cry and cry and cry at it, because whether or not you agree with her choice, she’s making what she thinks is the best choice for her baby. Tom tries telling her that there are Vulcans on board, Talaxians, Bajorans - and B'Elanna turns around and snaps, "And one hundred and forty humans!"

And of course he tries to argue and she tells him he doesn't understand: "When the people around you are all one way and you're not, you can't help feeling like there's something wrong with you" - and I cry.

And it's not just about race, of course, but culture; not just how you look, though of course that matters, but what you are. (B'Elanna's Klingon fighting instincts! How hard her human father found her to live with!) Oh, I cry so much, because how can you articulate that? That feeling of being four or sixteen or twenty-seven, and you're in someone's house or at a party or at your desk surrounded by your colleagues, and someone says something and you're just - at the precipice of your lack of understanding. When the people around you are all one way, and you're not.

And it's kind of odd and counter-intuitive, but this time around I’ve realised the application of this same narrative to, of all people, Data. Not all the time: I think the show sometimes misfires on this, and sometimes does it really well – it seems to depend on the particular episode and set of writers? But, okay, Data. (He's an android and, because this is Star Trek, operations officer on the Enterprise.) I adore Data and always have – I was saying to someone recently that my Star Trek feelings are getting on for twenty years’ standing, owwww – and I’ve always mostly thought that I love Data and Spock for the same reasons. In different ways, they both serve as a moral compass for their respective captains. I mean, with Spock it’s usually an outright, Jim, don't do this, this is a terrible no-good idea, and with Data it’s more often from the mouths of babes, truth - but I love that. (And, the other side of the trope which I also love: the few occasions when it’s reversed. When it’s Kirk reining in Spock from murdering Stonn, or from complicity in horrors in “Mirror, Mirror”; when Picard tries to pull Data back from the brink with Lore - I love that narrative arc.)

But… okay, with Data. In “The Measure of a Man”, which by the way is my favourite courtroom drama ever and probably one of my favourite episodes of anything, some dude shows up and gives Data transfer orders: he’s being sent to the lab to be dismantled so they can figure out how to make more of him. Data’s answer is, huh, what if you can’t put me back together again? Rather than do this, I will resign – and then they tell him, you can’t resign, you’re property of Starfleet. And Picard is forced to argue in court for the position that Data has rights over his own body. It's a story about humanity, and sentience, and life. It's a story about transformation. And it's a story that allows Guinan to say this to Picard, when no one else will (for those playing along at home: Guinan is the Enterprise’s venerable bartender, played by Whoopi Goldberg): "Consider that in the history of many worlds there have always been disposable creatures."

That gives me chills. That if Data is property, then property obscures sin. In the history of many worlds, there have been those whose bodies were marked. I'm sorry, Riker whispers into Data's ear, and reaches in to remove his hand.

And then, the ruling, when it comes, is very narrow. spoilers for a 25-year-old TV show )

But then, they do lots of episodes where Data wants to be human? Which I've been thinking, misses the point that that episode makes so succinctly. Sometimes it’s understandable – at one point Data tells Geordi that he’s afraid of outliving everyone he’s ever known – and sometimes less so. Spock, of all people, tells him: “There are Vulcans who aspire all their lives to achieve what you've been given by design." And Data can't defend why he would rather be human, though he does point out that it's a choice - like Spock's choice to be Vulcan through and through, despite his human mother.

So I've found myself thinking, isn't that kind of... colonialist, if that's even the word? Data wanting to be a person is a very different thing from his wanting to be human, especially if the narrative embraces the latter as though it were unproblematic. And the show gestures at this distinction quite a lot without ever quite making it: Picard comments at one stage that Data might be a culture of one, but it's no less valid than a culture of billions; when he's dying, Noonien Soong tells Data that he will grieve, "in your own way"; and there's also the spot-on sweetness of the way the show never questions Data's right to refer to his two human creators as his parents. His mother describes him as "the child of two people who loved him and each other" - which is lovely, but they never take the additional leap and say, Data's is a form of human life. If that has value, then why should he aspire to a different kind?

