‘chapter’ 2

///On the trip to America, Morai was noticed to be somewhat anxious and withdrawn, keeping within groups, but never giving much notice.  As of yet, no one has bothered to find out why, nor does anyone particularly care. Indeed, it is a minor thing, and even a moderate liability-Morai has broken more than a nose in response to a younger agent’s questioning. It can be assumed then, that Morai was sent under more complex a situation than he ever let on, though I’ve always imagined it was a family curse or some such thing.

///On the new continent, ‘Brennan’ was found ordinary enough to remain unchanged. It must’ve been a rough transition, but I doubt he ever admitted that to anyone -he was where he wanted to be, and probably forced himself to enjoy it. It was an exciting time, and perhaps this is what forced our young man’s agitation.

///The war hadn’t yet developed, but few really doubted it would come. No, that’s not right. There were still hopes for a peaceful secession; a quiet split into two countries. Then-president Lincoln -best known for being “born in a log cabin ‘he made himself” and training himself as a lawyer, aside from his accomplishments as national leader- refused to see a split in the union, and so invaded. I can’t say if that was right, since it only worsened the problem of slavery -the cause, besides simple independence, that the secessionists fought for- for centuries. It seems that he was regarded as a hero for as long as his union remained, his reputation flickering slightly based on the party in power.

///The war hadn’t begun, for a year or so, and Morai travelled the small country. It’s hard to say what he did during this time, his checking account being the one sure indication, that, sadly, was scarcely used. I assume he stayed more toward the countryside than anything, because he seemed to understand the land he later fought in. Someday, maybe, someone will care enough to find out. Maybe… If I ever find the money?

///Ад предательская мысль. Я думаю, мне нужно убедиться, что никто не считает, что это. Эй, если вы читаете эту статью, вы можете просто сжечь ее, что ли? Может быть, бросить его в океан, или, может быть черная дыра. Blackhole было бы хорошо. Не так, как вы можете прочитать любом случае …

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///Да … Я просто вырвать эту страницу позже. Сделай это еще раз позже.

///Morai magically reappeared a few months into the war. It was either providence or calculation that brought him into the Union army, but he has always taken credit for the choice. He said that, in addition to some sore of ancestral will, (this is why I think superstition sent him across the sea) he simply wanted to. A new country was being born, he said, and he wanted to be there as it happened. Glory and women must have been high on the list as well, but it was rude to point out at the time. From what I’ve heard, he performed admirably in all respects listed.

///On an execution mission, one of our guys had a close call, courtesy of our favorite Irishman. Adrian -I met him a few times, seemed like a good guy, and knew the best coffee in town- didn’t have to bother guffing his way into a military unit. He simply pulled a Confederate uniform, and waited on a steep hill, waiting to ambush some unimportant bastard below.

///Always made me think, that. If it’s flattering to have someone want to kill you, that really has to be an honor of a lifetime for for someone as insignificant as a bachelor soldier. It’s also pretty damn sick. It’s not like we’re murderers, but I always had to take some time alone before one of those missions.

///Well, Adrian was waiting there, enjoying the sort of view that wants to be shared. He had his overhauled rifle with him, that’s important. In front of him, the hill lowers steeply, and is pretty rocky besides, so trees only grow in a few spots. It faced out West, so the view -and I’ve been told that, even in a forest as thick as this one, someone could see for a dozen miles from up there- must’ve been spectacular during the sunset he spent waiting. The other side of the hill rises gently, so, except for a few rough spots, it’s covered in oak, birch, and ash trees, with a single cherry tree bordering a small clearing. It was a very useful and easy to find hill. It seems that Morai had been there.

///He probably came to survey the area ahead of his unit. Odd considering his position. I imagine was looking about the area, turned back, then noticed Adrian a couple yards to his side. This went unnoticed by the overconfident sniper, who was alone, since it was such a low risk job.

///The way he put it, the first thing noticed was a shadow. Morai already had his pistol loaded, and was now pointing it at Adrian. Luckily, they both froze up. A minute or two went by, and their heads are running on a mixture of silence, emptiness, and funk metal. Morai told him to stay still. Told him that he wasn’t planning to shoot him, as a favor to the both of them. Ordered him to surrender the weapon, it’d go on a mantle back home, and you can go home too.

///Adrian says, and I’m pretty sure this is bullshit, that he was still hoping for a successful mission -plus, he’d be chewed out for losing the gun- so he got ready for a fight. As he was reaching for his knife, a salvo went off, a mile off and within sight. Morai got spooked, grabbed the rifle, and ran back down the hill.