But then - here it is. Data, who is different from everyone else around him, even more so than half-human half-Klingon B'Elanna and half-human half-Vulcan Spock – and there's nothing wrong with him, but, well. Well, darling, wouldn't you wish to be white? You would lose what you were, but without your soul in doubt. What it is, is this: Data doesn't want to be human, he wants to be normal, unmarked. Like B'Elanna wants for her daughter; like Sarek wanted for Spock. What gives me the feelings is that the show for all its failings, engages with that desire so closely and gives it to these characters who are gifted and loved and flawed, and gives them the consequences of that desire, Data's loss and B'Elanna's desperation and Sarek and Spock not talking to each other for thirty years, because, by god, it sucks to be different. It's okay to want to assimilate into the majority culture; to not just be yourself. It's okay to wish for whiteness; it's saying, sometimes, not all the time, we all do.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
Job interview yesterday, which was kind of horrible - surprise written test! oww - and probably futile. And when I get sad I write Star Trek AUs, so here, have this one.

Fic:: Swing Low Sail High
by Raven
2000w, Parks & Recreation/Star Trek, gen, Leslie, Ben, Ron & co. They're making a documentary about the New Vulcan Department of Parks and Recreation.

Ron doesn't think it's good news, but Ron doesn't think anything is good news )
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
Here, lovely flist! Have a list of things that are on my mind that are not doom and gloom.

1. Vidding! I was at Vidukon last weekend, which was a lot of fun - I had a day off work, hung out with a lot of awesome people (after vaguely intersecting with [personal profile] cosmic_llin for years it was great to finally meet her) and I also met [personal profile] isagel and [personal profile] carawj and lots of other people. And I had a lovely time, and saw a lot of vids, and I sort of vaguely tried to start vidding a couple of years ago before my computer got stuck on permanent beachball and now I have a new computer and... you see where this is going. I have started to try and learn to vid, mostly by opening up the software and poking stuff until it goes swoosh or beep or ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong, and I have learnt some terribly basic things. I sort of hope I will keep on learning terribly basic things until I know enough of them to learn not quite so basic things? I hope. I'm not someone who's ever had any hobbies which require actual stuff - me, I write, I read, my real job can be done with a pen and an open mind - so learning how to use actual tools is quite new to me. [personal profile] such_heights pointed out that you learn because you have a vid in your head and you learn everything you need to know get the thing on the screen to look like the vid in your head - you won't learn in the abstract. Which I think is true, and so I can't decide if it's a blessing or a curse that the vid in my head is a multifandom vid about land registration.

(Yeah, I know. I know. One day I'll sit down and articulate why I sincerely believe land registration is important - and I suppose the vid is that, too, it's not about land registration itself but why I spend my whole life doing it, why land and people are the same thing inside themselves. In the meantime, swish, beep, ding.)

2. TV with gay detectives! I am watching the Donald Strachey series of TV movies, after seeing this gorgeous vid at Vidukon. They’re a series about a gay private investigator in Albany, NY, who largely (but not always) gets involved with crimes relating to the queer community, and they’re just delightful: funny, warm and comforting. Strachey is in a lot of ways a typically hard-boiled private investigator protagonist (his office in particular is hilariously clichéd, down to the glass panel door with ‘Donald Strachey Investigations’ in peeling letters!) but he is realistically and unremarkably queer in a way that’s both refreshing and rings very true. In her review, [personal profile] thingswithwings said everything I'd want to say about how much I enjoy this: a queer story that's about queer people, living their lives with kindness and realism and without melodrama. But even if is as much about the cases and crimes as the queerness, I still think having Donald Strachey be a queer, hard-boiled, hard-drinking, loner PI wouldn’t have been an awful lot of a step up from dead queer people or offscreen queer people – it has minimal impact on the narrative – even though that’s indisputably how the genre works.

But he's not a queer loner PI, he's a queer, happily married PI, and I have been flailing at T'wings a lot about this recently but Timothy Callaghan, Strachey’s long-suffering long-term partner, hits a number of narrative kinks for me in ways I wasn’t able to articulate before. (They're not legally married but as-close-as - the canon is set a few years before marriage equality in New York). There is a scene in one of the movies – I’m yet to find out if it’s in the books – where Timmy can’t fire a gun. Not as a matter of physically being able to, of course – it’s just that even with Donald’s and his own life at stake, he can’t pull the trigger. Strachey’s response to this is a minor spoiler, which kills me ) Now obviously it’s no surprise to anyone that I adore this trope, and the broader trope that it’s an instance of, too: the single voice of dissent against the exercise of power. Like Daniel in SG-1, and Toby in The West Wing, and Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H (“Hawkeye Get Your Gun” is the episode about how Hawkeye, too, can’t fire a gun – even when drunk and having shells dropped on him (“Why are they bombing us? We’re already bombed!”)), Timmy is, explicitly and implicitly, the moral compass of the story – like T’wings says, he’s what stops Strachey being like Batman. But I did not know until now how much I needed to see that role queered, and the thing is, it damn well ought to be queered. Timmy is a senior aide to a liberal senator, and the canon likes playing with that – it likes leading you down the garden path of telling you that this cute, entirely non-aggressive, wandering-around-barefoot-with-his-hands-in-his-pockets man is the comic sidekick to his super-cool private investigator boyfriend, and then Timmy finds out that funding for one of his anti-poverty initiatives is being withdrawn and manages to secure $200,000 of charitable donations in five hours – because of course it’s engaging with the idea that there is more than one way to fight. To lead a queer life is in itself a political act; to live in public by a clearly-defined set of beliefs, informed and framed by queerness, is a political act. And Timmy does, and I needed to see that on television. (Basically the only thing that could make me like this more if it were the other show, the flipped-up version about the queer senator’s aide with the PI boyfriend.)

(Also, one of the movies has land registration as a plot point. I'm just saying, this is a thing that happens.)

3. Trying to find a new fandom! I just got to the end of Fringe, a show I like a lot, but even given that I’ve been more in the ebb than the flow of fandom recently. (It’s frustrating for me that basically every big fandom of the last couple of years has passed me by, or I’ve given it a try and not been into it: witness Community, Avatar: the Last Airbender, The Avengers, etc). The last big fandom I had any involvement with was the last Star Trek movie and that was 2009, for heaven’s sake. (As for the new movie: I saw it, I liked it, but [personal profile] musesfool’s review here basically hit everything I didn’t like about it. spoilers )

Anyway, new fandom! I am watching various things on and off. Haven’t managed to get into Warehouse 13 – I’ve tried the pilot and a couple of other random episodes, and it’s okay I guess? I like the idea more than the execution so far and haven't really picked it up again. Ditto Defiance, the new Syfy show – I watched the pilot, because hey, show with aliens! Yay! – but haven’t yet been inspired to watch any more of it. I’m told the aliens do start acting a little more alien later on, but, hmm. I am enjoying Orphan Black, the new Canadian thing – at least I think I’m enjoying it; I keep getting really tense! and pausing it! and thus not watching it terribly fast, but I think that means I do care about what happens to these people. So. So. Life notwithstanding, I'm still here.


Nov. 13th, 2012 11:04 pm
raven: image of India on a globe (politics - india)
Happy Diwali.


That's me in the background; that was Diwali in 2008. I took mithai into work today, and another lawyer stopped by my desk to wish me a happy Diwali, and to thank me because I had reminded her to write to her daughter's girlfriend to wish her a happy Diwali too. What a wonderful world.

As in previous years, I am sorry I cannot ask you all round to my house for food and sparklers and lights. Here are some stories, instead.

Vorkosigan, Ekaterin, gen.

she wouldn't bump her head on things )


making light
Fringe, Peter, Olivia, Astrid, gen.

Peter is eyeing up a jar of Red Vines )


all that you let in
HP, Hermione, gen.

Hermione gave up writing with quill pens )


Extract from public meeting on Utopia Planitia budgetary requirements, 22 October 2364, Earth Shipbuilding and Public Works Commission, United Federation of Planets
Star Trek, gen.

once upon a time )

In the spirit of that last story, here is an image that has been floating around Tumblr and Facebook as "India on Diwali night, as seen from space" and variations thereof. I can't find a source for it and to be honest I have my doubts about whether it really is that.