///Morai had a similar story, but with a few details that honored him. Last time we met, Adrian told me the story, he coughed enough to make me worry when I pointed out all the little inconsistencies. If someone catches a shark, if he was the only one there, and if he comes back hands smooth and empty, he didn’t even catch a carp.

///I’m told that they later made up, and that the rifle was treated as a gift. I’m also told that Morai stands a half-head taller than Adrian, which would seem to set the tone for any of their dealings.

Dystopian…Stuff

A futuristic soldier watches menacingly/expressionlessly.

It’s funny how things are connected. I was going over the Wikipedia list for Source mods (most of which are brilliant), and found one that didn’t look like much of a mod. It didn’t have dinosaurs, RTS components, a game-changing setting; no gimmicks whatsoever. In the sparse Wikipedia description, I noticed mention of ‘award’ and ‘winning.’ I also noticed some inter-smurf mention a “haunting” soundtrack. So, I had to find out more. At the end of the day, I:

1. Taunted myself by watching a kickass game that I may or may not be able to play in a month (To demonstrate the raw quality these guys put in the game,they made two separate maps containing all the props they used, and posted the videos on ModDB). To further emphasize the point, it’s like Counter-Strike, but better. Oh, and free (I even know how to get .SDK for free, from Steam. Feel free to ask.).

2. Discovered, and downloaded a fairly kick-ass album (it’s an optionally free download) from Ed Harrison (seems like a nice guy). It’s got the Ghost in the Shell atmosphere to it (a primary inspiration for the game), which is to say it has menace, a wide range of instruments (percussion features heavily, thank you Ed), and a sort of electronica base. The songs coupled with ‘GSDF’ are long, and most of the songs are long and fairly complex. It has a resemblance to prog, but it simply isn’t. It’s all too easy to tell that these songs were designed by a single person. Some simply aren’t complex enough for their length; they lose out on repeat listenings. More than that though, they’re all very good, especially on first impact, so these songs deserve a little love. (They’d almost all make brilliant movie dressing)

3. Found Lucky Day Forever, a very entertaining art film, with nudity and profanity, and black Polish people, and a soul-crushing end-message. Watch it. It’s not that deep or anything; it has a very simple set of ideas. Repeat viewings have allowed me to spot extra details, and a couple easter eggs, but isn’t necessary for basic understanding. In that way, it’s a bit like a Leonard Cohen song; simple but powerful, with a bit of hidden depth to it.

Something else you probably missed.

So, I think I’ll elaborate here on my insights. Go ahead, watch it; I’m in no rush. Done? Okay, watch it again. See if you can spot things that I didn’t and make yourself look like a badass. Okay.

The biggest thing, and this is fairly obvious when remembered, is the white woman who 514 ‘sees’ next to him. This might be a reference to a later scene, implying that the action seen is a faulty memory, which may enhance the story a bit. The next thing I noticed came in two pieces.

There seems to be a very objective process in selecting the lottery winners. The ‘woman’ in the first scene is B13. 514 later becomes B14, and replaces her on the same billboard (I just want to say, I don’t want to live next to sign featuring a guy in a speedo with an excess of sexual energy). On top of this, during the explanation of the lottery, we hear the announcer saying “Keep buying until you win! And you will win, trust me.” This implies that they’re selected one by one, probably by ‘suitability’ or some other characteristic.

Some other things that may have been missed: a giant bubble surrounds the inner city; the white city is deliberately white and gloomy, except for the signs on the walls, and the ‘people’ without their clothes; all the damned detail in this movie, it’s beautiful; in the chase scene, glasses can be found with an odd design; boobs; there seems to be a hierarchy based on the letters that start the whites; the black people are speaking Polish, in case you didn’t read the description; stuff.

Iraq

///So, I figured, what could possibly be more interesting than my super-awesome take on the war in Iraq?

///I’ve come to the conclusion that the U.S. took the single most painful route possible when dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of taking any of the satisfactory paths (Ignore, Rebuild, Destroy), we took a middle route. Half our actions have been undercut by the other half. For instance, we have destroyed their means of war production; this has reduced the well being of the populace, increasing the chance of a future war. We have set our sights on destroying terrorists; our ruthless approach has only produced bastard sons who swear to avenge their fathers. We killed the most critical terrorist figure; he wasn’t important anymore, and the dishonorable way in which he was killed has severely reduced U.S. image. We overthrew a dictator for the good of the people; only by killing tens of thousands. In short, we have wasted billions of dollars and thousands of lives to shift terrorism a generation. Or, more specifically, we’ve allowed them to cause more damage than otherwise, and produced a threat that possibly outstrips the former threat.