But - well. There are so many Indians - there are so many religions, there are so many languages, there is so much, there is even this chilly brown diaspora out here in Ultima Thule - that every day, on the ordinary days, we make a lot of light.
raven: (sapphire & steel - newspaper)
If you wanted to be charitable, you could say I spent this week doing grown-up, house-hunting assessing-relationship things - or you could just say I spent this week lying on Shim's bed watching Sapphire & Steel. (And occasionally taking a deep breath and closing the laptop and not watching it, especially just before bed.)

I am at a loss to explain why I have suddenly fallen in love with a faintly clunky British sci-fi show from the seventies. Because, okay, I have watched lots of classic Doctor Who and lots of Star Trek TOS. And I love them both - I do love them. I love them because you watch TOS and think, huh, this is pretty derivative. And then you think: no, actually, everything else is derived from this. I mean. I love "Amok Time" and "Mirror, Mirror" and "The City at the Edge of Forever". And I love old Who - I love, love, love that here is this show that people, not just sci-fi fans sort of people, watch, and it's full of warmth and sweetness and oh yeah it's been going since 1963. In both of them, I love the scale of imagination - the way they set out to draw on these huge canvasses, these layered and multi-layered plots (Caves of Androzani, anyone? Does everyone else understand it, or am I not the only one?) and quite often they don't have the budget or technical ability to match, but they have the vision.

But... I'm a child of the nineties. Very sad and unfortunately true. Somehow my suspension of disbelief never quite works out when faced with matte-painting alien worlds and monsters made of bubble-wrap. And I think it's perfectly okay, actually, to love shows not just because they are of great cultural import but also because they are camp and fabulously endearing and sometimes the sets fall over. Red Dwarf would have been no fun at all if they'd not, you know, filmed on Crosby beach in the winter time and invited you to believe it was a tropical paradise.

But Sapphire & Steel is different. It didn't have the money or the technology for alien worlds or monsters, so it didn't have them. Instead it has.... well. It has whole serials against the background of one set, with three or four-member casts, with nearly no specical effects. It's entirely PG-rated. And somehow, through the writing and the acting, it's compelling and it's also seriously fucking scary. I mean. Okay, so in one episode there's some sort of evil presence moving things around. A coat drops off a peg, cushions fall off sofas. One of the characters gives voice what the audience is thinking and says, big deal, what harm can that even do?

Behind him, almost unnoticed, a pillow falls into the baby's crib.

That's it, that's what it does. It has a kind of deathless creepiness that I really, really like. And, okay, one of my issues with really getting into old Who is the veeeeeeery slow pacing. I know it was a serial, it's how it was done, but I just... I flag. And this is the same format, and someone on tvtropes describes Sapphire & Steel as having the pacing of "Star Trek The Motion Picture on thorazine", which is probably true - but it works. It really does work. It builds up the tension and foreboding that way until by the last episode you're properly jumpy.

And couple that with the fact it makes a religion of never telling you what the fuck is going on - who are Sapphire and Steel? Well, they wander the universe fixing stuff that's gone wrong. They are not futuristic detectives, as Amazon apparently thinks they are. They are not Time Lords. They are "medium atomic weights" - but no one ever seems to point out that neither sapphire nor steel is an element. They're telepathic between themselves, but not generally. They don't sleep and they don't age. They're very aware of and tied to time. And, while I'm at it, they're played by David McCallum and Joanna Lumley and it's 1979 and I am so grateful for my own bisexuality sometimes I can't even tell you. I mean. Come on. Just. How is this quantity of preternatural beauty even possible.

And they're not human. I really love how well that's done, too: through a mixture of good writing and acting, you're really made to believe that while they look human, they're not. They're alien and amoral and kind of sinister and the relationship between them definitely consists in something but not something you can understand. It's loving and alien and sexually charged and kinky as all-get-out in a lot of ways - okay, obscure, but even so I was amazed to discover that no has ever written it for [community profile] kink_bingo.

And, there is a fair bit of fic on the AO3 but no actual Sapphire/Steel, which baffles me. The funny thing is, I wanted to find a fic that gets at this whole kinky-sexually-charged-but-inhuman dynamic - and I didn't find it, but I did find a vid, of all things: Ground Beneath Your Feet (on youtube - couldn't find it anywhere else) and I totally love it and have watched a redacted number of times in the last couple of days. (And me, you know me, I'm vid-illiterate, there's a tiny handful of vids that have had enough of an effect on me for me to watch them more than once.) But it's amazing - gets at all that, the relationship between them, the way-creepy-cool vibe the show has, and gives it some actual pace and as a bonus it's very pretty to look at.

And yes. It's Britain in 1979. Sometimes the haircuts remind you of this fact. Sometimes the interior decor does. But, it impresses me by having a non-white character - Lead, who neatly subverts the stereotypes - and by doing interesting things with gender power dynamics. On first gloss, Steel is the dominant half of the pair... but it's not actually quite that simple. I like it.

On the whole this isn't an unreserved rec - if you're not me, for example, and thus maybe don't have a thing for deserted underground stations and urban ghost stories and understated creepiness and all of those things together, it might not be to your taste, and I should mention again that it can be really very disturbing - but. But, I like it better than old Who. Shush. Don't tell anyone.

The DVDs can be had for not that much, so I was going to get them, but on second thoughts, I think I will wait till the house-move is over and then get them delivered to a new address. It is a little ridiculous how exciitng I find this. Hi I am grown up honest.
raven: (politics - this shit)
As predicted, despite the last-minute dashing about, no polling card came for me. I am still kicking myself hard for having been stupid enough to disenfranchise myself; so, you know, could we hold off a little on if-you-didn't-vote-you-should-be-ashamed and you-lost-every-right-to-complain-for-the-next-ever, because it's not that I don't agree with you, but I'm there in that place already, okay? I tried.

In other news, I have one exam down. As usual, I couldn't sleep till four am the night before and went for it with the barrelling force of will that sleeplessness entails, and you know, it wasn't the worst thing. It was a surprisingly humane exam - in form, rather than substance, with a hour's reading time, no writing permitted, to begin with, which is a genius idea because it forces you to think about what you're doing. Eight questions, most of them okayish, I missed the point of one of them entirely and there was another one I think didn't have a point.

(Seriously. It was the first question on the paper and I was finding it baffling, so I left it till the end and came back to it with about eleven minutes to spare. For the first eight of those I wrote a paragraph about nothing in particular, and with three minutes to spare I had a genius idea and wrote "Overbreadth!" Just like that! With the exclamation mark! And didn't deign to explain how or why or in relation to what the statute was overbroad, but you can't have everything in life. Baby E later confessed to having done almost the exact same thing, which was cheering.

Also, the one where I missed the point was interesting to none but other people who care about constitutional law and the Establishment Clause, so I'm cutting it )

I could write here about how everything is making me cranky - I didn't get to vote! iTunes is refusing to let me listen to music I paid for, why didn't I just torrent it! USPS want to charge me $175 to ship my books home! migraine migraine MIGRAINE! - but maybe I just won't. The music I am trying and failing to listen to is "Sigh No More", the Mumford & Sons album, and I really, really like it. It's fabulous, affirming stuff - seriously, you can sing along and feel very definitive about everything - that sounds sort of like a cross between Dar Williams and the Gaslight Anthem. Like the Gaslight Anthem got on stage, anyway, with a trumpet and some string instruments, and tried to pretend they were an English folk band.

To alleviate the cranky, I have been reading aaaaaaall the Vorkosigan fic, as you've all probably guessed, so I will leave you with some recs so this isn't just a post about how I have a headache and my life is so unfair.

Aral Vorkosigan's Dog by [archiveofourown.org profile] philomytha
I mentioned this the other day, when I was still reading it, so this is the rec. I really, really enjoyed this. It's novel-length, about Illyan and Aral during the Escobaran war, and like I said the other day, it's sort of like a love story, only with a different kind of love at the centre of it: it's about how Illyan the neutral, human-computer observer finally takes a side, and why. It's about loyalty, and fidelity, and a kind of ownership. There's this scene in it, which I completely adore, where Illyan, exhausted, falls asleep on a chair and during the course of the night slips off it - and on waking, berates himself for literally sleeping on the floor by Aral Vorkosigan's feet. It's both hilarious and very poignant.