///The first option would have been to ignore the situation. Increased security post 911, coupled with tough sanctions towards select nations, and possibly a limited bombing campaign (mostly to damage national prestige). This implies that the U.S. did not see an opportunity to step in, and would have waited for domestic turbulence to intervene. At the most extreme end of this path lay an eventual coup-de-tat to remove Saddam Hussein from power. This option is actually rather appealing, and would have been the likely option if anyone but Cheney was president at the time.

///The second option was to invade the respective nations, carefully planning each step with particular care given to the sociopolitical situation. Stricter rules of engagement, temporarily avoiding populated areas, and better propaganda would have set the tone for a just occupation. Also, deploying all-men units (understandably, it’s considered weak and uncouth to have women fight your battles), economic aid, and punishing soldiers for crimes (they don’t necessarily have to have been guilty. The movement of an entire nation is worth more than a life.), and face to face relations (neat trick from capitalist society. Amorphous corporations will steal the face of their workers to appear more… good.) would have improved our reputation as the good guys. Later on, this would morph into a late-German colonialism which would entail extreme costs to the United States, but good long-term prospects, even political leverage over the entire region. This, however, would entail a foreign commitment lasting the better part of a generation and extreme cost.

///The last option would be to destroy, beyond any hope of future danger, the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. I presume I don’t have to explain this. This is the classical approach, occasionally works, and would have been entirely impossible.

///It’s also important to note that the war has had positive effects worth considering. European kings would sometimes start wars without aiming for any physical gain. They would send their men to battle, simply to keep them prepared for battle. Now, this was very foolish, mostly because they brought the soldiers brought home with them a lot of headaches and beheadings. So, one must remember that America currently has the world’s most elite army- though not necessarily the strongest. Experienced officers, improved tactics, the need for a standing army, all these will help in any wars in the next decades.

/// Another positive side effect- numerous breakthroughs in treating our soldiers. Advanced prosthetics, developed organizations, and even early breakthroughs in treating PTSD. As from any war, technology has grown by leaps.

///There’s also a possibility that we might learn from this war, and take more appropriate action, at least for a while.

///I’d like to say, in closing, that we’ve caused such damage because we viewed terrorism as just another nail. We believe that we can simply beat it down. In truth, violence like this results from misfortune and misunderstanding, and our methods have not addressed this. We should devote ourselves to ridding ourselves of these, and not merely the men who embody them. Each of my solutions takes this concept, and applies it. Reconstruction is the process of ridding dissatisfaction. Destruction is the process of ridding the possibility of dissatisfaction. Isolation is the process of waiting for an opportunity to do either of the above.

Filler

I’ll try to focus on writing more than bloggin, but one day of off-blowing morphed into two (I’m still not sure how that happened. I probably just had a 36 hour night.), so today is blog day.

It’s not bad though, I have a couple decent things to talk about. First, is the Solium Infernum game I just joined. It’s a game about conquering hell against other ‘people.’ It’s going to be a slow-paced strategy game, tricky resource management, and backstab-oriented politics, plus a little corny dialogue. I mentioned to Joe how it’d be cool to get non-participant participation, and he’s liable to go for it.

Joe (who is probably Ialdaboath) made a site for it and everything.

The other thing I’d like to talk about is my New Vegas samurai. I wondered what it would be like to have Samurai Jack in a much more morally gray world, where bodies don’t conveniently disappear, Aku uses living people as meat shields, and where I couldn’t find a single white robe in the whole damned wasteland. I’m not quite there yet; I want to prepare a bit more before I brutally murder two dozen innocent people to piss off the two major political entities, which would signal the true beginning of my game. For now, I’m playing the game normally, just with a katana. I’m scavving and completing quests in all the most efficient ways, and even using the occasional reload. The moment I jump into the ‘real’ game, I’ll impose a 50 weight limit, and rid myself of all my money, which will force myself to live as I go. I’ll set myself up with a particular loadout (a unique cowboy hat, sword, and the armor that most resembles white robes), and never abandon it. I might set down my hat temporarily in order to finish a quest, but I’ll always return to what I had. I’ll also go to the trouble of ‘burying’ the dead, something Jack never had to deal with. I’ll also be immaculately pure, never deviating from the good path. I won’t allow myself the pleasure of a ‘base,’ making me constantly move from place to place (If only Nevada was a little more diverse)

Without a doubt, these two will produce some good stories.