A Deeper Season / What Passing Bells by [archiveofourown.org profile] lightgetsin and [archiveofourown.org profile] sahiya.
Is there anyone left who hasn't read these by now? Regardless, they're great: both novel length, with many side-pieces and sequels. Miles/Gregor, going AU from Memory, and while they do wipe Laisa from existence they don't, to my delight, wipe out Ekaterin - she's there and her usual amazing self. My favourite of all the bits and bobs is A Place To Stand, a lovely, fascinating short story. (The funny thing is, these are all so good that I love them to pieces despite the fact I don't buy the major premise: Miles and Gregor are adorable, and no they're not that related, but I have trouble getting behind the pairing when the two of them are foster-brothers; effectively, they have the same parents. I mention this only in case someone else has the same hang-up and isn't reading for that reason.)

Warrant For A Day's Leave by [archiveofourown.org profile] jetta_e_rus.
Aral/Simon set shortly after the latter gets out of prison. Ridiculously sweet and heartwarming and in no way ignores Cordelia. I really liked it.

The Earring by [archiveofourown.org profile] philomytha
I read this and immediately recced it to [personal profile] gavagai, because omgyes. The author's summary is "Aral and Cordelia on a state visit to Beta Colony", which is true as far as it goes, but. Yes. Much love.

Oh, and while I'm here, I got three stories from Remix! Home (the don't look back remix), a remix of my story Pomegranate, which is about Uhura, and Amanda, and tells me things I didn't know about them.It's short and lovely.

And from Remix Madness: The Gardener (the Singing TARDIS Overdub), a remix of Sweetpeas, and I love this SO MUCH, it's about Rory and it's about the TARDIS, oh, so much love; and Be My Love (the first and last time remix), a remix of will you stay with me, will you be my love, and it's Doctor/River and again with the LOVE. I suspect these two are written by the same person. Time will tell.

Right. I need to go back to work sometime ever.
raven: black and wite Kaylee, against the background of her parasol in colour (firefly - kaylee's parasol)
I've been asked by a couple of people what I think about the death of Diana Wynne Jones. The funny thing is, the last time I wrote about her, I was in a snit because I thought she was rubbish on race. I still do think she's rubbish on race. But, then, I say this a lot - I only get angry with people who are worth it. The reason I was personally offended by this was because in every other respect her books are lovely: so original and interesting and fluidly imaginative. I'm not in the same boat as those who are remembering her as a beloved childhood author - I read only a couple of her novels as a child, and actually read most of them for the first time at the end of last year - but the world is a sorrier and sadder place for not having her in it.

This lovely tribute to her by Neil Gaiman has the unexpected note that Nick Mallory, from Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy, was based on the young Gaiman! How delightful. I adore Deep Secret, as you all know; that makes it even more real to me.

[personal profile] musesfool is doing a meme where you talk about five some fictional characters beginning with a given letter and offered me the letter K, so I am going to cheat slightly and point out that Nick's and Maree's real names are spoiler for Deep Secret ) so I can write about them.

-Nick and Maree Mallory (Diana Wynne Jones' Magids series). I love them both, but especially Maree, who is so brilliantly, teenagedly ridiculous - she's carelessly self-obsessed, she's mooning idiotically after her ex-boyfriend - but at the same time she's passionate, she cares about books, she adores her dad, and whether at a given moment she hates or loves Rupert, she does it with all the intensity possible. That's one thing I love about DWJ - her ability to write a whole, fleshed-out character as replete with contradictions as all the real people you meet.

-Keiko O'Brien (Deep Space Nine). I always liked the way DS9 handles Keiko, especially the way it portrays her unhappiness at having to give up her career because of living on Deep Space Nine. It feels real to me. I love her especially in "Accession" (thank you, [personal profile] gavagai, for stepping up with Memory Alpha didn't), when she's returned from Bajor and Miles is overcompensating by spending every waking hour with her - so she engineers him and Bashir into going off to the holodeck together and enjoys the peace and quiet. That's what DS9 does best, I think - its small domestic dramas are as carefully handled as its space battles.

-Kingsley Shacklebolt (HP) - I do love Kingsley Shacklebolt. I love that he calms everyone the fuck down when they need it, and that he's the bodyguard of the Muggle Prime Minister. I didn't really like the purple-robe thing, in the films, but then [personal profile] forthwritten and I fixed that.

-James T. Kirk - is actually not my favourite of the TOS characters by a long shot. But in the reboot, I do think Chris Pine does a fabulous job with him, strikes just the right balance between cocky and annoying, and I adore how fandom writes his relationship with just about everyone - with Spock, with McCoy, but specially with Uhura.

For music, she gave me the letter E:

Natalie Merchant - Everyday Is Like Sunday

One of the few instances of a cover I like much better than the original. This is a song about growing up in a northern English seaside town. Shockingly, I relate to it.

Placebo - Every You Every Me

I have immensely fond memories of this song. In the summer of 2005, [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col had just passed her driving test and was driving a white Skoda with holes in the floor. Nothing deterred, we drove around West Lancs with this song turned up to eleven, and grinned at each other on something borrowed something blue / every me every you. Yes, now everyone's vidding this song to clips from "The Big Bang", but we thought of it first.

Dar Williams - Empire

Gorgeous voice, beautiful imagery and scathing post-colonial critique. I love her so.

Regina Spektor - Eet

I have no earthly idea what this song is about, but I like it.

I should go to bed. Have made progress on Remix, if you define progress as reading everything your remixee has ever written, and failing to find a hook upon lots of agonising, and then having a strange 3am-in-the-bathtub thought that is a great idea and will totally work and has only the minor drawback of probably making the remixee totally livid. I mean, it would me, if I were the remixee. Bah.
raven: Kira wearing a green tunic against a blue background (ds9 - kira in green)
Otherwise known as STARFLEET NEEDS LAWYERS. I have taken a looooot of poetic licence for this fic. I wish to emphasise at this point that the Federation's legal system is entirely made up to suit my purposes, so there. [livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay betaed, as usual; thank you!

Fic:: Malice Aforethought
by Raven
2200w, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, gen, Kira, Sisko, ensemble. "Gentlebeings of the jury, do you have a verdict?" Kira on trial.

Warning: violence.

...perpetrator appears to be Major Kira... )
raven: image of white Macbook computer with raven perching on it (misc - raven writes)
There is a meme going round where you post the filenames/titles of your WIPs without explanation.

I am not doing this, because my WIPs are apparently.... not like other people's. Other people have outlines and completed scenes or whatever; I, in contrast, just sent a fic off to beta that spent a significant amount of time as a WIP consisting of a named file and one line from a Weepies song (and everyone says this love will change you / and I asked, does anything ever stay the same). Like that. Yeah. They have filenames like "discworldfic2" and "ohgodwhy" and "ohgodwhy_pasttense".

More crucial to the meme, I don't keep them all in the same folder: they live in folders by fandom, not by state of completion, so they're all over the place.

Here are some of them, anyway.

Harry Potter, gen, 3000 words, hanging around half-written for, oh, dear, three years. In which Hermione is arrested, the summer after Voldemort is defeated, for doing magic in front of a Muggle, and is put on trial by the Wizengamot.

they had no choice but to let her keep talking )

Star Trek reboot, currently about 2000 words, I plotted out the entirety of this fic lying in bed one night and then forgot it all. I've been trying to remember it ever since. I know how it was supposed to end, and that it started on a dark night with the Enterprise in orbit around the new Vulcan colony world.

McCoy had the distinct impression he was walking into a domestic dispute )

Doctor Who, Rory. This is the entirety of the WIP. I don't have the slightest memory of writing this! Not the slightest. Oh dear.

after a year he remembers sunshine )

Firefly, an AU where a lot of things were different but I have of course forgotten precisely what.

Inara waits )

Also, not WIP-related, the meme I posted a couple of days ago:

Pick a paragraph (or any passage less than 500 words) from any story I've written, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you'd expect to find on a DVD commentary track.

[livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay already asked me for one of these:

"New life, new civilisations." He pauses. "They join the Federation and the diplomats sign the treaties, and then the scientists are sharing data and the cultural specialists are taking great dives into each other's libraries and the engineers are off doing, I don't know, whatever it is engineers do."