A soldier’s childhood

A Soldier’s Childhood

///It is strange, yet perfectly natural that heretics are made to leave indomitable marks on the society that strikes them down; little things, astrology for instance. It has likely been said that people, having eaten of knowledge, became ashamed at their own image, and set out to clothe their innocence with lies. In so doing, they also proceed to turn their back from truth, running from those gentle glades which receive the burning-blue light, and give to the silent animals a gentle-green shade. However, these people never quite forget this time, and bury small pleasures behind the demented mask of society.

///Of course, I think that’s bullshit, an attempt at thinking our lives unpleasant whilst producing a clear enemy to hate, everyone. The only word that truly need be spoken in regards to this matter is ‘war.’

///However these small things come about, it was sometimes said that Morai Brennan was born under a lucky star. A cheap round would have been poured, and bored faces curved round a cheap table. One face (a friend of the family, or a proud servant perhaps) must have stood out against that bunch with a gleeful smile, boasting about a child too young to walk. “Aye”, it was muttered, “he’s a lucky ‘un, born under the star o’ Michael he was.” Passing interest would have been shown to this newcomer, he might have something good to say, eventually. “Why, I saw it meself, the stars, all of them, were just gleaming, and you louts just weren’t meant to be witness to m’lords first glory.” “It’s a pity,” at least one of them thought, and perhaps spoke aloud to the rhythm of a coin jumping on wood, “that this boy is too sober for quiet.”

///But to those who were there that night – Morai having been born to a busy mother in a small carriage –  it was a moment that words struggled to carry. Everything about the occasion seemed blessed: the labor was quick (the third of six) and the mother felt so little pain as to smile the whole way through; a bright star broke through thin clouds just at the moment of his birth, and directly overhead. A star so bright, it seemed, that the ground around the carriage was lit from its power alone; a name was selected, just then, that any sane man knew, but could not share; and everyone present later recounted the small voice that spoke the newborn’s name. Even the father, who had only a trimmed selection of pleasant memories, remembered the occasion for a dozen rich acres secured in a barely-caught bargain. It was a pleasant night for everyone involved (except the child, who kicked and spat as though possessed; the surest mark of a healthy boy).

///If Owen Brennan was ever found in a tavern, it was not as a bored spectator, and it wasn’t as a boastful drinker. Instead, he was found to be an aloof businessman, who happened to be a very strong and perceptive drinker. There was a story, said to be true, soon devised into a song, spread as far as Brittany, later placed upon paper, compiled into the “Most Memorable Drinking Stories Collection,” and used as inspiration for a college film project which warned against the dangers of geese, boating, shoelessness, and angering a drunk Irishman. Owen, despite the surprisingly positive representation, denied any participation in the events, claiming that his ‘yearly’ binge happened to coincide with the burning of the Baron’s bessie – both events taking place over a long holiday. ///More to the point, he was a man lacking emotion. Being short on care and compassion, however, failed to destroy what was otherwise a capable and decent human being, by the expectations of his position at least. I suppose that there was withing his frame a strong system of morals, these including politeness, fairness, care for family and clan, a regard for image, health, wealth, and status, as well as a subtle hint of noblesse oblige. Just as easily, it could be said that he was a man cunning and evil, who’s personal goals happened to align with those around him. Regardless of his true nature, those he knew tended to side with him, and sometimes let slip a few words about his inordinately high odds for kingship.

/// Sarrah Brennan, on the other hand, needs far less words to describe. She was a good example of a mother figure: gentle, attentive, caring, and docile. She achieved few things in life, the greatest being her smooth marriage and healthy family.

///Morai, being born to the landed family described was blessed through his childhood, and became a clever and cheery boy early on. He felt the virtues his society extolled, and followed them, but with little regard for posture. He would later become a very pragmatic man, but as a child he was simply hedonistic. He was tall and thin as he aged, lacking the lopsided development that comes and goes in bursts. He was something like a Russian doll, growing in size, but changing very little.

///He was given a tutor of particular talent; a man who had learned as many things innately as he had learned, but believed more thoroughly in the latter. As such, he encouraged the young boy all through his childhood, leading him through the countryside, forest, village, and into regular conversation with the family servants, merchants, peasants, and the nobleman with time and interest to spare. Many of these became good friends, who missed Morai, first as they left, then as he did.

///It wasn’t unexpected then that the young man was struck with a powerful sickness, because good luck is a trait rarely developed in Eire, and is burnt in the span of years, often enough. The parasitic fire that burned in his heart was a lack of complacency. This being the time of a wide hunger, and having been for some time (and lasting a good century more), people fled, mostly to America. Morai, having seen several good friends travel under desperate conditions, and having a good understanding of English, he became ‘curious,’ and soon departed on the journey that would “last only as long as I felt like it.”