In his left hand, he holds a Sigman beacon. It activates in response to his touch, and McCoy throws back his hood, holds up the shining white light and brings it around in one long pendulum sweep. All's well, for settlements and satellites to see. Even Enterprise's sensors will make out the flare. It means the quarantine camp has made it through another day.

McCoy walks around the embers, carrying his light. "And they put me in my lab with the new humanoids and we compare notes on the traditional scourges – the old cancers, sexually transmitted wasting diseases, that kind of thing. And then we've been at it a couple of hours, and they turn to me and they tap their heads in a significant kind of way, and I stare back and shrug. No, we don't know what to do about that, either – and the look of disappointment? That's always the same, too."

note: mental health is the main theme )

Anyone wants one, just ask. (Fic here).


Feb. 11th, 2011 01:57 pm
raven: Jadzia Dax taking a clip out of her hair (ds9 - dax)
Various fannish things:

-one of the requests that washed up in this year's New Year's Resolutions is a Diana Wynne Jones request for Deep Secret which is pretty much exactly the story my brain wants to write. So, er, yay, one person will read it? Also, I wasn't sure what the hell I was doing with it, but then I was hanging out with fangirls and [personal profile] thingswithwings and [personal profile] eruthros were making me giggle with their [community profile] kink_bingo modding travails, and then we got to talking about kinks more generally and I was complaining about how I am too ridiculously self-conscious to write kink usually and then suddenly the juxtaposition of that conversation with that half-written story and ah. Yes. That's why it wasn't working. Okay.

(I went from giggling to all-out hysteria when we started talking about Community. Okay, so I got shown this vid from [community profile] festivids the other day, and I was coming to the whole thing cold and said, "So, right, this is a show about two guys who are actually aliens come to Earth from another planet and they're observing humanity and having wacky homoerotic hijinks a la 3rd Rock From the Sun?"

APPARENTLY IT'S NOT, YOU GUYS. Apparently it's about students at a community college.

Anyway. It is in my netflix queue. I look forward to it.)

-Another thing from the same fangirl party! So, a few years ago [livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay and I got drunk and watched Star Trek. (I know, I know, that is so something I never do.) Anyway, we watched "The Naked Time", which as well as having Spock crying and half-naked Sulu waving a sword around, I mean, as if that was not enough, also has the best line of dialogue in the entire franchise and indeed, in anything ever, which is this:

"Attention, crew. This is Captain Riley. At 1900 hours there will be a formal dance in the bowling alley."

Leigh and I looked at each other in total delight and said, "The Enterprise has a BOWLING ALLEY?"

So I only half-in-jest told [personal profile] thingswithwings that I need to run a fic challenge where every fic has to be set in the Enterprise bowling alley. It can be plotty genfic, kinky Kirk/Spock involving skittles, Sisko taking Jake on a field trip, Picard being talked into it by his senior staff, Uhura pwning everyone with her fabulous bowling ability, anything, as long as it is in the bowling alley.

But, T'wings notes, the reason I am so delighted by this is the simple fact: I like worldbuilding. I love Star Trek, but show me the non-Starfleet Federation, too! I want to know about Federation politics, its sports, what happened to Scotty when he was an undergrad, what the characters do when they're not saving the world. (And why, why, given that Deep Space Nine is a Cardassian space station in Bajoran space under part-Federation control with joint leadership, at the front line of the clean-up effort after a fifty-year oppressive military occupation and the gateway to a stable wormhole to a completely different part of the galaxy - WHY ARE THERE NO LAWYERS. Where are the LAWYERS. Why is the whole show not just "Star Trek: Law & Order".)

So, yes: if I did run a small drabble tag or post a few prompts, would there be any interest in this? Would people other than me think it would be fun to see fic about Starfleet off-duty, and the rest of the world, you know, Federation politics and sport and law and novels and holo-entertainment and restaurants and all that stuff?

-...and finally, in matters fannish. A meme, nabbed from [personal profile] musesfool

Pick a paragraph (or any passage less than 500 words) from any story I've written, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you'd expect to find on a DVD commentary track.

[Fic, here.]

Werk time.

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